“The championship obviously didn’t come this time,” Verstappen said initially after climbing out of the car after his 12th win of the season. The Dutchman even apologized to the crowd on the track’s public address system.
Seconds later, Verstappen was told he was a two-time world champion and that crew members and friends had choked him with hugs.
“Once I crossed the line, I thought: ‘It was a great race, good points again. But I’m not a world champion yet. ‘”
The 25-year-old said he was amused when his mechanic started cheering, but said he was still confused.
“I don’t mind it being a bit confusing,” he said. “I find it actually quite… funny.”
Verstappen’s first title was won in last year’s season finale in Abu Dhabi, where it won seven times. Lewis Hamilton dominate the race until a late caution. Then race control began an unprecedented sequence of events as the sacked race director Michael Masi allowed a late restart.
Verstappen overtook Hamilton to win his first race and championship, but Mercedes arguing over how to finish the race and the teams arguing with FIA hours before Verstappen was finally, officially, named champion and able to celebrate.
Two titles for Verstappen signal a change of guard in F1, even if Verstappen’s title races will forever be remembered for their controversial finishes.
In Suzuka, Verstappen started from the pole in the pouring rain only to have the race stopped after two laps because several cars collided. The race continued two hours later, but only 28 of the 53 laps were completed and Verstappen took the lead overall.
The Belgian Grand Prix a year ago didn’t finish in the rain and F1 for the sixth time in history was awarded only half a point for that shortened event. So nearly all teams assume Sunday’s race will be worth only half a point again.
The whole paddock looked surprised when the FIA ruled then full points would be awarded. But even that wasn’t enough: Leclerc received a post-race penalty. Ferrari racer from second to third and officially gave Verstappen the points he needed to claim the title with four races remaining.
“So then we had enough points, so we were world champions again,” Verstappen summed up. “It’s a great feeling, but when I cross the line, I don’t believe we’ll win the title right there.”
The race was messy from the start in the rain as Carlos Sainz Jr turned and was disqualified from the race, and Chinese rider Zhou Guanyu also had a dramatic but continued spin.
The organizers stopped the race after two laps.
Pierre Gasly complained on his radio that he had overtaken a recovery car improperly on the track when the safety car emerged just as the race was flagged red. It caused fury all over the beach because in 2014 French driver Jules Bianchi collided with a recovering car on the Suzuka track. Bianchi fell into a coma and died 9 months later, and he was one of Gasly’s closest friends.
“What road is this tractor running on? I passed next to it,” Gasly radioed to his AlphaTauri team. “This is unacceptable. Remember what happened. This is unbelievable.”
The FIA said after the race that it was investigating the deployment of the safety vehicles.
Red Bull team principals, Christian Horner and Perez are also extremely excited.
“We’ve lost Jules Bianchi here and that’s never going to happen, so there needs to be a full investigation into why there is a recovery car on the track,” Horner said.
And on social media, Perez complained: “How can we make it clear that we never want to see a crane on the track? We lost Jules because of that mistake. What happened today is completely unacceptable! I hope this is the last time I see a crane on the track! “
Even Bianchi’s father, Philippe, concurred with an Instagram post.
“No respect for the driver’s life, no respect for Jules’ memory. Unbelievable,” he wrote.
Long after the race, Gasly was penalized for skirunning under red flag conditions.
Meanwhile, Verstappen never looked back even if he wasn’t sure he would win the title on Sunday.
But just like last year, when Mercedes threatened in four days to bring the team to the finish line in Abu Dhabi the highest sports panel, Verstappen was once again waiting to see if his two titles would stay intact. whole or not.
The FIA is investigating whether Red Bull exceeded last year’s spending limit and a decision is expected to be announced on Monday. It could involve financial penalties, or even stripping Verstappen of his 2021 title. After the Suzuka mess, Verstappen’s title stripping last year will be a public relations nightmare for F1 and the FIA.
Despite that, Verstappen has proven his worth on the track over the past two seasons and this year has been unstoppable.
The best driver.
The best team.
Verstappen has won all the fashions this season – from the end of the field, driving through traffic and even recovering from a spin in the race. Sunday’s race was another example of his ingenuity as mistakes, flaws and poor racing conditions never slowed him down.
Basically, Verstappen had the title before the summer break, and it was never a matter of whether he won – but when and in how many races.
Winning two titles in a row makes Verstappen an elite company. It also marks a change of guard that could mark the end of the Hamilton era.
Jackie Stewart and Nelson Piquet have won many titles, but never back down.
Verstappen overtook Hamilton to become Formula One’s main man. Hamilton, 37, whose Mercedes has disappointed this year, has not won a race since Saudi Arabia, the penultimate race of 2021.
Verstappen has racing blood. His father, Jos Verstappen, ran more than 100 races in F1, but never won. Elder Verstappen was Schumacher’s teammate with Benetton for part of the 1994 season.
His mother, Sophie, was a first-class kart racer and a racer in her own right.
Verstappen, who was born in Belgium and studied racing there, drives under the Dutch flag, where every day after school he crosses the border to his father’s racing shop and strives to become an F1 champion. Future.
He is the youngest driver to ever make his Formula 1 debut, at just 17 years old driving for Toro Rosso in 2015.
With 12 wins this season, he’s close to the season record of Schumacher and Vettel, both with 13. Schumacher won 13 races in 2004, Vettel did just that in 2013.
Schumacher had one of the most dominant seasons in 2002 when he won the title at the French Grand Prix with six races still to go. That’s when F1 was a 17-race season.
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