Red Bull boss explains Max Verstappen’s post-race confusion

Max Verstappen won his second championship in Japan on Sunday in confusing and bizarre circumstances.

Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, has lauded the achievements of Max Verstappen after the Dutchman sealed his second championship in Japan on Sunday.

Having already won 11 races this year, Verstappen headed into this weekend 104 points ahead of Charles Leclerc in the Drivers’ Standings, and he needed to beat the Monegasque by six points to be crowned champion.

The 25-year-old started on pole, and Leclerc initially got a better start, but Verstappen held onto the lead around the outside of Turns One and Two.

Carlos Sainz caused a red flag when he suffered a scary crash at Turn 11, and after a recovery vehicle was inexplicably sent out while other drivers were on track, the FIA came under intense scrutiny.

READ: Max Verstappen wins 2022 championship in bizarre circumstances

The race restarted after the drivers were generally happy with the conditions, and Verstappen pulled out a huge lead in what became a time-limited event.

The Hasselt-born driver looked as though he was set to be awarded 19 points, but because the race ran to the end of two hours, and was not cut short by a red flag, full points were handed out.

Leclerc crossed the line second, but he left the track and then pushed Sergio Perez wide in his defence of second on the final lap, so the stewards gave him a five-place penalty.

After that was applied, and the rules were deciphered, Verstappen was crowned champion at the end of bizarre day of racing.

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It led to wild celebrations from Red Bull, who had been trying to figure out if their driver had the necessary points margin.

“We thought it wasn’t going to be full points awarded, so that’s obviously what swung it,” Horner told Sky Sports.

“Because we thought we were one point short, we were looking at, ‘do we pit him for the fastest lap?’ and so on.

“But wow, that’s beyond all our dreams.”

Verstappen is set to break the record for most wins in a single season, while Red Bull have now broken their personal record by claiming their 14th win of the campaign.

It is victory number 12 for the now double world champion in a phenomenal title defence.

“Max has been truly, truly dominant,” explained Horner.

“That’s our 14th victory, that’s a record for us as a team. The way he’s driven from the first race – we came back from some difficulties in the first couple of races – but honestly, he and the team have just raised it to another level.

“I’m incredibly proud of everything that’s done, everyone at the team, all the men and women back in Milton Keynes have gone way beyond under massive pressure.

“To achieve this championship is truly special.”

Perez’s final lap heroics against Leclerc ultimately capped off the title for his team-mate.

“I mean, wow, what a script,” stated the Red Bull boss.

“To get that victory here in Japan with Honda as well, it’s really special but Charles obviously made a mistake at the end there.

“The penalty was given and again, fantastic for Checo, who’s done a super job today.”

Horner thanked every member of the Red Bull team at the track and back at the factory for their efforts.

“I think the car, the way we adapted to the new regulations, I think the engineering team, I think that it’s been a phenomenal performance by everyone involved,” he added.

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

“Max has grown from that first world championship, the way he’s driven, the way he’s operated this year has just been at another level.

“And full respect to him, because he truly deserves this championship.”

Heading into the final four races of the season, Red Bull and Ferrari still have a Constructors’ Championship to fight out.