After a confusion with the points system, F1 proclaimed Verstappen world champion 2022 in Japan , when there are still four grands prix to be played and a maximum of 112 points to be shared.
Given such superiority, and in fact Verstappen already had a ‘match point’ at the Singapore GP at the end of September, it is surprising to look back and remember how the Dutchman started the course. And it is that after the first three races he already admitted that he could not think about the title because of the distance to which his rivals were and because of the lack of reliability shown by Red Bull at the beginning of the year.
Verstappen missed out on a second place finish at the world-opening Bahrain GP when, with four laps to go, his car failed. Then he won the second round, in Saudi Arabia, but again a blow in Australia , in the third grand prix, made him fall into the most absolute pessimism.
On lap 39 of 59, his Red Bull let him down, and before the media he could not hide his disappointment.
When asked about his chances of retaining the crown he had achieved in 2021, he stated: “We are already miles away, so I don’t even want to think about the fight for the championship at the moment, I think it is more important to finish races “.
After that race, Verstappen was sixth in the drivers’ championship, with 25 points, 46 behind a Charles Leclerc who did not drop from second place but also with George Russell, Carlos Sainz, Sergio Pérez and Lewis Hamilton ahead.
However, history would soon change, and if in the next race ( Emilia Romagna GP ) he was already second with a double victory (sprint and normal), three appointments later, after having also won in Miami and in Spain, already He was the leader of the championship.
From that second weekend in May, Max Verstappen would never let go of the first place in the world championship, and the difference would gradually get bigger until leaving him, in September, on the verge of sealing it mathematically.
Those statements by Verstappen are proof that the championships are not decided in the first races of the calendar and that, despite the reliability that plagued the Red Bull RB18, the energy drinkers had built a car capable of everything, also with the new regulation.
And of course, they are another powerful proof that the newspaper library can sometimes play tricks… and that some statements age badly.