Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen won the Japanese Grand Prix in the rain chaos at Suzuka and defended his world title. However, there was some confusion over the assessment of the race.
The Dutchman won the Japanese Grand Prix ahead of his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez and Ferrari star Charles Leclerc (Monaco). After crossing the finish line with four races to go, Verstappen can no longer be pushed off the top of the world championship by either of his two pursuers.
Verstappen took advantage of Leclerc missing a corner, receiving a five-second penalty and then having to hand in second place to Perez. Although only 28 of the 53 scheduled laps were completed, the FIA World Automobile Association awarded full points. Even after the end of the race there was a lot of confusion on this point.
But then came the statement: The International Automobile Association awarded the full number of points, although less than the prescribed 75 percent of the 53 laps were completed, namely only 28. This rule only applies if the race cannot be resumed after a stoppage, she explained to the rulers with delay.
“Am I World Champion? Aren’t I?”
“It’s mixed feelings” Verstappen said: “Thank you to everyone who contributed to this success.” At first, he himself did not understand whether he had already made the title perfect. “Am I World Champion? Aren’t I?”, he asked before the awards ceremony. Then he had certainty after his 32nd Formula 1 victory and the twelfth of the season: “After the race they told me about the FIA. Unbelievable.”
“When I look back on our season now, it’s unbelievable”said Verstappen later, “It’s very emotional.” The second title gets the superiority “A little more beautiful. It was a very special year, something like this doesn’t happen often.” He just wants now “House” go and enjoy.
Continued rain causes a long hiatus
Sunday it rained continuously in Suzuka. The restart took place more than two hours after the interruption. Meanwhile, it seemed as if it could not be driven at all. Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel (Heppenheim/Aston Martin) finished sixth in the points in his last race in Japan thanks to a daring strategy. Mick Schumacher’s tire gamble went wrong, the Haas driver missed the points and finished 18th and the last driver to cross the finish line.
Shocking moment for Gasly
Frenchman Pierre Gasly experienced a moment of shock. On lap two, the AlphaTauri driver just sped past a recovery vehicle – reminiscing about the serious accident in Suzuka in 2014 that cost his friend Jules Bianchi his life. The race had already been interrupted at that point. However, Gasly was still on track as he had previously changed parts in the pit lane under the safety car and followed the field. “This is unacceptable”, gasly scolded on the radio. The world association FIA has announced that Gasly was there “up to 250 km/h” was on the way, even though the red flag had already been shown. The race stewards handle the incident after the race.