Fernando Alonso sends video message to Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen sealed his second world championship in Japan on Sunday.

Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso to sell cars.v1

Fernando Alonso has embraced Max Verstappen as a double world champion after the Dutchman drew level with him for world championships.

Verstappen went into the Japanese Grand Prix weekend leading Charles Leclerc by 104 points in the title race and he needed to beat the Monegasque by eight points to secure the gold.

The reigning champion also needed a six-point edge over team-mate, Sergio Perez, in order to put him out of the title battle.

Having taken pole, the Dutchman led Charles Leclerc through Turns One and Two, before the red flag was brought out when Carlos Sainz crashed.

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The FIA came under intense scrutiny when they deployed a recovery vehicle onto the circuit and almost wiped out Pierre Gasly with it – this is now under investigation.

The race resumed after a rolling start in what became a time-limited event, and in the space of 40 minutes and 28 laps, the reigning world champion pulled out a 27-second lead over Leclerc.

The 24-year-old finished second behind the dominant Red Bull driver, but he was penalised for his defence of P2, putting him down to third behind Perez.

Full points were then awarded since the race was completed under green flag conditions, making Verstappen, in bizarre circumstances, a double world champion.

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With 32 wins, the Hasselt-born racer has now drawn level with Alonso in that regard too, in a mightily impressive title defence.

Alonso congratulated his colleague after he was narrowly pipped to sixth place by the Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel.

“Congratulations to Max and Red Bull, it was outstanding, the job that they have been doing this year,” he said in an Alpine social media video.

“When you win a championship [with] four races to the end, it means that you did something exceptional. Congratulations, welcome to the club!”

Alonso will move to Aston Martin next year to partner Lance Stroll amid the retirement of four-time champion, Sebastian Vettel.

The 41-year-old is ninth in the Drivers’ Standings heading into the final four rounds of the 2022 campaign, and he is aiming for better fortunes with the British side next year.

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“Next year, hopefully you will have more competition than this year, and I’m on that spot as well,” added Alonso.

Since Alonso won his second title with Renault in 2006, he has claimed another 17 race wins, and he came tantalisingly close to further championships with Ferrari in 2010 and 2012.

Moves to McLaren, back to Renault, and then to McLaren again, have not worked out as planned for the Oviedo-born racer, who hopes Verstappen will enjoy “more luck than what I had” in his pursuit of future additional successes.