Max Verstappen reflects on winning F1 Japanese GP on dominant fashion, and eventually securing 2022 title amid some confusion.

After a sluggish beginning to the 2022 campaign, Red Bulls’ Verstappen reclaimed his drivers crown with four Grands Prix left to run in the current campaign. At the original start in F1 Japanese GP, he got away a touch sluggishly and there was a tremendous battle between him and his nemesis Charles Leclerc.

In the conditions, it was a miracle they didn’t touch. He got the better of the Ferrari man but boy was it tight. “I had a terrible start but I already had terrible starts to the grid, so I knew it was not going to be amazing and that’s exactly what happened but then I think the outside line into turn one/two is a little bit better because there’s quite a bit of grip on the outside so that’s where I could brake a little bit later,” reflected Verstappen.

“But yeah, it was very close but that’s, I think, what people like to see.” Indeed, the fans loved it even though it was fleeting because in the end, Verstappen won by 27 seconds. With the race being stopped on Lap 28, it was in a nutshell a second a lap.

“The car was very good but it was also… we were looking after the tyres I think quite well,” said Verstappen. “We could keep the front tyres alive which around here is quite tough on these intermediate tyres. And that’s basically I think what gave me such a pace advantage because in that first sector if you have a bit more front grip that helps a lot, but yeah, it was it was very enjoyable”.

“But anyway this track in that kind of condition, with the intermediate it’s also in the wet a really nice track to drive.” A two time back to back WDC just like Mike Hakkinen, Jack Brabham, Fernando Alonso, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna who have done same. Still only 25, he seems to have been around forever as it is season number eight for the Dutchman.

But interestingly or rather amusingly, when he crossed the line as the winner he was not 100% sure that he had taken the title, as there was confusion if full points were being given for the shortened grand prix. It turned out that full points were indeed the situation and with Leclerc’s penalty, his second F1 title was secured by one point.

“Yeah, of course it’s a great feeling,” started Verstappen. “Of course when I crossed the line I didn’t believe that we would have won the title right there because I also didn’t know if we were going to get full points or not but nevertheless, great day. At the end, we could race and the race itself we could manage really well with the car, with the tyres so of course very happy to win here”.

“But then of course I found out – due to of course the five seconds of Charles as well – that would give me the title, but then I was yes? No? I think not everyone was 100 percent sure. At the end it was so yeah, very pleased but it also makes you reflect on the whole season and we had a lot of very special moments, of course”.

“But it’s also very important to look back at what the whole team has achieved and something that is, I think, pretty special and doesn’t really happen that many times. And that’s why I think you really have to enjoy the moment and really appreciate the whole team around you, as well. We’re all travelling a lot and everyone is working very hard towards the same goal. And yeah, I’m pretty sure that it will be very hard to try and replicate a season like this,” summed up Verstappen.

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