Max Verstappen wins 2022 championship in bizarre circumstances

Max Verstappen is now a double world champion.

Max Verstappen’s victory at the Japanese Grand Prix won him the 2022 world championship after Charles Leclerc was given a five-second penalty.

The Dutchman took pole position on Saturday, and led going through Turn One despite a strong getaway by the Ferrari driver.

The race was red-flagged when Carlos Sainz crashed and Alex Albon stopped, and massive controversy ensued when a recovery vehicle was sent out before Pierre Gasly had passed the scene of the accident.

After lengthy delays, the race eventually restarted under Safety Car conditions, and the race became a time-limited one.

READ: Max Verstappen hits out at Red Bull in Japan

Verstappen went into the race leading Leclerc by 104 points in the world championship standings, and he needed to beat the Monegasque by eight points to secure the gold.

It initially looked as though a limited number of points were to be handed out, as the drivers had not reached 75 percent race distance.

Race control have since decided that full points are to be handed out, so Leclerc would have needed a second-placed finish to stay in the hunt heading into the final four rounds.

The 24-year-old was holding off Sergio Perez, who was putting him under immense pressure in the final laps.

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On the last tour of the circuit, Leclerc locked up into the final chicane, and kept hold of P2, before appearing to force Perez wide as the Red Bull driver tried to pass him.

READ: ‘Fed up’ Carlos Sainz admits he ‘overcooked’ it at 2022 Japanese GP

The stewards quickly noted it, and swiftly concluded that Leclerc’s actions warranted a five-second penalty.

The now 32-time race winner therefore beat Leclerc by 10 points in Suzuka, and he beat Perez by seven points, putting them both out of mathematical contention.

Verstappen is now 114 points clear with 104 left on the table, while Perez’s result now lifts him to second in the standings ahead of Leclerc.