Double world champion after a dominant campaign
After an extremely exciting 2021 season, in which Max Verstappen won his first Formula 1 World Championship on the last lap of the final race, the Dutchman now sports the number 1 on his Red Bull Racing RB18. The 2022 season sees major rule changes come into effect which have caused the cars to be drastically different. The cars have been stripped of the many aerodynamical winglets with more downforce now being created by the under floor to enhance overtaking. Due to these dramatic changes, it is anyone’s guess what the pecking order will be as the season gets underway in Bahrain.
Ferrari has the upper hand at the beginning of the season. Charles Leclerc wins the Bahrain Grand Prix while Max, despite a great battle with Leclerc, has difficulties following the Ferrari in a car that is overweight and not suiting his desired driving style. In the closing stages of the race, Verstappen suffers technical issues resulting in a DNF.
During the second race in Saudi Arabia, it is another tense battle between Leclerc and Verstappen, but it is the latter who comes out on top and wins the race. In Australia disappointment follows as Leclerc takes the win and Max retires due to technical issues for the second time in the opening three races. The reigning champion now trails Leclerc by 46 points.
In Imola Max strikes back by winning both the sprint, and taking victory in dominant fashion at Sunday's Grand Prix as well as the point for fastest lap. Team mate Sergio Perez claims second, sealing the first one-two for Red Bull Racing since the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix. Initially running third Leclerc spins during the closing stages of the race and eventually comes home in sixth. The deficit to Leclerc in the championship is now reduced to 27 points. In the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, Max and Leclerc are once again the main protagonists. This time round, Max takes the lead early on in the race and holds for his third win of the season.
At the Spanish Grand Prix Max is off to a frustrating start. After a trip through the gravel trap, DRS issues prevent the Dutchman from progressing to the front. Eventually, aided by Leclerc's DNF due to technical issues, Max claims his fourth win of the season and takes the lead in the championship. Perez’s second place finish makes it another one-two for Red Bull Racing.
In Monaco, Max is forced to abort his final flying qualifying lap due to a red flag and starts the Grand Prix from fourth. Overtaking in the streets of Monte Carlo is nearly impossible and the addition of rain makes for a difficult Sunday. Nevertheless, Max takes a podium with P3, whilst Perez takes his first Monaco GP win.
Red Bull continue their winning streak in Azerbaijan with Max claiming a dominant win and Perez finishing second. Championship rival Leclerc retires with technical issues, extending Max' lead in the championship.
Max starts from pole in Canada and despite tremendous pressure from Carlos Sainz during the closing stages of the race, Max is able to claim his sixth win of the season. In Great-Britain Max appears to challenge for the top step of the podium until his floor gets damaged by debris on track. With a severely battered RB18, Verstappen barely manages to come home in seventh.
Max' Austrian Grand Prix weekend starts well with a sprint win at the Red Bull Ring. However, during Sunday's race, dyre degradation rules out a clean sweep with Leclerc back on the top step. At the French Grand Prix, Max wins and makes the most of Leclerc's DNF following a spin.
After technical issues in qualifying, Max starts the Hungarian Grand Prix from tenth on the grid. Despite a spin in slippery conditions, Max snatches a sensational win. In the following race, at Max' beloved Spa-Francorchamps, he pulls off another sensational comeback, winning the race from P14.
At his home race in Zandvoort, Max withstands the pressure put on by Mercedes and wins the Dutch Grand Prix for the second time in a row in front of a delighted Orange army. At Ferrari's home race in Monza, Max seals the sixth win a row, cementing an almost insurmountable lead in the championship.
The Singapore Grand Prix is Max' first shot at winning the championship. But the weekend turns into a deception. During a wet qualifying, Verstappen seems on his way to another pole position. However, on his last flying lap, a lack of fuel means he has to abort the final effort. Starting from P8, Max endures a frustrating race, finishing seventh after a costly lock-up forces hm to make an additional pit-stop.
On a soaking wet Suzuka, Max starts from pole. At the start of the race, he retains his lead, and after a lengthy rain break, he dominates a shortened race. Behind him, Leclerc crosses the line in second but is dropped to third following a five-second time penalty. The loss of subsequent points for Leclerc, confirm Max as the 2022 world champion.
Austin is a challenging weekend for Red Bull as its founder Dietrich Mateschitz passed away. Max is able to commemorate the Austrian in the best possible way by winning the race. After a slow pit stop, the win seems to be slipping out of his hands, but after a great come back, Max overtakes Lewis Hamilton to bring the win home. The result also seals the first Constructors’ championship for the first time again since 2013.
Max takes home another record in Mexico by dominantly laying claim to his fourteenth win of the season. He has now surpassed the old record of thirteen wins in a single season held by Michael Schumacher (2004) and Sebastian Vettel (2013). In Brazil, Verstappen finishes a disappointing race in sixth after colliding with Lewis Hamilton. Nevertheless, Max ends his dominant 2022 campaign in style by winning the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi.
In 2023 Max and Red Bull Racing have all but one objective: defend their titles successfully.