Max Verstappen’s 12th victory of the season at the Japanese Grand Prix saw the Dutchman emulate Fernando Alonso, Mika Hakkinen, Emerson Fittipaldi, Graham Hill, Jim Clark and Alberto Ascari as a double World Champion.
It certainly wasn’t a plain sailing weekend for the 2022 World Champion, after what was an incredibly eventful weekend for him at the Suzuka International Racing Course.
After claiming a sensationally close pole position on Saturday, the Red Bull driver was summoned to the stewards after causing what would’ve been one of the biggest crashes ever seen, a theme that seemed to linger around the circuit.
Whilst preparing for a hot lap in Q3, Verstappen overtook ‘friend’ Lando Norris but then slowed right down at 130R.
Norris wasn’t aware that the 25-year-old had opted to slow down and was forced to take to the grass on the inside of the corner whilst building his speed.
What made it worse was that Verstappen had a huge bout of wheelspin, which saw the Dutchman’s RB18 almost turn into Norris.
The McLaren driver’s lightning-fast reactions ultimately saved the day, as the collision between the pair would’ve been terrifying.
Verstappen and Norris both saw the stewards after the race, where the Dutchman was interestingly given a reprimand rather than a penalty, meaning he kept his pole position.
Norris was certain that the World Champion should’ve been awarded a grid penalty, for dangerous driving.
Obviously, Verstappen went on to claim victory from pole in the wet conditions, where he was congratulated by a number of drivers in the media pen.
One of those to congratulate the Dutchman was Norris, who interrupted the Red Bull driver whilst he was giving an interview.
The duo seemingly put the qualifying incident behind them and were back to having friendly banter between them.
“Look, they’re friends again!” said the interviewer, whilst Norris and Verstappen embraced.
“We’re always friends,” replied the double World Champion.
“Yeah we fell out yesterday,” Norris hit back, jokingly.
“I hated Max yesterday,” he continued, resulting in an eruption of laughter.
Whilst Verstappen somewhat cruised to victory, Norris’ race couldn’t have been more different.
The Brit finished where he started, after claiming the final points position in P10.
Norris had dropped to P13 in the treacherous conditions but made up several places after pitting earlier than others for the Intermediate tyres, which drivers preferred to use over the full Wets even in full Wet conditions.
Pitting a lap earlier saw the Brit rise to P9 by the time everybody had ditched the full Wets; however, he fell back to P10 due to being overtaken by George Russell.