F1: Max Verstappen wins the Japanese GP, becomes world champion
Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen has won the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday to become world champion for the second successive season. Red Bull Racing's Verstappen claimed a superb win to help his side dominate the show. Fellow team-mate Sergio Perez took second place ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who got a five-second penalty running wide. Here are the details.
74th podium finish for Verstappen
Verstappen collected his 74th podium finish and 32nd race win. Verstappen has won 12 races this season - Saudi Arabian GP, Emilia Romagna GP, Miami GP, Spanish GP, Azerbaijan GP, Canadian GP, French GP, Hungarian GP, Belgian GP, Dutch GP, Italian GP, and Japanese GP. He has enjoyed 14 podium finishes (third in Monaco, 2nd in Austria). Verstappen claimed his maiden Japanese GP win.
Mr. Two-Time World Champion 🧡🧡 pic.twitter.com/Iclw2fuud4— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) October 9, 2022
Key numbers for Perez and Leclerc
Sergio Perez, who won the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend, claimed second spot after Leclerc's penalty. Perez has 253 points under his belt this season. He has claimed his 24th career podium and a ninth this season. Meanwhile, Leclerc is a point below Perez this season (252). Leclerc claimed his 22nd podium in total and 9th this season, including a fourth successive one.
A look at the 2022 Constructor Standings
In terms of the Constructors, Red Bull are top with 619 points. Ferrari are second with 454 points. Mercedes are third with 387 points. Alpine are fourth with 143 points and are above McLaren (130). Alfa Romeo have 52 points.
Japanese GP: Decoding the top drivers
Verstappen and Perez made sure Red Bull finished top two here at the Suzuka Circuit. Ferrari's Leclerc missed the trick to fall down to third. Esteban Econ of Alpine finished fourth ahead of Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), Fernando Alonso (Alpine), George Russell (Mercedes), N Latifi (Williams), and Lando Norris (McLaren) completed the top 10.
Confusion mars the race
There was confusion after the race as to whether Verstappen had done enough to win the championship. It was not immediately clear whether full points would be awarded for a race that saw just 28 laps get completed after a scheduled 53 due to rain. Governing body the FIA said that reduced points only applied if a suspended race fails to resume.
Controversy at the Japanese GP
A recovery vehicle was deployed on to the track while cars were still running after Carlos Sainz's crash on the first lap. Everyone was angry terming the decision unacceptable. The race was stopped shortly afterwards, leading to a two-hour delay. Officials waited for the persistent rain to ease sufficiently for the race to resume.