Max Verstappen was crowned the 2022 Formula One champion in unusual circumstances, albeit vastly different to last year’s final-lap drama. The Dutchman simply called it “incredible”.
But there was confusion after the completion of the race around the number of points that would be allocated, given the Grand Prix was reduced to 28 of 53 laps. It was later confirmed that full points would be allocated as the race resumed after a lengthy rain delay, rather than was ended by the conditions.
Further complicating matters was Leclerc’s error late in the final lap which he appeared to benefit from leaving the track ahead of Perez, which was later sanctioned with a five-second penalty after the race.
All this meant Verstappen learned that his victory was enough to accrue the required points to hold an insurmountable lead in the Drivers’ Championship from Leclerc, who dropped from second (18 points) to third (15) with his five-second penalty.
“It’s crazy,” Verstappen said. “What a year we’ve had so far - it’s been incredible. Its something I could never have imagined happening after last year already, fighting to the end and having such a good car again this year.”
The triumph is Verstappen’s second title, having edged Lewis Hamilton in last season’s remarkable finale in Abu Dhabi.
When asked to compare the two titles, he added: “I think the first one is always a little more emotional. But the second one is probably even more beautiful. The season we’ve had with the wins, the great races, the team work, the 1-2s we’ve had.
“Were leading the constructors, so we really want to focus on that as well to try to secure that. It’s been a pretty special year and it’s something you really have to remind yourself of, because these kind of years you don’t have very often.”
The Dutchman triumphed with a personal best tally of 12 wins this season, which he may add to with four races remaining. Verstappen may come close to Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel’s shared record of 13 from 2004 and 2013 respectively.
Verstappen has also stood on the podium 14 titles this season, holding the record with 18 in 2021.
He fell short of Schumacher’s record from 2002 when the German won the title with six races to go.