Max Verstappen’s second Formula One world championship was very different from the first. He was more dominant and less controversial.
Although the 25-year-old Red Bull driver is favored to finish third in 2023, he will likely face a greater challenge than in 2022.
The Dutchman never had it so great, returning from two retirements in the initial three competitions to pivot a massive 46-point deficit and finish with a record 15 triumphs from 22 grand Prix
He has ever scored more points in a season (454), and nine of his victories have not come from pole position. From 14th place on the grid, Belgium’s victory may have been the most satisfying of all.
However, the initial one will always be more moving,” he stated.
In contrast to 2021, when he entered the final race in Abu Dhabi tied with Mercedes’ seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen won his second title with four races remaining.
This time, however, there was a sense of inevitability as Hamilton, 37, endured his first season without a victory and finished a career-low sixth overall. Much of that first title was due to a contentious late change to the safety car procedure.
The fans lapped it up, with races sold out and seeing figures taking off.
There were memorable moments, including the spectacular crash of Chinese rookie Guanyu Zhou’s Alfa Romeo at Silverstone, where it flipped upside down and over the tyre wall, ripping off the roll hoop but leaving him unharmed.
With 17 wins and five one-two finishes, Red Bull won its fifth constructors’ title and ended Mercedes’ record-setting streak of eight consecutive victories.
The team title won a day after billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz passed away was also bittersweet.
Red Bull was also punished for exceeding the budget cap in 2021, which was a big talking point. However, they have a great car to build on next year and stability with Sergio Perez and Verstappen from Mexico.
Mercedes was at sea with a “porpoising” car when it made a wrong turn, but George Russell won his first race in Brazil with a one-two victory.
“I think we will be back in a more potent form next year — hopefully winning races on merit and fighting for the championship,” stated team boss Toto Wolff.
In the first year of a major aerodynamic rule change meant to make racing closer and more exciting, Ferrari got off to a strong start, but their hopes of winning their first title since 2008 vanished.
Despite Carlos Sainz taking his first Grand Prix victory, they suffered from driver errors, strategy errors, and a lack of reliability after Charles Leclerc won two of the first three races.
In November, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto resigned after the team finished as distant runners-up, still a significant improvement over the previous two seasons without a win.
He will be replaced by Frederic Vasseur next season, the Frenchman moving from Sauber-run Alfa Romeo as Equation One gave the managerial merry-go-round a hefty push post-season.
Andreas Seidl replaced Vasseur at Sauber and Andrea Stella, who began his career at Ferrari, took Vasseur’s place at McLaren. Williams’ principal Jost Capito also resigned.
As a result of the changes, six of the 10 teams have changed managers within a year—Aston Martin and Alpine, which is owned by Renault, did so in January and February, respectively.
There will be a record number of 23 races next year—24 if China is replaced—and the debut of a Las Vegas Saturday night spectacle.
Sebastian Vettel, who has won the world title four times, won’t be there because the German retired after his last race with Aston Martin.
After another difficult year at McLaren, Australian Daniel Ricciardo also left the team. His teammate Oscar Piastri took his place after the team won a contract dispute with Alpine, which is owned by Renault.
Mick Schumacher, son of seven-times title holder Michael, will be one more truant in the wake of losing his Haas seat to individual German Nico Hulkenberg while Canadian Nicholas Latifi bowed out at Williams.
Also said goodbye was Ross Brawn, who won titles with his own team and went on to become the managing director for motorsports for Formula One.