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Max Verstappen wins Japanese Grand Prix, clinches points title with victory

Verstappen’s 12th victory of the season, coupled with a critical penalty to Charles Leclerc, was enough to secure the points title.

Race winner and 2022 F1 World Drivers Champion Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on October 09, 2022 in Suzuka, Japan. Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images

F1 has four races remaining in the season, but the season-long points championship race is officially a wrap. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen is your 2022 champ, winning the title for a second straight season.

Verstappen won the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday morning, and that coupled with a critical penalty to Charles Leclerc was enough to secure the points title. Verstappen needed to claim at least nine points more than Leclerc to get the win. He could have done it simply by winning the race and getting the fastest lap point if Leclerc finished second. However, while Leclerc was on pace to finish second, he was penalized for cutting the chicane on the final lap as he was defending against Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez. Leclerc was dropped to third, which gave Verstappen the title.

This was Verstappen’s 12th victory of the season and he still has a shot at the single season wins record. Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel are tied with 13 wins in a season. The 2022 season still has the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix races remaining. Two more wins and Verstappen will further cement his burgeoning legacy.

Verstappen has now won two points titles in his career. The record is seven and the record for consecutive points titles is five. Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher are tied for the career record while Schumacher holds the consecutive seasons record.