Unseen footage: Max Verstappen and Red Bull are convinced he wasn’t champion at Suzuka

Max Verstappen claimed his second World Championship at Suzuka under bizarre circumstances.

Winning World Championships under normal circumstances doesn’t seem to be Max Verstappen’s thing, after his 2021 World Championship was claimed under a ‘human error’ from race director Michael Masi, and his second having been confirmed in parc ferme.

There was no doubt that Verstappen was going to become a double World Champion in 2022; the only question was where would he claim the second title.

That place just so happened to be the home of power unit supplier Honda, at last Sunday’s incredibly wet Japanese Grand Prix.

The Dutchman performed imperiously once again and claimed the biggest victory ever at Suzuka, despite only 52-percent of the race distance having been completed.

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Verstappen claimed his first victory at Suzuka by 27 seconds, from team-mate Sergio Pérez.

Pérez inherited second after Charles Leclerc was awarded a five-second time penalty for cutting the Turn 16/17 chicane on the last lap, whilst under pressure from the Mexican.

With only half the race having been completed following a lengthy red flag interval following poor weather conditions, it was believed that full points wouldn’t be awarded.

Verstappen and Red Bull appeared certain he needed one more point to be the World Champion; however, whilst being interviewed in parc ferme by ex-F1 driver Johnny Herbert, it was revealed that the Dutchman had actually won the title.

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The Dutchman and seemingly everybody else weren’t so sure, to the extent where Red Bull opened the rulebook to figure out if the 25-year-old had won the title after all.

It was confirmed, though, by the FIA that the 2021 World Champion had won the 2022 crown, as full points were awarded due to the race finishing under green flag racing, rather than through a suspension as seen at the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix.

The race only ended as it had reached the three-hour limit, despite just 52-percent of the full distance having been raced.

The celebrations after it had been confirmed were understandably wild, although, the conversations that took place before the announcement were hilarious.

Verstappen really was convinced that a mistake had been made in announcing him as champion, with the following conversation between Verstappen, Pérez, advisor Dr Helmut Marko and chief technical officer Adrian Newey having been captured.

“Well done mate,” Pérez said to Verstappen whilst embracing in parc ferme.

“Yeah,” Verstappen replied.

“Another one-two in Texas…” Marko said, before his speech became inaudible.

“I think I’m; I think they f**ked up,” Verstappen said to Pérez whilst trying to cover his hand over his mouth to speak discreetly.

“I think it’s still one point I need,” added Verstappen.

“Yeah I think so,” Newey said, agreeing with the Red Bull driver.

“Yeah?” Pérez laughed.

“We were considering stopping you, but…” Marko started saying before Pérez interrupted him.

“It’s for the best man, you should win again, not here,” said the Mexican.

“Let’s go! It’s better party in Austin,” Pérez joked.

The two Red Bull drivers continued their conversation on their way to the cooldown room, where confusion clearly remained.

“So you aren’t World Champion?” Pérez asked Verstappen.

“No, I’m still missing one point because we didn’t get the fastest lap did we?” the double World Champion replied.

Verstappen then went on to have an interaction with ex-F1 driver Johnny Herbert, who was the person who told the Dutchman he had claimed the World Championship, even though, Verstappen didn’t believe him.

“Oh dear! Oh dear, everybody’s telling me that you are [World Champion]” said Herbert to Verstappen.

“Well, if you get fed that information,” Verstappen somewhat snapped back to the Brit.

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“No he’s telling me,” Herbert said whilst pointing to his earpiece, suggesting the producer had told him to announce Verstappen as World Champion.

“Gee, God,” Herbert concluded, before walking a different way.

The news was confirmed to Verstappen once again in the cooldown room, where he seemed to finally realise that full points had been awarded.