Verstappen vows to enjoy it while it lasts as Red Bull driver clinches F1 title again

By Sports Desk October 09, 2022

Max Verstappen struck a philosophical tone as he celebrated a second Formula One drivers' title, admitting this could be as good as it gets for him.

The 25-year-old Dutchman has been dominant in the 2022 season, with his 12th race win in 18 races coming at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.

It came in curious fashion, with Verstappen initially moving only to the brink of the title with victory. His triumph was confirmed later, when a penalty was imposed on second-placed finisher Charles Leclerc, nudging the Ferrari driver down to third place in the race and giving Verstappen an unassailable championship lead.

He has wrapped up the title with four races to spare, and Verstappen might go on to be the leading light in many more seasons to come. Indeed, it would be a surprise if he does not; but great drivers from years gone by have not necessarily stacked up the titles expected of them.

Fernando Alonso, for one, captured titles in 2005 and 2006 but has not added to those back-to-back successes.

Verstappen is conscious that the car must be right, so he is determined to make the most of Red Bull equipping him with a formidable set of wheels, for as long as that lasts.

"I've got four race weekends at least to celebrate," he said. "There is no real pressure any more, but I still want to of course try and win more races, because with the car we have now you have to try and take advantage of that.

"You don't know if you're ever going to have that again, next year, in the years to come. So, we'll definitely try to win a few more."

Verstappen already accepts that following up the 2022 performance will be a lot to ask of Red Bull and their driver team.

Because of Leclerc's five-second penalty, Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez took second place at Suzuka, and also sits second in the championship, some 113 points behind the champion.

Red Bull are emphatically the team to beat, but many teams have been in such a position across the history of Formula One, and what history tells us is that a rival will at some stage overhaul them.

Next season will be a 24-race slog, two races longer than this campaign, and that will test all the teams.

"Yeah, it's going to be a long season," Verstappen said. "I thought this one was already pretty long – but we'll see. We're going to try and prepare for next year as good as we can.

"Then we'll try to get it as close as we can to this year, because replicating something like this will be very tough – but I have a lot of good hope within the people in the team that we can create again a really good car."

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