Verstappen takes 2nd drivers’ title with Japanese GP win


SUZUKA, Japan (AP) – Red Bull driver Max Verstappen won his second consecutive Formula 1 drivers’ title by winning the…

SUZUKA, Japan (AP) — Red Bull driver Max Verstappen won his second consecutive Formula One drivers’ title, winning the Japanese Grand Prix in the rain at Suzuka on Sunday.

Verstappen has been dominant all season and has clinched the title with four races remaining.

The Dutchman started from pole in the pouring rain only for the race to be stopped after two laps after several cars crashed. It resumed two hours later with 28 of the 53 laps completed and Verstappen leading the way.

He was followed by teammate Sergio Perez in second and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. They were the only drivers who could have passed Verstappen for the title.

Verstappen now has an unassailable lead of 366 points. Perez has 253 and Leclerc 252.

At the start, Verstappen took the lead with a dangerous pass after a slow start, but several cars lost control including Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who spun and crashed.

The organizers stopped the race after two laps. AlphaTaura’s Pierre Gasly complained on his radio that he passed a recovery vehicle that was allowed onto the track shortly after the safety car came out. This incident apparently came right when the race was red flagged.

This is a sensitive issue in Japan. In 2014, French driver Jules Bianchi crashed on the course with a recovery vehicle. He was placed in an induced coma and died nine months later.

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