The Red Bull team secured victory in the Constructors' Championship ahead of schedule, six races before the end of the World Championship. It took place thanks to the impeccable performance of Max Verstappen at the Japanese Grand Prix. The Dutchman simply had no competitors in Suzuka. And in just two weeks in Qatar, Verstappen can claim his third personal championship title. Moreover, for this he does not even have to participate in the Sunday race - everything can be decided based on the results of the Saturday sprint.
The previous stage of the World Championship, Singapore, gave rise to a lot of talk that it was time to say goodbye to the hegemony of Red Bull in general and Max Verstappen in particular. The Dutchman finished outside the podium for the first time this season (in fifth place), breaking his record ten win streak. Moreover, both Red Bull cars looked so unconvincing that they made the version current that it was all due to the new directive of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), according to which control over bending parts of the aerodynamic body kits of cars was strengthened. Allegedly, Red Bull, in order to fit into the updated rules, had to add rigidity to a number of elements (it was assumed that previously they somehow cunningly bent under the flow of incoming air and worked as a kind of natural DRS system - an adjustable rear wing), which immediately affected speed. Hence the conclusion that Red Bull will no longer be as fast as before.
All these conversations did not find any factual confirmation. At Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix, Max Verstappen had no equal. It took him the first two corners to fend off the attacks of McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri (they arrived at the finish line in second and third places) and then lead the race to victory in a very calm manner in a car that he called “rocket-like” after the finish. Unlike teammate Sergio Perez, who was already injured at the start, seemed to be repaired in the pits, but was eventually forced to retire from the race.
However, Perez’s failure did not prevent the Red Bull team from winning the Constructors’ Championship ahead of schedule, six races before the end of the championship, putting Mercedes out of reach (the German stable’s drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were only fifth and seventh at the finish line). This is the sixth Constructors' Championship in history for the Bulls. Four were achieved between 2010 and 2013, when Sebastian Vettel dominated Formula 1. Another one - in 2022, already under Verstappen. Red Bull ranks sixth in the number of victories in the Constructors' Championship. More often the title was taken by Lotus (7 times), Mercedes and McLaren (8 times each), Williams (9) and Ferrari (16).
The failure of Sergio Perez also had a purely positive moment for Verstappen. The Mexican is the only one who retains a theoretical chance of overtaking Verstappen, but after his misfire the gap from the leader reached 177 points. This means that in just two weeks, at the Qatar Grand Prix, the Dutchman can win his third consecutive championship title. At the same time, it is possible that he will not even have to go to the start of the main Sunday race. All issues can be resolved in the Saturday sprint (in which the first eight riders receive points - from eight to one in descending order). Verstappen only needs to score three points to become unattainable for Perez. That is, even if the Mexican wins the sprint, he will finish at least sixth.
Japanese Grand Prix - 17th stage of the World Championship
eleven). Max Verstappen (Netherlands, Red Bull) - 1:30.58.421. 2 (3). Lando Norris (Great Britain, McLaren) - gap 19.387. 3 (2). Oscar Piastri (Australia, McLaren) - 36,494. 4 (4). Charles Leclerc (Monaco, Ferrari) - 43,998. 5 (7). Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain, Mercedes) - 49.376. 6 (6). Carlos Sainz (Spain, Ferrari) - 50.221. 7 (8). George Russell (Great Britain, Mercedes) - 57,659. 8 (10). Fernando Alonso (Spain, Aston Martin) - 1.14.725. 9 (14). Esteban Ocon (France, Alpine) - 1.19.678. 10 (12). Pierre Gasly (France, Alpine) - 1.23.155.
1. Verstappen - 400 points. 2. Perez - 223. 3. Hamilton - 190. 4. Alonso - 174. 5. Sainz - 150. 6. Leclerc - 135. 7. Norris - 115. 8. Russell - 115. 9. Piastri - 57. 10. Lance Stroll (Canada, Aston Martin) - 47.
1. Red Bull - 623 points. 2. Mercedes - 305. 3. Ferrari - 285. 4. Aston Martin - 221. 5. McLaren - 172. 6. Alpine - 84. 7. Williams - 21. 8. Haas - 12. 9. Alfa Romeo - 10. 10. Alpha Tauri - 5.
Red Bull won the Constructors' Championship ahead of schedule.