Max Verstappen was crowned a double World Champion at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, where he somehow managed to claim the biggest victory ever at the Suzuka International Racing Course despite the race having been reduced to 28 laps.
The Dutchman claimed victory 27 seconds ahead of team-mate Sergio Pérez, on his way to a second consecutive title.
Verstappen’s victory at Japan was staggeringly his 12th of the season, meaning he’s won two-thirds of the races in 2022.
Ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher was quick to congratulate Verstappen on his second title and praised the Dutchman for having an “unbelievable year”.
“Congratulations to Max Verstappen on his second World Championship title,” Schumacher wrote in his Sky Germany column.
“He has had an unbelievable year, especially when you consider how difficult the start of the season was.
“He had a lot of bad luck. Overall, the Red Bull driver is of course a worthy winner.
“What impresses me most about him – there have been strong drivers in the past who have dominated together with their team.
“But in relation to his team-mate Sergio Perez, Verstappen also makes a difference in the team in an impressive way.”
With four races remaining, the Red Bull driver finds himself just one win short of matching Sebastian Vettel’s and Michael Schumacher’s joint record of most wins in a single season, meaning he can make the record his own with two more victories this season.
He also joined Fernando Alonso last weekend on 32 Formula 1 victories, putting him further into contention for being regarded as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all-time.
He is still some distance off matching the true legends of F1, with Michael Schumacher having achieved 91 victories and with rival Sir Lewis Hamilton having won 103 so far.
Some people have begun to question if Verstappen will go on to match their records, given that he’s still only 25-years-old; however, Schumacher thinks it’s a “bit premature” to think the Dutchman will get close to the greatest records in the sport in regard to race wins and the duos seven world titles.
“He’s only 25 years old, but I still think it’s a bit premature to start thinking about whether he can challenge Lewis Hamilton and Michael’s records,” Schumacher said.
“I don’t think Verstappen is looking to do that yet either. That’s still a long way off. In terms of driving ability, of course he can definitely do it, there’s no doubt about that.
“But we also know in Formula 1 it also depends on factors the driver can’t always influence.”