Max Verstappen is officially a double World Champion, after victory at the Japanese Grand Prix ensured that he is now mathematically out of reach of both Charles Leclerc and Sergio Pérez. But, it unsurprisingly didn’t take long for Sir Lewis Hamilton fans to mock the Dutchman’s deserving championship.
Verstappen has been imperious, breathtaking, and most importantly a consistent winner in 2022, with the Dutchman’s 12th victory of the season putting him just one behind Sebastian Vettel’s and Michael Schumacher’s joint record of 13 wins in a single season.
His victory on Sunday at the Suzuka International Racing Course was potentially in his top three best performances of the season, after managing the wet conditions to perfection, which resulted in the 25-year-old claiming victory by almost 30 seconds.
Despite having come under pressure from Leclerc at the first corner of the race, Verstappen controlled the entirety of it, at least all of the 28 completed laps following a lengthy red flag at the end of the second lap due to heavy rain.
Somewhat unfortunately for Red Bull and Verstappen, there was no celebrations over the team radio after the Dutch driver crossed the finish line, with it at first not being known that he’d won the championship.
Despite Leclerc having been dropped to third following a five-second time penalty, it wasn’t thought that Verstappen had won the championship, with the majority of broadcasters and fans believing that full-points wouldn’t be awarded, with only half the race having been completed.
However, it was revealed whilst Verstappen was giving his parc ferme interview that he had won the title, with full points having actually been awarded.
Full points were awarded due to the race finish having not been suspended, something which resulted in perhaps the most anti-climactic championship-winning announcement ever.
The news was broken to Verstappen by ex-F1 driver Johnny Herbert, who was doing the parc ferme interviews.
Even the Dutchman thought the maths by the FIA was wrong, before it was officially confirmed that he was champion.
It didn’t take long for Hamilton fans to ridicule the way Verstappen won his second title, in further proof of the problems surrounding the F1 community.
A Hamilton fan tweeted: “Max first WDC was a human error and his second is because another driver got a penalty??! This is so embarrassing,” it read.
Verstappen, of course, won the highly controversial 2021 championship after race director at the time Michael Masi “manipulated” proceedings, by not following the rulebook as it was written.
The ‘penalty’ remark is based on the fact that had Leclerc not run across the chicane on the final lap, then he would’ve claimed second place ahead of Pérez and wouldn’t have been awarded a five-second time penalty for gaining an advantage.
If Leclerc finished second, then Verstappen wouldn’t have won the championship at the home of Honda.
There is no doubt that Verstappen deserves the World Championship, with the Dutchman having proven on countless occasions this season that he remains the driver to beat.