After winning three of the last four races, Max Verstappen is virtually in complete control of the 2022 World Championship, however, the Dutchman believed his title defence was over after just three rounds.
The start of the season was horrific for the 2021 World Champion, after suffering two reliability-based DNFs in the opening three rounds of the season.
Retirements at both the Bahrain and Australian GPs, left the Dutchman far behind championship leader at the time Charles Leclerc.
The tables, however, have well and truly turned with Leclerc having retired from two of the last three races himself.
As a result of this and winning three of the last four, Verstappen now leads the championship by 21 points from team-mate Sergio Pérez.
In a recent episode of the ‘Talking Bull’ podcast, Verstappen explained how he thought his season was done after his Australia DNF.
“Starting the season before we had done any races, you don’t know,” Verstappen said.
“Maybe we have a good car, maybe we don’t. Then it seemed like we had a competitive car, so we can be in the fight for the championship.
“But then after retiring two times, and I was 46 points down, I was like, ‘This [Championship] is gone, this is not happening,’ or at least it will take a very long time to catch up.
“And then, basically in three races, as a team we turned it around and both of us are now up there.”
Verstappen labelled this season so far as a bit “hectic and crazy”, after what has been a season full of reliability problems for both Red Bull Racing and Ferrari.
It’s seen the championship already swing massively twice, at first in Ferrari’s favour but now very much in Red Bull’s.
With 14 rounds to go, there is every chance that the championship standings can change once again.
Verstappen is aware of this possibility, and recognises that him and his team have to remain “on our toes”.
“It’s quite satisfying, but of course we also know it can also change really quickly, so we have to be on our toes,” admitted Verstappen.
“We have to really focus on not retiring anymore, because already the two we had are too many.
“It’s been a bit hectic and crazy, the first few races we’ve had so far,” concluded the Dutch driver.