In a rain battered Suzuka Max Verstappen drove himself to victory amidst red flags, safety cars and confusion. But even that might be putting it simply, the Japanese grand prix was a confusing one, not because of the race but more because of the governance once again. From points confusion to outright dangerous procedures the FIA was back on fine form.
Credit: Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool
As Max crossed the line to claim 1st place and his 32nd win Redbull, Max and the world hadn't thought he had got enough points just yet to win the title. As a result of the early red flag it appears the paddock and teams all believed the race to be running for 19 points for P1 as the race ran under 75% distance.
At this time Sergio Perez was hounding Charles Leclerc on the last lap desperate to get by and claim a strong 2nd place and 1-2 for Redbull. Although his efforts looked in vain as they approached the final chicane, but low and behold Charles Leclerc missed his braking point pushing him off the track, he re-joined ahead but Sergio waned to get past so rushed to the outside of the last corner before Charles shut the door on him. As they both crossed the line it was a pretty cut and dry case for everyone as Charles Leclerc got put under investigation for leaving the track and retaining an advantage.
Credit Getty Images
Inevitably as the drivers pulled up in to parc ferme the news broke that Leclerc had a 5 second penalty dropping him to third. This left Max with 1 point short of the title. However, halfway through Johnny Herberts interview with Sergio Perez, the news reached the interviewers ears as it had been ruled that the race was in fact always racing for full points!
Herbert rather awkwardly looked over and summoned Max back in to the interviewee spot where heh told him that he had in fact just become the 2022 Formula 1 world champion to pretty much everyone's surprise. Max ran off to celebrate in a rather muted way as it appeared Max and half of the team still were not 100% sure if they had accomplished it or not. Even in the cool down room wiht the special reserved for F1 champion room (kind of a cringe gimmick if you ask me) Max still had to be told he was the champion and was pointed inside for F1's photo opportunity. As he went on to the podium it was known by all that he was indeed the champion.
All in all we've known it has been coming since Spa that Max would be champion, but without iconic commentary, a classic radio between team principle and driver this has been one of the most calamitous, confusing and anti climatic way for someone to win their second world championship. Let's hope things can be a little clearer for next year.