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Verstappen TWICE denied euphoria of winning title thanks to bungling F1 chiefs.. and his future might not be at Red Bull

, Verstappen TWICE denied euphoria of winning title thanks to bungling F1 chiefs.. and his future might not be at Red Bull

FOR the second year in a row, Max Verstappen was crowned world champion in unusual circumstances.

Last year, it was the controversial fall out from Michael Masi’s handling of the Abu Dhabi GP that left rival Lewis Hamilton feeling the outcome of the championship had been “manipulated”.

Max Verstappen was named world champion on Sunday… but not as he crossed the line

Verstappen celebrates with a kiss from girlfriend Kelly Piquet

This time it was because the rules – somewhat ironically drawn up by Masi after the bungled Belgian GP in 2021 – were misunderstood.

Not that he needs it – he flew home immediately after Japan – but Verstappen has been denied the euphoria of winning a title on both occasions.

He has also perhaps missed out on some of the respect too, for this season he has been magnificent and duly deserves the title for some incredible performances.

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I am sure there will be more titles in the coming years too, for Red Bull together with their new engine development with some help from Honda, look in an incredibly strong place.

But whether Verstappen becomes a five-six-seven or, dare I say it, eight-time world champion, will depend on his relationship with Red Bull.

For the time being, he’s clearly in the best team and as such, has signed a lengthy deal until 2028.

But will he stay with them for the duration? I am not too sure.

Let’s be honest, like in all sports, F1 is a fickle business and the best drivers want to be in the best team.

CASINO SPECIAL – BEST NEW CUSTOMER SIGN UP DEALS

I recently met with a source close to the Verstappen camp who told me that while they were all very satisfied with life at Red Bull, there was a growing feeling that both Verstappen and his father were getting closer to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

Maybe it is a coincidence. Wolff now lives in Monaco with his family, so too does Verstappen.

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Or could it be that both parties were both playing the long game?

Wolff has hinted that there would be a new deal for Hamilton, and that makes a lot of sense.

The Brit still has plenty to offer and there is no yet any indication they are able to produce a better car than Red Bull, so it would make sense for Verstappen too to stay where he is.

However, if the momentum shifts and Mercedes are again the ones able to produce the quickest car on the grid, then that could test Verstappen’s loyalties to Red Bull and the terms of his long-term contract.


TAKING THE MICK

MICK SCHUMACHER’S days in F1 could be numbered after another poor weekend for the Haas team.

The German – the son of seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher – had a crash during practice, which the team took a dim view of.

He also endured a miserable race that saw him finish in 17th place and out of the points.

I understand Haas are looking at options for replacing him next season and with only one other slot at Williams available – believed to be earmarked for American racer Logan Sargeant, then he could find himself without a drive for 2023.

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, Verstappen TWICE denied euphoria of winning title thanks to bungling F1 chiefs.. and his future might not be at Red Bull
Mick Schumacher wrecked his Haas car in Japanese GP practice


THAT’S RAD, CHAD

CONGRATULATIONS to Jamie Chadwick, who has been confirmed as W Series champion for 2022.

The Brit was sensational this season with five wins and one second-place in seven races.

Unfortunately, the series will not be travelling to the US or Mexico GPs as planned due to funding but they do plan to return for the 2023 season.

However, Chadwick, 24, is likely to move on from the championship and race in Indy Lights next season in the US.

, Verstappen TWICE denied euphoria of winning title thanks to bungling F1 chiefs.. and his future might not be at Red Bull
Jamie Chadwick celebrates after winning the W Series


TOM ON TOP

EXCELR8 Hyundai driver Tom Ingram has won the British Touring Car Championship for the first time after scoring two victories in a thrilling season finale at Brands Hatch.

The 29-year-old has been in contention for the title in six successive seasons but has been the bridesmaid on each of the previous occasions.

But he has now secured the most coveted prize in British motorsport with a top-class performance.


HAND OF BLOOD

LCR Honda rider Taka Nakagami will miss the Australian MotoGP as he recovers from a hand injury.

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Nakagami suffered the injury at Motorland Aragon and needed surgery to reconnect the tendons in his fingers.

However, instead of resting, he flew to Japan to take part in his home race against medical advice.

But in Japan, he found his gloves were filling with blood and soon realised he was unable to compete and had in fact done more damage.

He then underwent more surgery and now faces some enforced rest while his body recovers.


ALV ABOUT THAT

DUCATI’S Alvaro Bautista has opened up a 56 point lead in the World Superbike series over current champion Toprak Razgatlioglu.

Bautista’s win in Portugal on Sunday puts him in the lead with only three rounds to go.

Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea was in third place and is also in third in the championship, some 82 points behind Bautista.

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