Verstappen could clinch his third drivers championship in Qatar as early as the sprint race, which has been introduced for the first time in Lusail.
Dominant racer Max Verstappen silenced his critics after winning the Japanese Grand Prix in a mostly outstanding race for Red Bull, paving the way for his crowning at the world champion in Qatar.
This is the Dutchman’s 13th victory of the Formula 1 season, to which he also clinched the constructors championship, the sixth title for the Red Bull team, which acknowledges the performances of the racing team as a whole.
On his radio to his team following his victory, a jovial Verstappen stated “What an unbelievable season we are having, you can all be very proud here at the track and back at the factory. You guys built a rocket ship of a car”.
It was a dominant performance from Verstappen in Suzuka, who had an extra urge to silence the doubters after there were negative comments about Red Bull and their performances in last week’s grand prix in Singapore, where Max finished fifth.
The race had an exciting start, with the biggest threat to Verstappen being the McLaren duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, who both followed him up on the podium as second and third respectively, with the latter earning his first ever podium.
However he managed to edge them out on the first two corners of the track, and the rest of the race was fairly straightforward for the Dutchman.
Although it was mostly all smiles for Verstappen and Red Bull, his teammate Sergio Perez’s race was riddled with misfortune. He suffered damage twice to his car’s front wings, including crashing into Haas’s Kevin Magnussen in the twelfth lap. Subsequently he was forced to pitstop twice and retire from the race.
Perez also received a penalty for overtaking Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin while the safety car was in play. Although a race to forget for the Mexican, he managed to avoid a penalty for the next race in Qatar by returning to the track for three laps to serve his penalty for crashing into Magnussen.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Christian Horner, Team Principal of the Red Bull Formula One team states “The only good thing was we were able to serve the penalty here so it leaves it here in Japan.”
As for Verstappen, the 25-year old could clinch his third drivers championship in Qatar as early as the sprint race, which has been introduced for the first time in Lusail.
With 26 points gained in Suzuka, that means Verstappen only needs three more points to be crowned champion and move 180 points clear of second placed teammate Sergio Perez.
The Qatar Airways Qatar Grand Prix is scheduled to run from October 6-8 at the Lusail International Circuit. Tickets are available through the circuit’s website, and are selling fast.