Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz enjoyed his "adventure" in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix, though he feels Red Bull are still favourites for Sunday's race.

The Spaniard secured the second pole of his Formula One season after a blistering final lap in Q3 in Austin, climbing over teammate Charles Leclerc, who will serve a 10-place grid penalty and will therefore start 12th in Sunday's race.

Sainz has the advantage on the front row, where eight of the last nine winners have started, but feels Max Verstappen, who will start alongside him, is favourite for the race.

"It was fun, a lot of fun. It was very tricky with the wind, it's so gusty, it's a bit of an adventure with these cars, you don't know how much wind to expect but I managed to put together a good lap without mistakes," he said on the grid after the session.

"It was a long time coming after a few qualifying sessions in the dry but not quite getting there.

"I think Red Bull are still favourites, they have the better race pace. They normally get us in the race, Max does a great job, Red Bull has a very good car, but we're going to do everything we can to stay ahead tomorrow and win the race, which would be an amazing way to start these next four races."

Sainz's teammate Leclerc had hoped to secure a 10th pole of the season, though he would not have started from the front due to the engine penalty, but was pleased for his colleague.

"It is difficult with the wind obviously from lap to lap but overall I did my best," he said.

"The last lap wasn't the best and Carlos did a better job today and deserves to be on pole.

"I will be starting a bit further back because for the penalty but the plan is to come back to the front as quickly as possible."

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 1:34.356
2. Charles Leclerc* (Ferrari) +0.065
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.092
4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.289
5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.591
6. George Russell (Mercedes) +0.632
7. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) +1.242
8. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1.334
9. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +1.520
10. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) +1.963

* Received a 10-place grid penalty for exceeding quota of power unit elements and will start from 12th

The co-owner of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz, has died at the age of 78.

The Austrian businessman co-founded the energy drink company in the mid-1980s, and played a key role in the creation of its Formula One team two decades later.

His death was confirmed on Saturday prior to qualifying for the United States Grand Prix, and F1 paid tribute to his "unforgettable contribution.”

A big fan of extreme sports, after founding the Red Bull brand in 1987 he eventually used its success to move into such as surfing, mountain biking and winter sports.

Red Bull also entered the world of football, purchasing teams in Salzburg, Leipzig and New York among others.

Mateschitz's legacy will be most closely associated with motorsport, though, and the success of the Red Bull F1 team.

He came into the sport working with Sauber in the 1990s, before purchasing the Jaguar team prior to rebranding it as Red Bull ahead of the 2005 season.

The team has since achieved 79 pole positions, 89 race wins, six drivers' titles and four constructors' titles.

President and CEO of F1, Stefano Domenicali, said of Mateschitz: "I am deeply saddened by the news that Dietrich Mateschitz, a hugely respected and much-loved member of the Formula One family has passed away.

"He was an incredible visionary entrepreneur and a man who helped to transform our sport and created the Red Bull brand that is known all around the world.

"I will miss him greatly, as will the whole community in Formula One, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and the Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams at this very sad time."

Christian Horner says he has been "absolutely appalled" by the reaction from rival teams to the FIA's announcement that Red Bull had breached budget cap regulations.

The Formula One Constructors’ Championship leaders were found to have been in breach of the cost cap for a 2021 season in which Max Verstappen was crowned world champion for a first time.

A fierce response has been issued across the paddock, including from Red Bull team principal Horner's McLaren counterpart Zak Brown, who wrote a letter to the FIA outlining his belief that such a breach constitutes cheating.

Horner hit back at those comments and "fictitious allegations" from rivals on the grid.

"It's tremendously disappointing for a fellow competitor to be accusing you of cheating, to accuse you of fraudulent activity, it is absolutely shocking," he said in a press conference on Saturday.

"Without the facts, without any knowledge of the detail, making that kind of accusation. We've been on trial because of public accusation since Singapore, the rhetoric of cheats, that we've had this enormous benefit.

"Numbers have been put out in the media that are miles out of reality. The damage that it does to the brand, to our partners, to our drivers, to our workforce, in an age where mental health is prevalent, we're seeing significant issues now within our workforce.

