Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

People forget I had the most wins, they only look at Abu Dhabi – Verstappen

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In the round-up: Max Verstappen says his statistics from 2021 show that he deserved the world championship regardless of the controversial conclusion to the season in Abu Dhabi.

In brief

My 2021 achievements prove I deserved title – Verstappen

Verstappen says he has nothing to prove after winning the world championship last year in a controversial conclusion to the season in Abu Dhabi. The FIA is due to report its final findings from an investigation into the race later today.

Asked if he had a point to prove heading into his title defence in 2022, Verstappen said his achievements last year showed he was a worthy champion.

“I proved that with the most wins, the most poles, the most laps led,” he said. “People forget that. They only look at Abu Dhabi apparently but we have more races than only Abu Dhabi in a season.”

Verstappen took 10 grand prix pole positions to title rival Lewis Hamilton‘s five, led 652 laps to Hamilton’s 297 and won 10 races to Hamilton’s eight – a potential tie in the latter was broken when Verstappen took the lead on the final lap in Abu Dhabi.

Repeating the success Red Bull enjoyed last year will be difficult, Verstappen added. “If you look at last season, even during that season, I think we could have had more wins and more poles even. But you need a really competitive car to able to do that.

“So it’s going to be really difficult to do something like that again. Of course you always try and do better. So I hope if we have a very competitive car again that we can reach something similar.”

Stroll and Tsunoda reprimanded

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Stroll collected his first reprimand on day one of the new season
Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda picked up the first reprimands of the new season, both for impeding rivals. Tsunoda was found to have got in Charles Leclerc’s way, while Stroll was deemed to have impeded Tsunoda.

According to the stewards Tsunoda defended his driving saying he “was pushing on an out lap for a long, high-fuel run.

“However, the stewards consider that a driver on an out-lap must always be aware of faster cars approaching and although this did not create a dangerous situation they determine that this is a breach.”

Stroll was reprimanded for holding up Tsunoda after the chequered flag had been shown at the end of the session.

“After both cars had taken the chequered flag at the end of the session, car 18 [Stroll] turned into turn eight whilst car 22 [Tsunoda] was approaching quickly to the inside, unnecessarily impeding car 22 and causing minor contact.

“Driver 18 says he was travelling slowly in preparation for a practice start and was looking in his mirrors but the closing speed from cars behind travelling much more quickly meant he did not see
car 22 when approaching turn eight.

“The stewards acknowledge this, and note that the team did not give the driver any radio warning of approaching cars, but consider that the driver has responsibility for maintaining awareness of cars around them and that this applies equally on the lap after the chequered flag.”

Magnussen expects “great things” ahead for Schumacher

Kevin Magnussen says new team mate Mick Schumacher has made a strong impression on him during their short time together at Haas.

Magnussen was brought in to replace Nikita Mazepin for the 2022 and will race alongside Schumacher as he enters his second season in Formula 1.

“I’ve been very impressed,” Magnussen said of his team mate. “Mick’s someone who won everything on his way to Formula 1. He’s fully deserving of being where he is. I think we’re going to see great things from him in the future.

“He’s a young guy, super hungry. He’s working incredibly hard. Intelligent. So I think he’s got a bright future.”

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Comment of the day

With drivers including Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jnr believing that drivers should be granted the freedom to choose whether to compete if they test positive for Covid with additional precautions, @g-funk questions if allowing the drivers to decide would be a step too far…

The very nature of highly competitive athletes screams they are not unbiased observers of their own condition and will do everything they can to compete at every chance they get regardless of the potential impact to themselves or others. It is part of why they are where they are. They are such fierce competitors that they are able to put the drive to compete and win over everything else. So I for one don’t believe for a second that the drivers would be able to determine on their own if they should be racing if they are ill.

In American sports, the analogue to this situation is in American Football and concussions. If a player exhibits any signs of a concussion they must be examined by a doctor who is independent of the league or teams. This doctor is the only person who can clear a player to return to competition once they exhibit signs of concussions because all too often the player was driven to compete regardless of the harm they may cause themselves or others, the teams were driven by having their key players play and the league was driven by wanting to minimize the seriousness of the concussion problem in the NFL.

