Max Verstappen won Japanese Grand Prix for Red Bull in Wet Race and secured his second Formula One world championship in the process.
Max Verstappen : Wet Race | Controversy | Gilded
Verstappen won the Japanese Grand Prix for Red Bull, securing his second Formula One world championship in the process. Sergio, his teammate, came second on the day and third overall, while Charles Leclerc of Ferrari finished third in the race and second over the season. Esteban Ocon was fourth for Alpine with Lewis Hamilton in fifth for Mercedes.
The race was race delayed for two hours because of rain and finished after only 28 laps – just over half the race’s total distance, so enough to ensure Verstappen was awarded the points he needed. However it required more last-lap drama to ensure he claimed the title this weekend.
Leclerc had finished second on the track – enough to keep the title-race alive – but was given a five-second penalty for cutting a corner on the final circuit, which meant he and Sergio swapped places.
The day belonged to Verstappen but was also defined by anger from across the grid after a tractor was deployed on track while cars were still circulating.
Verstappen claimed the championship after a dominant season in which he has won 12 of 18 races, including six of the last seven. With the races remaining, he remains in position to break the record set by Michael Schumacher in 2004 and Sebastian Vettel in 2013, who both took 13 wins. With the title secure it is an eminently achievable goal and would represent a major F1 record for Verstappen. He has become only the third driver to have secured the championship with four or more races remaining – Michael Schumacher took it in 2002 with six to go and Nigel Mansell in 1992 with five, while Sebastian Vettel won with four remaining also at the Japanese GP in 2011.
Max Verstappen Wet Race
Verstappen clinches second drivers’ title in confusing fashion in Japan; it was initially believed full points would not be awarded for shortened race, but they were and Charles Leclerc’s post-race penalty gave Verstappen championship with four races remaining.
Verstappen, needing to outscore Charles Leclerc by eight points and Sergio Perez by six at Suzuka, dominated in the wet conditions and a late penalty for Leclerc sealed the title with four races of the 2022 season remaining.
That coronation, though, was shrouded in doubt after the race as it was initially believed full points would not be awarded, as only 29 laps were completed of the planned 53-lap race due to heavy rain and a long red flag.
Max Verstappen was crowned as the 2022 Formula One Driver’s champion after he won a rain-hit Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.
However, just like his first title in 2021, which was shrouded in controversy over how race control interpreted Safety Car regulations, the FIA’s interpretation of how many points would be awarded created confusion about whether Verstappen had sealed the title on Sunday or not.
Verstappen needed to be 112 points ahead of his nearest rival after this race to seal the title in Suzuka. Before the Japanese GP, Charles Leclerc was second in the standings, 104 points behind Verstappen and Sergio Perez was third, 106 points behind.
There was confusion over whether full points would have been awarded or not for this race since less than 75 per cent of the race was completed.
The race started on time but was red-flagged after three laps due to heavy rain, two of which were behind the Safety Car following Carlos Sainz’s crash.
When racing resumed a few hours later, it became a timed race with just about 42 minutes of racing.
Verstappen led from the front and pulled away from Leclerc and teammate Perez producing another dominant display in wet conditions. Leclerc, however, was struggling after a few laps. He was involved in an intense battle for second place in the closing laps.
Max Verstappen joined a gilded group of double champions on Sunday, completing a rapid rise to eminence with a flourish in Japanese rain at Suzuka, in utter contrast to his acrimonious maiden success in Abu Dhabi last December.
There he snatched a controversial last-lap triumph from Lewis Hamilton, depriving the Briton of an unprecedented eighth triumph to land Red Bull’s first championship since Sebastian Vettel completed four in a row in 2013.