Max Verstappen didn’t believe he was World Champion

Max Verstappen claimed his 12th win of the 2022 season at the Japanese Grand Prix to defend his title.

Following on from the 2021 World Championship being decided in the most controversial way, the 2022 World Championship was perhaps decided in the most anti-climactic fashion ever seen!

Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix was not a good day for the FIA, who made a number of costly errors which led to very vocal criticism from drivers, team principals, and the fans.

The race started right as the already falling rain became considerably heavier, resulting in conditions which Alex Albon labelled as the “worst” he’s ever experienced.

That was just the start of the FIA’s errors, as on lap two they unbelievably allowed a recovery vehicle to enter the circuit right when the entire field were about to go past Carlos Sainz’s heavily crashed Ferrari at Turn 12.

READ: ‘It’s just worthless’: Carlos Sainz baffled by the FIA

Whilst 17 of the 18 remaining drivers managed to safely navigate their way past the poorly lit tractor, Pierre Gasly, who was some way behind the pack after pitting at the end of Lap One, came within metres of hitting the vehicle, in what brought back horrifying memories of 2014.

Jules Bianchi tragically crashed underneath a recovery vehicle during very similar conditions at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, before sadly dying in 2015 as a result of his injuries.

The race was red-flagged before Lap Three had started, which led to a lengthy delay whilst the FIA decided what to do.

It was beginning to look more and more like the 2021 ‘washout’ Belgian Grand Prix was set to be replicated; however, with just forty minutes remaining of the three-hour limit, racing finally resumed.

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Verstappen eventually cruised to victory, having dealt with pressure from Leclerc early on.

The imperious Dutchman ultimately claimed his 12th victory of the year by virtually 30 seconds, which he managed to build in 28 Laps.

With only half the race distance having been completed, it wasn’t believed that Verstappen had won his second title, with no radio celebrations or anything happening.

However, following an interview in parc ferme with ex-F1 driver Johnny Herbert, the Dutchman was informed that he had won the World Championship, much to the Dutchman’s shock, rather than delight.

Confusion reigned throughout the paddock, with Red Bull quite literally having opened the FIA rulebook to work out what was going on.

Verstappen was certain that he hadn’t claimed the title, with the 25-year-old insisting that he needed one more point.

It was confirmed to him, though, that he was the 2022 World Drivers’ Champion, after full points were awarded due to the race having finished, rather than been suspended.

READ: Pierre Gasly slapped with ‘unacceptable’ penalty, facing race ban

F1 journalist Chris Medland clarified what was going on, with everyone seemingly looking at one another with absolutely no idea!

“Even Max thinks he’s not champion but keeps getting told he is,” Medland wrote.

“So the way they are saying the points are being awarded is because the race resumed they can give full points, which DOES make him champion.”