"We're seeing kids being bullied in playgrounds, the children of our employees, that is not right, through fictitious allegations from other teams. You cannot go around accusing that kind of allegation without any facts or substance.

"We are absolutely appalled by the behaviour of some of our competitors."

Brown was also present at the press conference and offered an immediate response, clarifying that the letter was not accusatory to anyone in particular and merely expressed their views on what the punishment for breaches should be.

"My letter set out that I think that if a team spends more than the cap, they are going to get an advantage. The cap is a rule no different to the technical rules in the sport," he explained.

"We're not taking a view on whether there was or wasn't [a breach], my letter was on the basis that, if someone has, these are the things we think should be addressed, no different to if a ride height is incorrect or a flexi-wing.

Lewis Hamilton says the future of the budget cap in Formula One is dependent on the punishment that is dished out to Red Bull for their breach in 2021.

The FIA confirmed Red Bull had committed a "minor" breach of the $145million (£114m) cap last year and has submitted an "accepted breach agreement" to the team.

That proposal, which is confidential, outlines the penalty that the FIA will hand to Red Bull if they accept the cap, although they could fight the judgement and send the matter to an adjudication panel.

With 2021 having been the first season of the budget cap's implementation, there is uncertainty over what action the FIA will take and Hamilton believes the regulations will be pointless if no serious consequences result.

"If they are relaxed with these rules, all the teams will just go over," he told the BBC.

"Spending millions more and only having a slap on the wrist is not going to be great for the sport. They might as well not have a cost cap in the future."

Formula One world champion Max Verstappen has history in his sights at the United States Grand Prix this weekend.

Crowned champion for the second successive season at the Japanese Grand Prix two weeks ago, Verstappen has the chance to further illustrate his dominance at the Circuit of the Americas.

Should he prevail in Austin, he will equal Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher as the driver with the most wins in a single F1 season with his 13th victory,

Schumacher achieved the feat in 2004 for Ferrari, with compatriot Vettel matching him nine years later for Red Bull in the 2013 campaign.

Verstappen and Red Bull will look to make it lucky 13 amid the continued fallout over their cost cap breach last season.

Last week, the FIA announced Red Bull had been found guilty of a "minor" cost cap breach and a procedural breach.

There have been no details of any prospective penalties released by the sport's governing body, however, in a letter to the FIA, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said the breach "constitutes cheating".

Brown's comments are likely to be the talk of the paddock in Texas this week, but Red Bull will look for their most emphatic riposte to come on the track.

They have won the last seven races. Only once, when they won nine in a row in 2013, have they gone on a longer run. An eighth successive victory would be the seventh-longest winning streak in F1.


FERRARI ANYTHING BUT RELIABLE

After initially threatening to produce a compelling title fight in both the drivers and constructors' championship, Ferrari have wilted miserably as Red Bull's main rivals.

Along with well-documented strategy struggles, reliability has been a big contributor to Ferrari's woes.

Carlos Sainz's form has encapsulated that point. He has retired in five of his last 16 races in the Formula One, as many as in his previous 61 appearances in the competition.

MERCEDES TO MAKE 2023 FIGHTBACK?

Lewis Hamilton has won five times in Austin but the seven-time world champion appears unlikely to challenge this year, with Mercedes still waiting for their first win of a dismal season.

Yet Hamilton is confident the Silver Arrows will bounce back next season and ensure that, unlike the much-maligned W13, their W14 car can return the dominant force of the modern era to the front of the grid.

"I think for us we know what the problems are with this car," Hamilton said. "I believe that we as a team, we've not gone from being world champions to not being able to build a good car.

"I have no doubt that we'll have a better car next year. Whether or not we've rectified every issue that we have this year, we'll find out when we get there."

Daniel Ricciardo's likely exit from Formula One demonstrates the ruthless nature of the sport and is a fate which could befall any driver, according to Ferrari's Carlos Sainz.

Ricciardo will leave McLaren at the end of an underwhelming 2022 campaign, to be replaced by Oscar Piastri. 

