‘Exceptional’ Verstappen becomes a double F1 champion

Verstappen’s domination doesn’t match Michael Schumacher in 2002 – but he’s chasing the record win total for a season

Max Verstappen celebrating on his car

Max Verstappen earnt his 12th win of the year, and second world championship, in Suzuka. Red Bull now hopes to end Mercedes’ stranglehold on the constructors’ title


Max Verstappen is confident he can go on to record even more Formula 1 World Championship titles after completing the third-most dominant campaign in F1 history.

Verstappen put this year’s championship beyond doubt with victory in a turbulent Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. His 12th win of the season for Red Bull means the Dutchman has become a two-time world champion with four races still to go.

That makes this the joint third-earliest championship ever decided, beaten only by Michael Schumacher’s crushing 2002 campaign for Ferrari, where he won the crown with six races remaining, and Nigel Mansell’s 1992 run to win with five spare at Williams. The fact all the years are the second of a decade is some coincidence…

“We have a great group of people here who work well together”

Speaking about his hopes to add further successes to his trophy cabinet, Verstappen said: “Well, it all depends on the coming years, right? We have a great group of people here, who work really well together, so it’s about keeping them together. If I have a competitive car, I’m confident I can keep going and we can keep winning. I believe in this group and this team and I really hope that in the coming years we can enjoy a lot more wins, and potentially, of course, more championships.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner added that Verstappen had been exceptional over the course of this year, and he could well be on course to break the record for most wins in a single season (13, jointly held by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel).

“Max has been on another planet this year,” said Horner. “He has dominated this championship, driven with such maturity and conviction. Last year was a titanic battle for us, and this year has been far less controversial. Next for us is the constructors’ title. Nobody [but Mercedes] has come close to winning it for eight years, so hopefully we can bring that home as well.”

Verstappen’s performances have brought widespread praise from many of the sport’s great and good. Fittingly, Fernando Alonso welcomed Verstappen to the two-time world champions’ club saying: “When you win a championship four races before the end it means you’ve done something exceptional. Huge congrats to him and welcome to the club… I just wish him more luck going forward than I had!

Earliest F1 title wins

1 Michael Schumacher, 2002 6 races left
2 Nigel Mansell, 1992 5 races left
3 Max Verstappen, 2022 4 races left
= Michael Schumacher, 2001 4 races left
= Michael Schumacher, 2004 4 races left
= Sebastian Vettel, 2011 4 races left