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Verstappen wins 2022 F1 title with Japanese GP win

By F1 correspondent Michael Butterworth

TOKYO, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) — Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took a dominant win in a rain-shortened F1 Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday to seal the 2022 F1 Drivers’ World Championship title.

In a race that was suspended by two hours because of heavy rain, Verstappen led away from his pole place and managed his tyres successfully to win by 26 seconds when the race hit the time restrict after 28 laps of a scheduled 53.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc had withstood heavy stress from Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez to cross the road in second place, however was penalised for slicing the chicane on the ultimate lap.

Leclerc’s resultant five-second penalty lifted Perez into second place, and ensured that Leclerc might not overhaul Verstappen’s factors lead of 114, confirming the Dutchman because the World Champion of 2022.

“It’s crazy. Very mixed emotions,” mentioned Verstappen, who did not initially realise that he had gained the title, owing to confusion over each Leclerc’s penalty and the awarding of full factors regardless of a shortened race.

“Looking back, what a year we’ve had so far. It’s been incredible. It’s something I could never have imagined. After last year, fighting until the end, and then having such a good car again this year. I’m so thankful to everyone who has been contributing to this success.”

The race had began on schedule with all drivers on Intermediate tyres, however was red-flagged earlier than the top of Lap 2 after Carlos Sainz crashed and a number of other different drivers spun.

More concerningly, Pierre Gasly was sad after encountering a restoration automobile on monitor to get better Sainz’s automotive earlier than the race had been pink flagged.

Such an incident evoked recollections of the tragic accident that befell Jules Bianchi in related circumstances at Suzuka in 2014, when the Frenchman struck a restoration automobile at excessive pace and suffered extreme head accidents that may finally declare his life.

After a delay of two hours, racing resumed with a rolling begin underneath the Safety Car with 40 minutes of racing motion nonetheless to return, and all automobiles have been mandated to have full Wet tyres fitted.

Though visibility was in brief provide, monitor circumstances appeared extra manageable, and virtually all of the drivers dived into the pits over the primary few racing laps to modify to Intermediate tyres, with the highest three of Verstappen, Leclerc and Perez doing so with out dropping their positions.

With solely 40 minutes of racing forward, many of the drivers have been determined to keep away from having to make an additional pit cease which might see them lose monitor place, and tried gamely to eke out their Inters till the top of the race.

Though Verstappen and Leclerc initially pulled away from the remainder of the sector by over one second per lap, the Red Bull appeared to handle its tyres extra successfully, and Leclerc quickly fell again and into the clutches of Perez.

Behind the highest three, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon efficiently fended off Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes to take fourth place, with Sebastian Vettel ending a powerful sixth for Aston Martin after an early swap to Inters paid off.

Ocon’s teammate Fernando Alonso was one of many few drivers to pit for an additional set of Inters, and he used his tempo to overhaul a number of automobiles within the closing laps, with Vettel simply pipping him to sixth on the road.

In eighth place got here an sad George Russell in his Mercedes, forward of Williams’ Nicholas Latifi, who scored his first factors of the season after additionally playing on an early swap to Inters, with Lando Norris rounding out the highest ten.

Verstappen’s win, mixed with the awarding of full championship factors regardless of the shortened race, places the Dutchman on a complete 366 factors that can’t now be overhauled.

Perez’s second place additionally sees him overtake Leclerc into second place within the standings, with the 2 drivers on 253 and 252 factors respectively.

In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull transfer onto 619 factors, forward of Ferrari on 454 and Mercedes on 387.

The subsequent spherical of the 2022 F1 World Championship is the United States Grand Prix in Austin, the place Red Bull can seal the Constructors’ Championship.