With only Williams and Haas possessing vacant seats for 2023 following Alpine's move for Pierre Gasly, Ricciardo recently acknowledged he was unlikely to remain on the grid next year.

The Australian, who has also been linked with a reserve position at Mercedes, said: "I think the reality is now I won't be on the grid in 2023, I think it's now just trying to set up for 2024."

Asked about Ricciardo's situation by Motorsport.com, Sainz expressed sympathy for his rival and said all F1 drivers were only as good as their last race.

"I feel for Daniel because I know how good he is. I always rated him super highly," Sainz said. "He found himself in a car and at a team that maybe he didn't find himself comfortable at, and that's enough for your career to start going through a different path.

"He might take a year off, he might not. But if he comes back in two years and he wins a race, no one remembers the two years with McLaren. 

"This is why in F1 you always need to focus on the next race, because in the next race you can change everyone's impression.

"Every driver knows this, because it happens to all of us at a lower scale at every race. You're always as good as your last race, unfortunately, in this sport. 

"If that gets amplified to a season, then you're only as good as your last season, and that's why Daniel is in such a difficult situation.

"No one remembers your good days, it only counts if you are half a second off in the last qualifying or the last season, and there's nothing we can do about it.

"It's how the sport rates us, it is how the sport treats us. That is why the highs are so high. When you win, you're a hero: your best weekend and you're the best driver in the world. No one is better than you. 

"But then, when you are going through a bad moment, it's a sport that is very tough."

Red Bull have reacted with "surprise and disappointment" after the FIA found the team to be in breach of Formula One's budget cap regulations for the 2021 season.

One day after Max Verstappen claimed his second world title at the Japanese Grand Prix, the FIA announced Red Bull were guilty of a "minor" breach of the rules in his first championship-winning campaign. 

Monday's FIA ruling was not accompanied by any punishment for the team, with the governing body stating they are "determining the appropriate course of action".

Although Red Bull – who currently hold a 165-point lead over Ferrari at the top of the constructors' standings – are unlikely to face serious sanctions, the team remain confident in their submitted financial reports.

A statement released by Red Bull read: "We note the findings by the FIA of 'minor overspend breaches of the financial regulations' with surprise and disappointment.

"Our 2021 submission was below the cost cap limit, so we need to carefully review the FIA's findings as our belief remains that the relevant costs are under the 2021 cost cap amount.

"Despite the conjecture and positioning of others, there is of course a process under the regulations with the FIA, which we will respectfully follow while we consider all the options available to us."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was bullish in response to accusations Red Bull had overspent last month, declaring the team were "absolutely confident" they had not fallen foul of the regulations.

Fellow constructor Aston Martin, who were also thought to have breached the cap, were found to have merely made a "procedural" error in their reports. 

Red Bull have been found to be in breach of Formula One's budget cap regulations for the 2021 campaign, the FIA has confirmed.

However, no punishment has yet been handed down to the constructor for their offense, with the governing body stating they are "currently determining the appropriate course of action".

A day after Max Verstappen took his second drivers' championship crown at an incident-strewn Japanese Grand Prix, the FIA revealed the Dutchman's team broke financial regulations during his first title-winning season last year.

The 25-year-old is unlikely to face serious sanctions, though, with the breach under five per cent, meaning it is considered "minor" and is likely to carry less severe penalties.

Fellow constructor Aston Martin, also thought to have potentially breached the cap, have been found to have merely made only a "procedural" mistake in their financial report.

"The FIA Cost Cap Administration is currently determining the appropriate course of action to be taken under the Financial Regulations with respect to Aston Martin and Red Bull," said a statement on Monday.

"Further information will be communicated in compliance with the regulations." 

Calls from Ferrari and Mercedes for Red Bull to face harsh sanctions if found in breach are only likely to increase over the close of the season, presenting F1 with more off-track drama after last year's denouement.

The father of the late Formula One driver Jules Bianchi strongly criticised an incident that saw Pierre Gasly nearly collide with a tractor during Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

The race in torrential conditions saw a number of first-lap crashes, with the safety car coming in almost immediately.

