After his 12th race win of the year, Max Verstappen now hopes to surpass Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher's record of most race wins (13) in a single F1 season.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen claimed his second F1 world championship title in a dramatic, rain-shortened Japanese Grand Prix. With four races still left in the season, he is now the third-ever driver in the sport's history to achieve this feat, after Vettel and Schumacher.
Although the race got underway on time, it was interrupted after three laps by heavy rain, two of which were spent behind the Safety Car due to Carlos Sainz's crash. A few hours later, racing resumed, but this time it was a timed event, with only around 40 minutes of racing.
Verstappen took the lead early on and moved ahead of Ferrari's Leclerc and teammate Perez to produce another strong performance in wet conditions. During the final lap, Leclerc swerved wide at the final chicane, cutting the curve to maintain his lead over Perez as they crossed the finish line. The Monegasque was soon given a five-second time penalty for the move, which dropped him from second to third in the final classification.
Since only a little over half the total race distance was covered, there was confusion regarding whether the winner would receive all of the 25 points. The FIA, however, referenced the Sporting Regulations' Article 6.5, which addressed staggered points only 'if a race is suspended in accordance with Article 57 and cannot be resumed.' And since the race was resumed, full points were given regardless of the duration of the entire race.
Sharing his thoughts on the occasion, Verstappen said, 'I’m just very happy that we got to race at the end. It was raining quite heavily, and it was just really tough for us to drive. But luckily, we got quite an amount of laps in, and the car was flying in the inter conditions as well. I’m very pleased to win here, but also very happy to see all the fans and that they stuck around. [As for the title], what can I say? Incredible, of course! It’s very special also to do it here, in front of all the Honda people, all Japanese fans.'