Verstappen: Points confusion over F1 world title win was "quite funny"

Max Verstappen found the points confusion over his Japanese Grand Prix victory and second Formula 1 world championship win “quite funny” after the race at Suzuka.

Verstappen: Points confusion over F1 world title win was "quite funny"

Verstappen clinched his second F1 crown in bizarre circumstances on Sunday, only learning that he was world champion during his parc ferme interview.

This came after the FIA handed Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc a five-second time penalty for gaining an advantage off-track in his last-lap battle with Sergio Perez.

By dropping Leclerc from second to third, it meant Verstappen made a 10-point gain after full points were awarded despite only just reaching 50% race distance.

Verstappen celebrated with his mechanics in parc ferme after learning he was champion, but could then be heard in the cool-down room saying he did not think he had won it.

“During the race, I had no clue what they were going to decide with the points,” said Verstappen.

"The main target was to win the race, but once I crossed the line, I was like OK, that was an amazing race, good points again, but not world champion yet.

“When I did my interview after the race, then suddenly my mechanics started to cheer, and I was like, what’s going on? And then I realised Checo was second instead of Charles, but I still didn’t know if it was full points or half points or whatever, 75%, I don’t know how you do it.

“But then you read through the rules, and [the FIA media delegate] came to me and he said that I was the world champion. So then we celebrated - and then people were telling me no, you’re still missing a point. I was like, that’s a bit weird.

“But eventually, we had enough points, so then we were world champion again!”

PLUS: 10 moments that won Verstappen the 2022 Formula 1 title

World Champion Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

World Champion Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

The confusion over the rules came after the FIA’s rewrite in the wake of last year’s Belgian Grand Prix, which awarded half points despite only completing two laps behind the safety car.

As the regulation for reduced points only refers to races that cannot be resumed, the fact the Japanese Grand Prix reached its three-hour time limit despite only managing 28 of the planned 53 laps meant full points could be awarded.

“To be honest, I don’t mind that it was a little bit confusing,” Verstappen said.

“I find it actually quite funny, because at the end of the day, it’s not going to change the result.

“When I crossed the line, it was anyway not enough, even if you would give full points. In that scenario, it wouldn’t have changed anything.”

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A number of F1 team figures including Verstappen’s Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, have suggested the rules may need reviewing in the future.

Verstappen said there were “really complex situations” relating to races being suspended and resuming, and felt there needed to be a balance when it comes to the rulebook.

“It’s the difference between if you finish a race or the race gets red flagged early on, and then you can’t continue,” said Verstappen.

“There is of course a difference between the two. I do think that if you don’t write enough rules, it’s not good. If you write too many rules, it’s also not good.

“It’s always hard to find a middle ground I think.”

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