And after the race was red-flagged on lap three, Gasly came close to hitting a tractor that was attempting to recover Carlos Sainz's crashed Ferrari just seconds after drivers were notified of the red flag.

Bianchi was the last F1 driver to suffer a fatal crash, having done so in a similar incident when he hit a recovery vehicle, also at the Japanese Grand Prix.

And Sunday's incident provoked widespread criticism, including from Bianchi's father.

"No respect for the life of the driver," Philippe Bianchi said in an Instagram caption. "No respect for Jules' memory. Incredible."

The event also sparked furious reaction from current drivers, with Gasly himself saying "I could have f****** killed myself" while Red Bull's Sergio Perez called it "the lowest point we've seen in the sport for years."

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has described Charles Leclerc's five-second penalty at the Japanese Grand Prix – which handed Max Verstappen his second Formula One world title – as "ridiculous and unacceptable".

Verstappen sealed consecutive championships by winning a rain-shortened race at Suzuka on Sunday – though it initially appeared he would have to wait after Leclerc crossed the line in second. 

However, Leclerc's late move to stay ahead of Sergio Perez landed him a five-second penalty, putting the Ferrari man third and unable to catch Verstappen in the drivers' standings.

Speaking to Sky Sports following the bizarre conclusion, a furious Binotto contrasted Sunday's immediate decision to penalise Leclerc with the long delay required to hand Perez a similar sanction in Singapore last week. 

"The decision of the five-second penalty to Leclerc is ridiculous and unacceptable, it is something that does not make sense," he said.

"Leclerc did not gain position or time, when we saw the note, we were calm. This time it was decided without even listening to the drivers, unlike Singapore.

"Incredible decision, which is not clear: two identical infractions and two different penalties seven days apart."

Race organisers have also come under fire after Pierre Gasly narrowly avoided a high-speed collision with a tractor, which was recovering Carlos Sainz's crashed Ferrari after a series of early collisions.

Binotto also made reference to that incident as he warned poor management of the sport could harm its reputation.

"Then the start in those conditions, the crane on the track… this shows that the moment is difficult [for F1]," Binotto continued. "The risk is to lose the credibility of the sport.

"We have to understand how to improve the situation, because this management is not going well."

Max Verstappen struck a philosophical tone as he celebrated a second Formula One drivers' title, admitting this could be as good as it gets for him.

The 25-year-old Dutchman has been dominant in the 2022 season, with his 12th race win in 18 races coming at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.

It came in curious fashion, with Verstappen initially moving only to the brink of the title with victory. His triumph was confirmed later, when a penalty was imposed on second-placed finisher Charles Leclerc, nudging the Ferrari driver down to third place in the race and giving Verstappen an unassailable championship lead.

He has wrapped up the title with four races to spare, and Verstappen might go on to be the leading light in many more seasons to come. Indeed, it would be a surprise if he does not; but great drivers from years gone by have not necessarily stacked up the titles expected of them.

Fernando Alonso, for one, captured titles in 2005 and 2006 but has not added to those back-to-back successes.

Verstappen is conscious that the car must be right, so he is determined to make the most of Red Bull equipping him with a formidable set of wheels, for as long as that lasts.

"I've got four race weekends at least to celebrate," he said. "There is no real pressure any more, but I still want to of course try and win more races, because with the car we have now you have to try and take advantage of that.

"You don't know if you're ever going to have that again, next year, in the years to come. So, we'll definitely try to win a few more."

Verstappen already accepts that following up the 2022 performance will be a lot to ask of Red Bull and their driver team.

Because of Leclerc's five-second penalty, Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez took second place at Suzuka, and also sits second in the championship, some 113 points behind the champion.

Red Bull are emphatically the team to beat, but many teams have been in such a position across the history of Formula One, and what history tells us is that a rival will at some stage overhaul them.

Next season will be a 24-race slog, two races longer than this campaign, and that will test all the teams.

"Yeah, it's going to be a long season," Verstappen said. "I thought this one was already pretty long – but we'll see. We're going to try and prepare for next year as good as we can.

"Then we'll try to get it as close as we can to this year, because replicating something like this will be very tough – but I have a lot of good hope within the people in the team that we can create again a really good car."

