Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2022

Champion Verstappen hails “incredible” season after securing second title

2022 Japanese Grand Prix

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World champion Max Verstappen says he “could have never imagined” winning his second world title in such dominant fashion after taking his first last season.

The Red Bull driver clinched his second successive world championship in the Japanese Grand Prix after taking victory with Charles Leclerc classified in third after a penalty. Despite initial confusion, it was confirmed that he had clinched his second world title.

“What can I say? It’s incredible of course,” said Verstappen. “Very special to do it here also in front of all the Honda people, all the Japanese fans. Incredible.”

Verstappen secured the title with four races to spare. He has dominated a large part of the season having taken the lead in the championship after the Spanish Grand Prix, in stark contrast to his first title last season, where he won the championship on the final lap of the final race of the year.

“Looking back – now of course winning the championship – but what a year we’ve had so far,” he said. “It’s been incredible. Something I could have never imagined happening after last year, fighting to the end and then having such a good car again this year.

“I’m so thankful to everyone who has been contributing to this success. Of course the whole team, who are here, but also back at the factories as well, constantly working flat out. They are never missing any motivation to try and make the car faster.”

Verstappen secured the title at the Suzuka circuit owned by Honda – who designed and produced the power units operated and maintained by Red Bull. He says it was extra special to secure his second title for Honda at their home race.

“The work we’ve done together with Honda all the way through – every race just constantly evolving rapidly,” Verstappen said.

“To win now twice with them is very emotional. Especially also here with everyone watching. I’m very proud we could do it here.”

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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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    25 comments on “Champion Verstappen hails “incredible” season after securing second title”

    1. BLS (@brightlampshade)
      9th October 2022, 11:06

      It does feel like Formula 1 is going out of its way to make Max the pantomime villain. He’s been by far the stand out driver of the last 2-3 year and fully deserves his championships. However, the forces at be seem to be trying to make his championships as questionable as possible. Even if we chalked it off as incompetence surely no organisation is this incompetent?
      Is this an American thing thanks to Liberty?

      1. @brightlampshade I agree that if you take overall performance over the last 2-3 years, Verstappen is the standout driver (both he and LH in 2020 and 2021 but you set the parameter for this year too). However your point about FIA incompetence undermining his championship successes doesn’t make entire sense: if you agree that Abu Dhabi was a prime example of such incompetence, then Max didn’t ‘deserve’ 2021, he probably wouldn’t have won the final race or the WDC. So I don’t get the logic. On the other hand, this year FIA can mess up as much as they want in all these tail-end races, we all know Max won the championship effectively many races back and, from the viewpoint of his driving, fully deserves to be champion irrespective of what FIA do. The only issue remains the budget cap. I guess that’s a discussion for next week.

        1. BLS (@brightlampshade)
          9th October 2022, 13:32

          I supposed deserved can be taken to have different meanings. In 2021 Verstappens driving was questionable at times (in my opinion) but the FIA chose not to pick this up so why should he change what was working for him. Abu Dhabi wasn’t in any way Max’s fault, that was all FIA. I would say both Hamilton and Verstappen ‘deserved’ the wdc in 2021, it’s just the powers at be decided to give it to Verstappen, tarnishing that season sadly.

          This year Max was going to win either way, todays race had issues but again not Max’s fault, and regardless he was going to sew it up soon anyway. This season’s main issue is the cost cap, why the FIA decided to kick it down the road I don’t know. They’ve had the accounts for over 6 months now, it’s not like they received them last week. Even if they are all fine all they’ve done is make it look dodgy now.

          In many peoples eyes he’s the double asterisk champion, which is unfair on his phenomenal drives, but also not without reason. It’s just those reasons aren’t down to him. So in my eyes he “fully deserves his championships.”

          1. @brightlampshade We’re probably in agreement and maybe it comes down to the difference between driver and team. I thought last season Verstappen and Hamilton were both at another level, Max more consistent until Brazil when his driving became ‘erratic’ under pressure from Hamilton recovering form and the new engine (which was very smart from the team). But either driver was ‘deserving’ in terms of their overall performance during the season. The team budget issue is something else besides. I don’t think we can evaluate anything yet until FIA finally reports on the issue. I have suspected that the delay is intentional, awaiting Max winning the championship. If so, that suggests RBR over-budget but FIA have already decided not to invalidate either 2021 or 2022, and are anticipating having to weather the storm from other teams. Or maybe none of that? Who knows. Not us anyhow.

            1. This is the first sensible discussion I’ve read about 2021 on this site. Fully agree with both viewpoints there is still hope for normal discussion.

    2. fully deserves his championships

      Looks like a typo there – just delete the last “s” to fix it

      1. I think he means both championships that he’s won

        1. Some believe in an infinite number of parallel universes?

          1. Well, based on other sports, including the Olympics, it’s not impossible that even this universe could see a reversal of the 2021 result should some major issues be found with the budgets of some teams. Though that’s not going to happen, obviously.

