Formula 1: Max Verstappen is surprised by the world title at the Japanese Grand Prix

Rain Chaos creates Score Chaos
Verstappen is surprised by the world title

Max Verstappen wins the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix. He is not the new world champion yet – it is said at first why there should be fewer points in the race on reduced rain. But then he is proclaimed defending champion. Red Bull is also surprised.

Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen won the Japanese Grand Prix under the chaos of the rain in Suzuka. Due to a surprising decision by the race management, the Dutchman is already able to defend his title. The 25-year-old is proclaimed and celebrated as the new world champion on the track.

The confusion is great. Since there shouldn’t be the full number of points in the World Cup in a shortened race in the chaos of the rain, Verstappen would have lost a point in the World Cup standings. However, race control then awarded the full number of points because the race was initially resumed behind the safety car after a long break. Only 28 of the 53 planned laps had been completed.

Verstappen also benefited from a penalty for his closest competitor Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari. The Monegasque had finished second, but then received a five-second penalty. Leclerc fought a duel with Verstappen teammate Sergio Perez just before the finish. He missed a corner.

“They are mixed feelings,” said Verstappen. “I thank everyone who contributed to this success.” At first it was not clear whether he had already made the title perfect. “Am I world champion? Isn’t it?”, He asked him before the awards ceremony. Then he had the certainty after his 32nd victory in Formula 1 and the twelfth of the season: “After the race I was told by the FIA. Incredible”.

“We thought they didn’t award full points,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said on Sky. Motorsports consultant Helmut Marko jokingly said: “Thanks to the spokesperson up there we are world champions.” With four races to go, Verstappen can no longer be ousted from the top of the world rankings by any of his pursuers.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel with Aston Martin finished sixth in points in his last race in Japan thanks to a bold strategy. The bet on Mick Schumacher’s tires went badly, the Haas driver missed the points and finished 18th and the last driver to cross the finish line.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly experienced a moment of shock. On the second lap, the Alpha Tauri driver just passed a rescue vehicle: memories of the serious Suzuka accident in 2014, which cost the life of his friend Jules Bianchi, were awakened. The race had already been stopped at this point.

(This article was first published on Sunday, October 9, 2022.)

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