I suspect something similar could happen in F1. If an independent doctor cleared the driver to drive, then they would be able to compete. But leaving it up to the athletes themselves is totally unrealistic and will lead to potentially much larger problems.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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62 comments on “People forget I had the most wins, they only look at Abu Dhabi – Verstappen”

  1. RandomMallard
    19th March 2022, 0:22

    Interesting comments from Verstappen. The stat that still amazes me about his 2021 season is that of the races he finished, all of them except Hungary (where he of course had severe damage) were not just on the podium, but in the top 2. Whether or not that means he “deserves” the title is a debate I’m simply not willing to get into for the seventeenth time…

    Wow, not a great start for Bottas’ allocation.

    And another wow, this time for Dennis’ five days of lapping Bahrain on the sim. That must be extremely tiring and probably pretty boring after a while.

    Like both Hamilton’s and Gasly’s designs. Prefer that Hamilton one to his purple and black one personally. I generally like the bright ones that stick out a bit more.

    Agree with COTD talking about drivers not being the ones to judge whether or not they’re fit. Whether it should be an independent doctor or the FIA doctor (because they probsbly better know of the kind of stuff the drivers could endure) is an interesting question though.

    1. Whether or not that means he “deserves” the title is a debate I’m simply not willing to get into for the seventeenth time…

      There is no need to debate anything.
      Verstappen, himself, doesn’t mention the word “deserved” anywhere (in the published comments, at least). He uses the word “earned” which is far more appropriate, as it reflects his achievements rather than a feeling of entitlement.

      Sadly, many people talking about this issue use the ‘D’ far too much.

      1. i agree max deserved the title. his 2021 podium record, poles, etc show that. I also agree that britain, monza, brazil, saudi etc could have gone a lot better with more cleaner racing, and knowing when ‘you have lost the battle’. max is one of the most fast guys as of now, along with the likes of lewis, alonso, kimi, vettel from the past decade, its the reason he was in f1 at 17. him coming into f1 at such a young age is also the reason we saw some questionable incidents over 2017, 2018, hence the title crashttapen. but every driver improves, as max has improved. everyone makes a few errors in racing, even someone like lewis, but what i saw at brazil and saudi for eg shows me that max must still develop at wheel to wheel battling. he should where the ‘line’ is, between an aggressive attacker/defender, and a ‘concede or crash’. i hope this title battle has developed him for 2022. as far as the title goes, max’s justification doesn’t fit for f1. many drivers have been the better driver but have ended losing. hamilton and merc pulled the title back in those last few races and were on course to win. i agree max was the more unluckier of the 2, but never is it justified to change rules just to let a more deserved driver win. max was better, more unluckier, and was on equal points into the final race. lewis was going to win the last race, and the title, but masi happened. if better drivers were to win, rather than the one with more points, f1 history would have been different.

      2. 2 of those wins are questionable though. Did he win the Spa race? He did he get pole position?
        And then Abu Dhabi is also questionable. Those 2 alone would tip the scale.

        1. Doesn’t matter what was questionable – what matters is official results.
          People are free to disagree with them for whatever reasons they can think of, but it doesn’t change them.

        2. Or you can tip the scales with those 2 if you want, but then let’s add hungary etc.

    2. Naughty Neutral
      19th March 2022, 10:36

      The title is suggestive, the wilting is biased, and the quoting is incorrect.

      If one is aiming for a certain tone them I can only say: well done.

  2. Sounds like he’s desperate to justify his title to himself. He knows the truth. Publish the report!!

    1. it doesnt really matter what happend in the last race. becouse if the F.I.A would have voided the last race max would have stil one as his scores were better then hamilton.

    2. Sounds like you’re just trying to justify your own bias if you’re not willing to process his words rationally.

    3. To me it seems UK press will keep poking. It is not like he prepared a statement here, he just keeps getting asked about it. Let’s not pretend we don’t know how British press behaves. Bad things have happened in the past because of them.

  3. He won in Spa. 1*

    1. Won Abu Dhabi too..

    2. Lewis won Silverstone by punting Max off, had his teammate take out two competitors by crashing into them and violated the intentions of the power unit allocations twice just to try and steal the title. Oh and don’t get me started on the Flexi wing at the front of that Mercedes and the trick they ran with the dropping back -end of the car at high speed.