      2. Another person having a sad life….

    3. Congrats to Max. Shame the circumstances are a little unusual but that by no means his fault. And lets face it, even with the confusion, this was a forgone conclusion since about France or Hungary – it was just a matter of when, not if.

      Max has driven a fantastic season and definitely deserves the title. Well done.

    4. Hearty congratulations to Max – no question marks over this one at all. He’s been the class of the field, no doubt. Wonder though what the “it’s just the car brigade” will have to say this time especially with Perez jumping Leclerc in the standings.

      1. It’s just as much the car for Verstappen as it was for Hamilton. How could it not be?
        Bottas finished second in the WDC multiple times too, let’s not forget….

        1. I hardly think RedBull are turning their engines down either. He got pole by 0.01 of a second on a track which needs downforce and straight-line speed.
          He would have walked it last year too if it wasn’t for the extra DNF’s as his consistency has been unmatched.

    5. Wonder though what the “it’s just the car brigade” will have to say this time especially with Perez jumping Leclerc in the standings.

      Probably nothing, I think they mostly have an orange aspect to their clothing.
      It seemingly only becomes a case of “it’s just the car” when LH is the driver.

      Congratulations to the FIA on managing to allow people to add an asterisk to this title. The guy finally gets a decent run at a title, and they tarnish it.

      1. I dont think lewis was ever as outstanding as max in any season at mercedes. Every race this year i have strong confidence that max has the pace to win, but not with lewis (monaco, austria, mexico eg.). Lewis even loses to bottas sometimes, more so in qualifying.

    6. He drove brilliantly this year, completely and utterly uncontested. If GoatNewey’s engineering staff continue making strong cars, he’ll obliterate everyone.

      Mercedes I think will continue to have car issues next year.

      Ferrari I think will continue to have problems in too many areas, drivers included.

      Alpine/McLaren/et all still have a ways to go.

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        10th October 2022, 11:32

        He drove brilliantly this year, completely and utterly uncontested.

        Uncontested was the word pinned on Mercedes. Yes, ORBR have made a brilliant car and produced the goods. With the driver’s standings it is the dominant car this year.

        Ferrari have done it again in terms of having a good car but unable to execute over a season.

    7. Congratulations to Max for his driving this year and the championship. I don’t really think he’s been pushed but that’s not his fault. My impression was that he was waiting for a Ferrari/Leclerc resurgence before the midpoint of the season but it never materialized. From Spa, though, he seemed to decide the WDC was his already in effect and drove like a champion in his prime. Overall, the new cars have worked really well. But the season has been a damp squib in terms of any challenge. The idea that Perez could ever be a threat is not even sounded by anyone, Ferrari again imploded, and Mercedes have been really only marginally better than Alpine etc.

      1. @david-br you’ve pretty much nailed it.

        The season has been a damp squib in terms of the very front but overall cars do seem a bit closer if you exclude the RBR cars.

        What I do find a bit strange this year where budget caps apply is that one team can “interpret” the new regulations so much better than any other team.

        In the past, particularly the turbo-hybrid era, there were multiple reasons for team dominance, but one of the primary factors was the sheer size of the budget they could throw at a car.

        I’m really hoping that the other 9 teams can get their stuff together for 2023 so we have at least 2 more teams capable of winning and being consistently at the front. We can’t blame RBR for being as good as they are, just like I never blamed Mercedes in previous years. It’s just disappointing that 9 teams failed to do what 1 team can on the same budget.

        This also pre supposes that at some point in the next decade Ferrari might not self implode as it always seems to do any time they deliver a somewhat competitive package.

        1. @dbradock Thanks. Maybe the difference is mostly the Newey input, especially underneath the car and (from what I’ve hopefully more or less understood) the use of vortices along the edge of the Red Bull to seal the air rather than trying to get the car as low as possible as Ferrari and Mercedes tried to do, which led to the porpoising. Craig Scarborough explains in this clip. Mercedes seem to be saying that they think they know enough to implement alterations in their 2023 car, we’ll see. Ferrari, I don’t know, they’re were more or less there with Red Bull at some points of the season and should be within reach too next year, but there other issues (especially strategic, maybe also the level of Leclerc v. Verstappen) seem deeply embedded.
          For me it’s not just the cars being nearer in raw lap times, I think the racing has been better, with cars able to follow much more closely, and there has been less focus on ‘tyre management’ this season.

    8. A strong season in the best team, so a logical conclusion. Verstappen hasn’t been flawless, but I doubt anyone can make a good case he wasn’t the strongest driver this year. Some of Verstappen’s wins have been pretty good, and even if he hasn’t been truly challenged in a way he was last year, there were a couple of close races in the beginning of the season where he showed himself to be worthy of carrying the #1.

      Hopefully Mercedes can be closer next year, because the competition isn’t going to come from Pérez, Sainz… and I don’t like to say it, but I’m not sure about Leclerc either at this point.

    9. 12 victories this year for Max… There was never a doubt after the summer break that he would be WdC just when… Stand -out performances almost every race this year.

    10. Congratulations to Max on a fine race and his first legitimate Championship…..well deserved….this time.

    11. “Incredible” – I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

    Comments are closed.