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Max Verstappen

suspected it from the cheers of his mechanics in the middle of the interview, after the Japanese Grand Prix, but he entered the podium prelude convinced that he would still have to wait another two weeks.

When he saw that everyone was congratulating him, he asked around with increasing bewilderment.

"I would say no, right?

No, right?



They went four times, the last two to an officer.

Only then did he adjust his cap and go into a small room where a huge screen, a royal armchair and a wall announcing him in very large letters awaited him: "Formula 1 World Champion."

It is the closest anyone came to questioning Max Verstappen's second crown, and it was himself, who was not sure how the points dance would look in Suzuka.

After the agony with which he won his first title, overtaking

Lewis Hamilton

on the last lap of the last race, and with a much-discussed race direction decision, the Dutchman dominated this year uncontested.

Champion four weeks in advance, record wins (15, surpassing the 13 held by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel) and a Red Bull double to break Mercedes' long reign.

"The first title is always the most emotional, but I think that this, by performance, is undoubtedly the best," he settled as soon as he retained his crown.

Something unthinkable at the beginning of the course, when Red Bull was fighting with an overweight problem and Verstappen abandoned two of the first three races.

An intense duel with Ferrari was then expected, like the ones he starred in with

Charles Leclerc

in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

But as the Austrian team was scratching kilos on the scale and the Dutchman refined his driving, a gap opened up that would soon be immeasurable.

Verstappen dominated to such an extent that in Monza, with seven races to go, he was already talking about managing the mattress.


We no longer need more victories

», He came to say minutes before the start.

"But I love them."

And he won.

Starting with that same circuit in which he had never been on the podium and in which he started with a five-place penalty for changing his engine.

He won starting from seventh place, just as he had done in Hungary starting 10th.

How superior would it be that even in Belgium, starting 14th, he was a favourite.

And he won.

"It was an incredible weekend," he recalled a few days ago in F1 Talks.

“I have never experienced such dominance in Formula 1. From the moment we went out on the track, everything worked well.

We knew that we had the penalty, but even if he had to start fourteenth, he was convinced that if he passed the first lap without damage he would win ».

Nine wins without starting first

The victory at Spa-Francorchamps was the embodiment of a pilot in a state of grace.

This season, the FIA ​​thoroughly renewed its regulations to favor spectacle and overtaking, and few got more out of it than Verstappen, who achieved nine of his 15 victories without starting from the first place on the grid.

Once Red Bull managed to pack those extra pounds and

sharpen the car to the taste of his first sword

, the Dutchman flew spectacularly towards the title.

Verstappen has won nine of the last 11 races.

With the victory in Suzuka he closed his second World Cup;

with the next one in the United States he gave Red Bull the first constructors' title since 2013 and broke the points record in a season, which was held by the British Lewis Hamilton;

with the victory in Mexico he broke the record of victories of

Michael Schumacher


Sebastian Vettel


and with that of Abu Dhabi he closed an overwhelming course.

A solvency that has nothing to do with the agony of his first title.

Mercedes did not fix its rebound problems in time with the new car and Hamilton ran empty for the first time in his career.

Ferrari, which started the campaign so well, was lost between strategic errors by its mechanics and a persistent problem with tire degradation.

Leclerc was the one who was closest to the Dutchman and Carlos Sainz added his first victory at Silverstone, but the irregularity condemned the Italians.

Verstappen's dominance was the best demonstration of that hunger that also once betrayed him.

Like when, with the championship already in his showcase, he refused to help his teammate

Checo Pérez

in the fight for second place.

The Mexican, whom he accuses of having an accident on purpose at the Monaco Grand Prix to cancel the classification, would finish the World Cup third, just three points behind Leclerc.

At 25 years old, and after signing an overwhelming season, Verstappen aspires to mark an era in Formula 1.

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