      1. What a crying Karen you are Wooody. 1st, he got a penalty at Silverstone and he was not fully at fault, 2nd, Bottas had an accident lile Verstappen took Hamilton out in Italy later on, 3rd, Honda used fo change an engine each race weekend so Kudos to Mercedes for exploitinf the rule. 4th, their wings were legal and no one could find anything that is not legal in the car, if any, it was RB who had to adjust tgeir flex rear wing after taking advantage of if at the start of the season. 8 years old kids with phones in their hands!

        1. Of course a different opinion that must be a karen according to Karen herself.

      2. Woody -Lewis passed 2 other drivers at Copse. No crashes. We all know what Max* is like ‘win or bin’ – thats his style. Lewis got blamed because he missed the apex, the crash happened because Max turned in when he was on the outside. Welcome to top level motorsport btw

        1. He passed them while they left him a smaller gap to do so, than Max did. Especially Leclerc left way less space. So yes, it tells you all you need to know about Lewis. He lost it there, since the day before he saw Max pace during the Sprint. He knew he would have to do it now or accept seeing Max drive away.

  4. Cool, let’s check the whole season. Spa was a farce and should not have been “raced”. Let’s see, Saudi Arabia I think warranted him getting black flagged for having brake checked Hamilton, so although he never won the race he received more points than he deserved. Similarly with the Italian GP, that also warranted a heavier penalty but ok he scored no points but he also took Hamilton out, had that not happened it’s very likely Hamilton would have scored another win. Then we Brazil, again he was let off despite driving like a fool. Hamilton also screwed up that’s certain but overall Hamilton was the one that was robbed throughout the season.

    1. Oh the reassuring conversations Verstappen, Horner and Mateschitz must have had over the off season.

    2. that conversation. what about Hamilton as for example cut corner in the last race. it states in the rules that any advancement you get from cutting the track means you have to give place back that dint happen. and there ar more were Hamilton literally cheated and got away with it. so to be honest if you look long enough any driver, you will find somthing . people need to move on

    3. Hamilton should have been blackflagged twice–for hitting max in silverstone and jeddah. He only won bahrain because the fia gave him extra road, threw away a possible win in imola with a silly error, threw away a huge opportunity in baku, and benefited massively from bottas wrecking max in hungary. Lewis shouldn’t have been in contention by abu dhabi–and he had the fastest car!

      1. I have a feeling you will blame the baby for being thrown with the bath water.

      2. Rob, which brand of delusional pills are you on?

        1. Who knows why when such comments come, it’s always someone on the hamilton camp, why do we never see a red bull fan question a pro-verstappen comment? Maybe it’s not pills but the fan base to determine the type of answer.

  5. Guess that’s what happens when your title is bestowed instead of won, Max

  6. Had Bahrain finished the way it should have based on the rules the wins would be a tie and the championship not earned. That’s why everyone focuses on it.

    1. As in that hamilton shouldn’t cut the track 29 times, because that’s bahrain 2021.

  7. Had the most wins cause of gifted Spa – hahaha… Max at its best

    1. For me that was the best race of 2021. Also Russel did a great job keeping Lewis behind the whole race.

    2. Verstappen wasn’t gifted Spa.
      Anyone else could have won it if they’d qualified fastest – Hamilton especially, but he just wasn’t up to the task on the day.

      1. I agree it was not a real race. It was only called a race for financial reasons. But that is not Verstappen’s fault or problem.
        Had Lewis driven beter, he could have had that ‘race win’. But he didn’t qualify better, just like he didn’t do what he needed to do in Monaco.

        And he did what he didn’t need to do in Silverstone.

