Whilst the Singapore weekend frustrated Max Verstappen’s opportunity to take the drivers’ title earlier than any other, his bounce back in Japan secured Red Bull Racing’s sixth constructors’ championship.
Red Bull need one more championship to move ahead of Lotus into the top five position of all time, but they did claim a historic record here in Japan.
F1 historic record for Red Bull
No team has claimed the constructors’ title with six races remaining. The previous record was held by McLaren and Ferrari who did it with five races to spare in 1998 and 2004 respectively.
“For us the most amazing year,” said team boss Christian Horner after the race. “It’s all testimony to these guys and all the men and women back in the factory in Milton Keynes.
“To Red Bull, to all our partners, it’s the collection of an incredible effort of everybody doing their bit to achieve results like we’ve done and of course Max is just on another level at the moment. So today was an incredible performance.”
Honda 7th engine supplier title
It doesn’t seem that long ago when a certain Fernando Alonso was describing the V6 Turbo hybrid Honda PU as a “GP2 engine”, yet on the 75th anniversary the Japanese companies initiation.
Honda now have seven F1 titles as engine providers with the previous being in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 2001. Last season the power unit was branded as a Red Bull powertrain.
With the abject failure of Sergio Perez in the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix, Max Verstappen can now win his third F1 drivers championship next time out in Qatar.
Bizarre chance for Verstappen
The Dutch driver can in bizarre fashion match Michael Schumacher’s record of winning with 6 Grand Prix remaining.
Qatar is a Sprint race weekend and a podium finish for Verstappen – before the Grand Prix – will see him match the record set by the German ace back in 2002.
Max Verstappen was jubilant saying, “unbelievable weekend and to win here was great. I think the car was working really well on every compound, but of course most important to win the constructors.
“So, very proud of everyone working at the track but also back at the factory. We are having an incredible year and I’m very proud of everyone.”
Hamilton battles but miles away
A battling effort from Lewis Hamilton saw him claim P5 at the chequered flag having lost places at the start of the race. He is now just 33 points behind Red Bull’s Sergio peers in the race for second in the drivers’ championship, with six races to go.
Yet Mercedes and Hamilton were 49 seconds behind the race winner and the pain was compounded by the fact their customer team McLaren had Lando Norris finishing P2 behind the world champion.
Norris was officially 19 seconds back from the winning RB19, yet he revealed it should have been much closer but for Perez issues under the Virtual Safety Car.
Norris 10s closer than time states
“It would have been a lot closer as well. I got stuck behind Perez in the VSC,” Norris told Sky F1. ” I don’t think it was on TV – but he had a problem.
“And I lost like 10 seconds – I don’t know what he was doing but he obviously had a problem and you’re not allowed to overtake under the VSC.”
Perez was slowing down to retire the car and lost 10 seconds on the lap where Lando was right behind him and not allowed to overtake.
Back to his best at Suzuka 💪
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 24, 2023
MORE F1 NEWS: Teams demand Verstappen ‘investigated’
The Formula One paddock is abuzz with controversy as several teams join forces to demand answers from the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) over recent decisions made at the Singapore Grand Prix. This collective discontent revolves around the treatment of Max Verstappen, with some suggesting that the reigning world champion may have escaped legitimate penalties.
The Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka is just around the corner, but the storm clouds of uncertainty and discontent from the previous race in Singapore are looming large. Paddock chatter is rife with speculation as… READ MORE ON THIS STORY