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Verstappen wins ‘unbelievable’ second title at rain-soaked Suzuka

Max Verstappen reacts to being told he has won the world title. Photo: AP/Eugene Hoshiko

Max Verstappen won his second Formula 1 drivers’ title after winning the chaotic Japanese Grand Prix at rain-soaked Suzuka.

In contrast to last season’s last-lap drama, Verstappen closed out the championship this year with 12 wins from the first 18 grands prix with four races to go, but his winning moment was once again in dispute. got involved.

Verstappen crossed the line in first place after only 28 out of 53 laps.

Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez was 2 after Verstappen’s only rival, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, was given a five-second penalty for staying ahead of Pérez by illegally cutting the final corner. promoted to rank.

With the race shortened, Verstappen looked one point short of building an absolute lead in the title race.

But what puzzled most observers was that FIA officials said drivers were entitled to full points, as deductions only apply if the race “cannot be restarted”.

Honda Air Base

‘what can I say? can’t believe it! ‘ said the Dutchman after being told he had been crowned champion midway through a media interview. .

He said beforehand that he would like to win the title at Suzuka, the home circuit of Red Bull engine maker Honda and where he started his F1 career at the age of 17 in 2014.

The decision to start the race in downright intense conditions was criticized, as the spray from the track obscured the drivers from each other.

Verstappen, who started from pole position, saw off Leclerc’s strong start and took the lead on the first lap. However, the race was stopped almost immediately after two cars crashed in the rain, and attempts to restart the race behind the safety car were quickly abandoned.

Organizers were heavily criticized for bringing recovery vehicles onto the track while the cars were still spinning. Drivers recalled an incident eight years ago at Suzuka where Jules Bianchi was injured and died after colliding with a tractor on the circuit. The incident resulted in the deployment of a virtual safety car.

Alex Wurz, president of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, said on Twitter:

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https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2022/10/verstappen-claims-incredible-second-title-in-rain-soaked-suzuka/ Verstappen wins ‘unbelievable’ second title at rain-soaked Suzuka

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