Verstappen is on the way to the title, and Red Bull has already won it
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen triumphed at the Japanese GP, at the Suzuka Circuit, the 17th race of this year’s F1 championship, where his team secured the constructors’ title.
The reigning world champion secured his 13th victory of the season with a highly dominant race, marking his 11th win in the last 12 races and 48th of his career.
Lando Norris of McLaren was the closest competitor to the Dutchman, with Oscar Piastri taking the third spot on the podium, achieving his first-ever career podium finish. This also meant that Red Bull claimed the constructors’ championship for the second consecutive year and sixth time in history, as Verstappen scored more points than Lewis Hamilton and George Russell combined.
For Red Bull to secure the title at Suzuka, they had to win at least one point more than Mercedes, which they successfully did as Hamilton and Russell finished fifth and seventh, respectively. Verstappen is now just one step away from defending his title with a 177-point lead over his teammate, Sergio Perez, with 180 points still up for grabs. Verstappen will have a chance to clinch his third championship title in two weeks in Qatar.
Sergio Perez - too many mistakes
Verstappen delivered a remarkable performance at the Japanese Grand Prix. However, his teammate Sergio Perez had a poor outing and made a series of mistakes. At the start, he nearly pushed Hamilton off the track and later hit Kevin Magnussen in the Haas car, causing him to spin. He then slowed down Norris, allowing his teammate to pull away. Perez retired from the race, only to return after a few laps to serve a penalty.
As for the fight for the triumph, it was completely absent after the first corner - Norris had the best start. He overtook Piastri and challenged Verstappen, who defended himself. Perez’s slowing of the Brit allowed Piastri to get in front of his teammate after the pit stop, but the two swapped positions later when it was evident that Norris was faster. However, he did not even have the opportunity to threaten Verstappen, as he was untouchable.
At Mercedes, they tried to outwit the competition with different tactics for their drivers, but they failed. Russell had only one pit stop; at one point, he even took the lead. He was in competition for the podium but gave up in the finish and crossed the finish line in seventh place. Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was the best among the rest, ahead of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, Sainz, and Russell. Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso and Alpina duo Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly completed the points winners.
During the race, there were two instances where the race had to be slowed down. The first happened right after the start, as Valtteri Bottas hit Alex Albon’s Williams, and Guanyu Zhou, an Alfa Romeo driver, was also affected. Despite minor damages, all three drivers were able to continue racing. However, the safety car had to be deployed due to the debris on the track. The second instance happened when Perez spun Magnussen on track, which led to a virtual period being highlighted.
The following Formula 1 race is the Qatar Grand Prix at Losail on October 7.