The Dutch Red Bull driver arrived at the 2022 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix with a very clear goal. After wasting his first ‘match ball’ in Singapore, the Suzuka circuit offered him his second chance at the wing and, unlike the previous weekend, here he really depended on himself.
Despite getting pole position, the rain made an appearance on Sunday and that turned Max Verstappen’s plans upside down, especially after the race was suspended for more than an hour without even having completed the first two laps due to poor track conditions.
Fortunately, the race was able to resume, but due to the time limit defined by the regulations, the drivers could not exceed 75% of the scheduled laps , which caused everyone to think that 100% of the points would not be distributed after the changes after Spa 2021.
However, that was not the case and both Formula 1 and the FIA applied to the strict table a regulation that had the odd loophole and Max Verstappen received 25 points , which added to the penalty of Charles Leclerc, who fell from second to third position, gave him the title.
Helmut Marko , adviser to the Austrian team, acknowledged that, like everyone at Red Bull, he did not know that his driver had won the world championship after the race and revealed how they had to find out: “ I still can’t believe it. We heard it over the PA, because they were congratulating Max on winning his second championship.
“Our strategists told us that Max came within a point of doing it. It was a big surprise, really, a nice surprise.”
“Max is driving very well, even better than last year. I still remember Max saying after the first few races: ‘I’ve lost 46 points and I’m going to need more than 30 races to get them back’… Fortunately he needed much less! “.
The Austrian adviser also took advantage of the moment to praise Verstappen: “Max has become a much calmer, more relaxed and mature driver. The best example we saw was in the first laps of Budapest or Spa.”
“Knowing what he can do with his car, he let his rivals pass him at the start and then he showed his talent. He has made a big step forward this year, but we will see many more in the future, I am sure.”
Referring to the million dollar question of whether Max Verstappen, who already has two titles to his credit, could beat Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton’s record of seven championships, he said: “I thought Michael’s record would never be broken, but Lewis already matched it.”
“But the truth is that many factors have to coincide for that to be possible.”
“However, Max is not a guy who thinks about records. There may come a time in the future when he thinks he has already done everything he wanted to do and decides to end his career,” the Red Bull adviser concluded. .