` (Image credit: FIA on Twitter)
The pouring rain in Suzuka could not drown out the championship celebration that ensued at the end of the 50 minute Japanese Grand Prix for the now two-time champion Max Verstappen.
After a two lap stretch began the race, the event was postponed due to very heavy rain and unsafe driving conditions to take the full 53 lap event that was scheduled to a 50 minute heat race in Japan. The first incident of the day took place on lap one after Carlos Sainz hydroplaned and went right side first into the wall which ended his day. From then on the initial 3 hour race window winded down until there were 50 minutes left with the time limit to have our second rolling start of the 2022 season.
Once the race restarted, Verstappen was able to pull away and win his 12th race of the year and his 6th win in the last seven races with a margin of victory of 27 seconds over his Red Bull Racing teammate, Sergio Perez.
Charles Leclerc was able to finish on the podium as well in third place even with a penalty assessed at the end of the race for cutting the final chicane on the last lap which dropped him to that position. With the points lost by dropping the position, it secured the championship title for Verstappen.
But, what is a race without a little controversy. During the cleanup from the accident of Sainz, Pierre Gasly passed within a few car lengths of on-track safety personnel and their equipment. Now this normally wound not be an issue in dry conditions but in wet conditions, paired with poor visibility, this created a very dangerous situation that harkens back to the incident with Jules Bianchi a few years ago in which he lost his life after impact with safety equipment. Hopefully this will be reviewed and measures will be put in place to endure this never happens again.
For Formula One, the series takes a couple weeks off before the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas on October 23rd. For more news and opinion in the world of open-wheel racing, stay tuned to Racing Refresh