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Rain chaos creates chaos on points: Verstappen is surprised by the world title

Rain Chaos creates Score Chaos
Verstappen is surprised by the world title

Max Verstappen wins the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix. He is still not the new world champion – it is said at first because there should be fewer points in the shortened rain race. But then he is proclaimed as the defending champion. Even Red Bull is surprised.

Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen won the Japanese Grand Prix in the rain chaos at Suzuka. Due to a surprising decision by the race management, the Dutchman is already able to defend his title. The 25-year-old is proclaimed and celebrated as the new world champion at the racetrack.

The confusion is great. Because there shouldn’t be the full World Championship points in a shortened rain-chaos race, Verstappen would have been missing a point in the World Championship standings. However, the race control then awarded the full number of points because the race had initially been restarted behind the safety car after a long break. Only 28 of 53 planned laps had been driven.

Verstappen also benefited from a penalty for his closest competitor Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari. The Monegasque had finished second, but then received a five-second penalty. Leclerc had a duel with Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez just before the finish line. He missed a corner.

“It’s mixed feelings,” said Verstappen: “I thank everyone who contributed to this success.” At first he didn’t understand himself whether he had already made the title perfect. “Am I world champion? Am I not?” he asked before the award ceremony. Then he had certainty after his 32nd Formula 1 victory and the twelfth of the season: “After the race they told me from the FIA. Unbelievable.”

“We thought they didn’t award the full points,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner on Sky. Motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said jokingly: “Thanks to the spokesman up there we are world champions.” With four races to go, Verstappen can no longer be ousted from the top of the world championship standings by either of his pursuers.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in the 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 out on the points and finished 18th and the last driver to cross the finish line.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly experienced a moment of shock. In the second lap, the Alpha Tauri driver just swept past a recovery vehicle – memories of the serious accident in Suzuka in 2014, which had cost his friend Jules Bianchi his life, were awakened. The race was already interrupted at this point.

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