Sergio Perez considered an incident when a tractor appeared on the track ahead of Pierre Gasly at the Japanese Grand Prix "the lowest point" in Formula One "for years".

Dreadful conditions in Suzuka saw a series of crashes on the first lap on Sunday, with the safety car almost immediately introduced.

The race was then red-flagged on lap three, but Gasly passed a tractor – seemingly recovering Carlos Sainz's crashed Ferrari – as he was still driving around the track, with the incident appearing to occur just seconds after drivers had been notified of the red flag.

As the cars returned to the pit lane and waited for the rain to ease, a number of drivers took to social media to angrily point out how dangerous that moment was.

Jules Bianchi was the last F1 driver to suffer a fatal crash, which happened in Japan in 2014 when he hit a recovery vehicle.

"That's the lowest point we've seen in the sport for years," Red Bull's Perez said. "What happened today just makes me so angry.

"I just hope ever in the sport we never get to see this situation ever again. It's putting all the drivers at risk.

"We saw what happened here a few years ago with our friend Jules, and absolutely I don't care about what was the reason for that. It should never happen again, ever in any category."

Gasly was later handed a 20-second penalty by the FIA for speeding under red flag conditions, but he described his fear as he encountered the tractor.

"We lost Jules already," Gasly said. "We all lost an amazing guy, an amazing driver for the reasons that we know – eight years ago, on the same track, in the same conditions, with a crane.

"How? How today can we see a crane not even on the gravel, on the race track while we are still on the track? I don't understand that.

"Obviously, I got scared; obviously, if I would have lost the car in a similar way that Carlos lost it in the lap before, it doesn't matter the speed – 200, 100 – I would have just died. It's as simple as that.

"I don't understand. It's disrespectful to Jules, disrespectful to his family."

The AlphaTauri man added: "I'm just extremely grateful that I'm here. Tonight, I'm going to call my family and all my loved ones.

"The outcome is the way that it is because I passed two metres from that crane. If I would have been two metres to the left, I would have been dead."

Lewis Hamilton is adamant Mercedes will have a better car next season that should allow them to provide a greater challenge to Red Bull after Max Verstappen wrapped up the 2022 Formula One title.

Verstappen won a second successive championship on Sunday thanks to victory in the Japanese Grand Prix combined with his rival Charles Leclerc receiving a five-second penalty that demoted him to third.

Initially there was confusion over whether full points were to be awarded as the normal race distance was not completed due to a lengthy rain delay, with even Verstappen suggesting the title was not his yet at first.

After several minutes, Verstappen's success was confirmed as the Dutchman retained his crown with four races to spare, far more straightforward than last season when he only moved ahead of Hamilton at the end of a controversial final grand prix.

But Mercedes have never really been a threat to Verstappen this year, with George Russell fourth in the standings and Hamilton a further two places down the ladder – neither driver has claimed a single victory in 2022.

Hamilton congratulated Verstappen afterwards but swiftly turned his attention to 2023, optimistic Mercedes can build a car that is not dogged by the design issues the W13 car has had following the introduction of new technical regulations.

"Congrats to Max," Hamilton said, before refocusing on Mercedes.

"I think for us, we know what the problems are with this car. I believe that we as a team, we've not gone from being world champions to not being able to build a good car.

"I have no doubts we'll build a better car next year.

"Whether or not we rectify every issue from the car this year, we'll find out when we get there."

Hamilton finished fifth in Suzuka, spending much of the shortened race stuck behind Esteban Ocon, who held on to take fourth.

Despite what many might have perceived as a frustrating day for the seven-time world champion, Hamilton insisted he had "a blast".

"I don't feel frustrated," he told Sky Sports. "It was a sprint race. I think I did the best I could and I'm happy we got some points.

"We were just so slow in a straight line. I was getting close, as close as I could, and as soon as I pulled out, they would just pull away.

"I wish it was a longer race. I'm glad we got some laps for the fans here, although it's not really a massive race for them considering how long they've waited.

