Max Verstappen claimed his second consecutive Formula One title after winning the rain-hit Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka on Sunday (October 9).
The Red Bull driver has clinched the drivers’ title with still four races remaining this season.
The Dutchman, who has dominated the season, started from pole in pouring rain only for the race to be stopped after two laps as several cars crashed.
It was resumed two hours later with 28 of the 53 laps completed and Verstappen leading the whole way.
He was followed by teammate Sergio Perez in second and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. They were the only drivers who could have overtaken Verstappen for the title.
Verstappen now has an unsurmountable lead with 366 points. Perez has 253 and Leclerc 252. Verstappen did not know initially that he had won the season title after the shortened race, thinking that the full 25 points for a win would not be awarded.
But a short time later, the FIA F1’s governing body awarded full points. And he apologised to the crowd on the track public address system just after the race.
CHAMPIONNNN OF THE WORLD!! 👑👑 pic.twitter.com/m9sXfPPTTm
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) October 9, 2022
“I’m just very happy that we got to race at the end. It was raining quite heavily and it was just really tough for us to drive. But luckily, we got quite an amount of laps in and the car was flying in the inter-conditions as well. I’m very pleased to win here, but also very happy to see all the fans and that they stuck around,” said world champion Verstappen.
“(As for the title), what can I say? Incredible, of course! It’s very special also to do it here, in front of all the Honda people, all the Japanese fans,” he said.
The next race – United States Grand Prix will be held in Austin from October 21-23.