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F1 | Japanese GP | Verstappen crowned two-time World Champion thinks “it's even more beautiful” than maiden title

With four races remaining in the 2022 season, Verstappen won his second world title in a wet Suzuka.

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F1 | Japanese GP | Verstappen crowned two-time World Champion thinks “it's even more beautiful” than maiden title
Fuente imagen: formula1.com

After a chaotic race in Suzuka, characterized by an early red flag caused by Sainz, a two-hour delayed start and stark polemics due to cranes entering the track with drivers still on the circuit, Verstappen clinched the 2022 F1 drivers’ championship with a victory in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

The race had already entered its closing stages and the battle for the title looked set to roll on to the next round in the United States, with Verstappen holding the lead and Leclerc running second – enough to keep the latter mathematically in contention.

However, on the final lap, Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez attacked Leclerc who made a mistake at the chicane. The Ferrari driver run long and was given a five-second time penalty for jumping across the run-off to defend his position.

With Leclerc dropping to P3, Verstappen secured a point gap big enough to be declared World Champion for the second year in a row.

After learning of his title triumph, Verstappen said:

It’s crazy. [I’ve got] very mixed emotions. What a year we’ve had so far – it’s been incredible. It’s something I could never have imagined happening after last year already, fighting to the end and having such a good car again this year.

“I’m so thankful to everyone who has been contributing to the success. The whole team here [at the track] but also back at the factory constantly working flat out and never missing any motivation to make the car faster.

“Besides that, the work we’ve done together with Honda all the way through every year, just constantly improving rapidly. To win now twice with them is very emotional, especially here [at their home track], with everyone watching. It gives you a little bit more pressure, but it’s good pressure, it’s positive pressure. I’m very proud that we could do it here.”

Winning the World Title with four races still in the 2022 season is a stark contract compared to the 2021 campaign, when Verstappen secured his maiden victory on the last lap of the last race.

Asked to compare his 2021 and 2022 title wins, Verstappen 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.

Now, the focus will be on beating Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship too.

“We’re 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.”

Verstappen’s back-to-back F1 title wins came despite the significant changes to technical regulations introduced this season and that saw the cars behave in a different manner.

The Dutchman noted how he managed to win races through this year in a different fashion to 2021. He won from 10th on the grid in Hungary, 14th in Belgium after an engine penalty and seventh in Italy again after a grid drop.

“Last year it was all really qualifying dependent, and that's how you would normally win a race,” said Verstappen.

“Now, even with some engine penalties, it was coming back to the front. It’s really been an enjoyable year, and of course, a very special year, which will be very hard, I think, in the future to match from myself.

“That's why I think we really have to appreciate it and really enjoy it. We were enjoying it already. Probably now we can just enjoy it a little bit more.”

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