"In terms of the conditions, the restarting was awesome. That's what motor racing is about. I had a blast. It was so tough, so hard to see. Really hard to see the car skating around, but that's motor racing.

"I think the restart we had at the end was the perfect time and I just wish we could have gone longer into a bit of the dark."

F1 now heads to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas for the United States Grand Prix on October 23.

Christian Horner described Max Verstappen's title triumph as "beyond all our dreams" as he noted the Formula One champion's growth from his first success in 2021.

Verstappen sealed a second consecutive title by winning the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday – his championship belatedly confirmed by a penalty for Charles Leclerc that left the Ferrari driver in third, out of reach of top spot as full points were awarded despite a rain delay.

The Dutchman was informed of his triumph only after his parc ferme interview, with the Red Bull team hurriedly checking the regulations and discovering he had moved clear of both team-mate Sergio Perez and Leclerc.

Team principal Horner explained to Sky Sports: "We thought it wasn't going to be full points awarded. We thought we were one point short. We were looking at pitting him for the fastest lap and so on.

"Wow, that's beyond all our dreams.

"Max has been truly, truly dominant. That's our 14th victory, a record for us, and the way he has driven since the first race...

"We came back from some difficulties in the first couple of races, but he and the team have just raised it to another level.

"I'm incredibly proud of everything he's done, everything the team's done. They've gone way beyond under massive pressure. To achieve this championship is truly special."

Verstappen's first title came in controversial circumstances last year as he edged Lewis Hamilton in a contentious decider.

But Horner believes his superstar driver is now operating in a class of his own.

"I think Max has grown from that first world championship," he said. "The way he's driven, the way he's operated this year has just been at another level.

"All respect to him, because he truly deserves this championship."

Ultimately, Perez was the man who made sure of Verstappen's success, tussling with Leclerc to prompt the final-lap penalty that completed the job.

"What a script," Horner added. "To get that victory here in Japan with Honda, as well, is really special.

"Charles obviously made a mistake at the end and the penalty was given, but it's fantastic for Checo. He's done a super job today."

Max Verstappen may not have immediately known he was again Formula One champion on Sunday, but a dominant season made this triumph "more beautiful" than the last for the Dutchman.

Verstappen has won consecutive titles in slightly confusing fashion, even if his 2022 success was long anticipated.

When the Red Bull superstar pipped Lewis Hamilton in 2021, it was after a highly controversial restart in the season finale as both drivers took the fight right down to the wire.

This time, Verstappen headed into the Japanese Grand Prix knowing he was almost certain to be celebrating again at some stage.

He could complete the job at Suzuka by finishing eight points ahead of Charles Leclerc and six ahead of Sergio Perez – an outcome he unknowingly achieved.

Leclerc was given a five-second penalty after the race to finish behind Perez, meaning Verstappen was champion when Red Bull clocked full points would be awarded due to the race resuming after a red flag, despite only half of the grand prix being completed.

It was an odd way to learn of the success, but Verstappen was able to reflect on the year as a whole, having contributed to 12 of Red Bull's team-record 14 wins.

Of his two titles, Verstappen said: "I think the first one is always a little more emotional, but the second one is probably more beautiful with the season we've had – the wins, the great racing, the teamwork, the one-twos.

"Also we're leading the constructors' so we really want to focus on that as well to try to secure that.

"It's been a pretty special year. It's something you really have to remind yourself of, because these kind of years you don't have very often."

Summing up his emotions, Verstappen added: "It's crazy. I have very mixed emotions, of course, winning the race and also, looking back now, winning the championship. What a year we've had so far.

"It's been incredible and something I never could have imagined happening after last year, already fighting to the end and then having such a good car again this year.

"I'm so thankful to everyone who has been contributing to this success. The whole team that is here but also back in the factory room is working flat out, and they're never missing any motivation to try to make the car faster.

"Besides that, the work we've done together with Honda, all the way through, every year, constantly improving rapidly.

"To win now twice is very emotional, especially here [at Honda's home race and with the Japanese fans], with everyone watching.

"It gives you a little bit more pressure, but it's good pressure, positive pressure. I'm very proud that we could do it here."

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