        1. Sorry, should have been a reply to Roman

    3. I’ll have you know Max’s Spa win is up there with Hams Silverstone 2008 and Istanbul 2020.

  8. Those stats doesn’t matter, you both were level on points up until the last race.

    1. It matters on a countback.

    2. And he won that race fair and square.
      So clean victory.

      1. No it’s not in the “fair” circumstances, so it’s not really a “clean” victory.

        1. Because silverstone’s non penalty was fair, and the rest.

          1. Who said anything about silverstone?

  9. So much to talk about, but chooses to make it Groundhog Day.

    1. Now THAT was the word I was looking for when seeing this piece. Groundhog day indeed on :D

      1. Indeed, the best description for this ham oriented narrative.

  10. Yes he won more races including SPA. The race that never was.

    1. Does not matter, Lewis had the same opportunity but failed.

  11. Of course Max is a worthy champion. It’s just the manner in which it was decided…

  12. Hopefully, Bottas can reuse the first CE component, as otherwise, he could face a grid penalty quite early on.

    Jake Dennis’ tweet is weird.

    Nice helmet designs.

    An interesting & valid COTD.

  13. Oh Max, I feel sorry for you. Even you yourself feel that your championship has an asterisk next to it. Your comments just prove that.

    Focus on the new season mate and try to keep it clean. Leclerc won’t be as forgiving as Hamilton was.

    1. Excellent advice. I was going to post much the same.

    2. Simple minds are easely satisfied.(see the other reaction also)
      It was an answer to a question asked.
      Of course there is an asterix.
      (*) the first season in a decade where there was a real battle and the best won.

  14. GS (@gsagostinho)
    19th March 2022, 11:31

    Max won 10 races versus Lewis’s 8 wins, but without that farce in Abu Dhabi, Lewis would have had an extra victory and Max one less, putting both at 9 wins. So this argument doesn’t really hold up, does it?

    1. Without that farce, it’s not a given than Hamilton would have won the last race. Who knows a Hakinnen Spain 2001 would have happened to him.

      So Verstappen would still have more wins/champion, even if Abu Dhabi results were scrapped.

    2. I’d count baku as a verstappen win, so 10-9, what about silverstone? Hamilton should’ve never won that race if the penalty was appropriate, it was such a penalty you could tell would have little effect as soon as applied.

  15. I guess everyone who felt the need has had the opportunity to express their (mostly biased) opinion on Verstappen, Hamilton, Abu Dhabi and the past season by now, everyone has even had the chance to trigger opposed minds. Even if you disagree, we’ve heard by now, there’s no more to be said in it and neither side will realistically convince the other party to change their mind on that matter.

    So here’s a request to all those less dispute prone users (and editors) that once made Racefans so outstanding and worthwhile: Let’s stop feeding those narratives in the comment section over and over again.

    There’s so much more to factually debate about at the beginning of a new era. Why don’t we make use of exceptional knowledge and refreshing views again here?

    1. Correct, but as stated above. Keith loves. Groundhog day and is killing the site with it.

    2. You’re right. The rules don’t matter. Consistency from the stewards doesn’t matter. Let’s just make it a popularity poll, and get over it.

      Let’s introduce fanboost, and make driver of the day worth 10 points.

      Why bother having a competition, if the rules are going to be applied however the particular people running the race that day feel like it?

    3. Agree, we keep repeating the same things every time an article like this comes, but in any case stats don’t lie and the laps ahead metric in particular is telling with twice as many laps led.

  16. If anything, all this ‘controversy’ around his first championship title will make him all the more determined to get a second.
    One championship can be a fluke, but two are not.

  17. Maxsterix also counts Spa as a deserved win?
    Keep waving that victim flag son.

    1. Lewis had the same chance but failed. The embarrassing part was he ended up behind George (Probably not the last time :)

  18. Max, you’re a child stomping your feet. You were tied on points going into Abu Dhabi, and you were 12 seconds behind with no chance of winning when Latifi crashed.

    Quit trying to justify your gifted win.

    And then go look up the 1982 championship, and tell Keke he didn’t deserve the title because he only had 1 win, 1 pole, and zero fast laps– but he had the most points at the end of the season, and that’s how the championship works.

    1. Yes, I’m gonna do that: 1982 is one of the least deserved titles in history, along with 1958, 2016 (like father like son), 1976 and there’s very likely more but for now I’m only talking about better driver vs luckier, not getting into the 1997, 2012 types where the better driver simply had a much slower car.

Comments are closed.