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Max reflects on second world title: 'Really special'

Published on 09 October 2022 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen clinched his second consecutive world championship title with a dominating victory at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka. After the race, the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver spoke to Viaplay to reflect on both the race and the championship win. 

“Because of the weather, I was a bit more tense; thinking a bit more about what could happen at the start, the tyres, strategy, red flags etc. But GP (Max’ race engineer) said ‘I see you thinking more than normal. Just do what you always do.' That’s what I did and it works out, but sometimes I just want to think more about a situation.” 

The Grand Prix got off to a tense start, with a poor getaway from Max. Nevertheless, the Dutchman was able to hang on to the lead. “I had a bad start, and I had a few bad practice starts on the way to the grid. Something wasn’t right with the set-up of the clutch. That’s why I was a bit more careful when releasing the clutch. I didn’t have wheelspin but it wasn’t a good start. Me and Charles were side by side heading to turn one so I was waiting to see who would give in first. Of course, we both want to win, and even though I’m ahead in the championship, I went for it on the outside.” 

Once he held on to the lead, Max soon extended his advantage to Leclerc. “I had no idea if we would get half or full points at the end of the race. When I was fifteen seconds clear, I decided to keep pushing in case I needed to make an extra pitstop to secure the fastest lap." 

Winning the title in Japan adds another dimension for Max. “It’s really special. If it hadn’t happened here, it would’ve happened at the next race, but I’m glad it happened here, especially for Honda. They’ve achieved so much in the last few years after so much criticism when they returned to F1. They struggled, but the Japanese never give up. They work so hard and are so disciplined. As Europeans we can learn from that. That’s why I’m really happy to win the title here.” 

After a tense championship showdown in the last race of the season, this year’s title was achieved with four races to spare. “The first title was more emotional, as it’s the realisation that you’ve achieved everything you ever wanted. However, this one feels actually better. That’s purely because of the season we’ve had. Although we had an equal car to Ferrari, we did manage to win the championship in dominant fashion. That’s hugely satisfying.” 

Despite having the drivers’ championship wrapped up, Max is keen to continue the momentum. “I want to win more races, and with this car a lot is possible. It would be amazing to get thirteen wins in one season, because that won’t happen very often so we have to make the most of it. And in the end, we also want to win the constructor’s title and for us to finish one and two in the drivers’ championship.” 

Before the next race at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, United States, Max will head home for a well-earned break. “I’d already planned to go home, as we’re so often away from home. After that, there’s four races left to enjoy. Of course, once you hit the track on Fridays you go for it, but it will be a bit more relaxed.”