Verstappen is Victorious: The Mixed Views

The Formula 1 2022 season is coming to a close with only two more races remaining. This period in the F1 calendar is generally the most exhilarating, intense and competitive portion of the year – but this time round, things are quite different. The driver’s and constructor’s championships have already been decided at this stage, and therefore the normal thrill and suspense of competition is absent. Many have voiced their irritation with these circumstances, but is it fair to deny Max Verstappen praise and accolade when he has rightfully earned his second title so easily? 

Over the weekend, the Mexican Grand Prix took place, and in case you missed it, Red Bull were victorious in securing Verstappen with his 14th win of the season. This win would award Max with the title of most wins in a season by any driver, ever! A new record in the world of Formula 1. With the rate at which Max is winning and dominating his races, there is hardly a doubt that this record will stop here. Verstappen has been an overpowering figure in majority of the races this season, collecting race wins as if it were light work. This has allowed him to prematurely be crowned as world champion for the 2022 season, as he is simply too far ahead in points for any other driver to attempt challenging him. Currently standing at 416 points, the driver seems to be untouchable.

Even though it may seem such achievements would easily go to a sportsman’s head, especially being somewhat young in the sport, Verstappen appears not to be too concerned about the extent of his accomplishments in the realm of F1. After his victory in Mexico, Verstappen commented in an interview to BBC Sports that he “was never really interested in statistics”, and would simply like to “just live in the moment.” Within a sport that harbours many large egos, such an attitude towards winning is seen to be refreshing. Although, Verstappen is not always admired by the masses for his attitude, having accumulated quite a few critics throughout the years along with an abundance of adoring fans.

‘Anti-Max’ fans have become more common in the past year due to the racer’s dislike towards the media outlets. His serious demeanour and somewhat ‘aggressive’ tactics on the race circuits are not favourable to some. Although it is fairly normal to honour rivalry and pick favourites within competitive sports, a portion of the F1 community is particularly vocal about their dislike towards Max. It is unknown as to whether this may be due to the driver’s personality and like-ability factor, or perhaps to all his continuous victories. If you were to ask an Anti-Max fan about the events of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021, you will however be roped into a very passionate conversation (or perhaps a lecture) upon why they dislike Verstappen so very much. 

In summary, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021 was the last race of the F1 season which would ultimately decide if Hamilton or Verstappen would take the world championship title. The emotions of every fan and spectator were running wild, as the stakes had never been higher. Hamilton had been leading the race for over 50 laps, but after a safety car twist, Hamilton’s 10+ second lead on Verstappen disappeared, as the FIA made the shocking and very controversial decision to allow Verstappen to drive right behind Hamilton on fresher tyres. This allowed Max to take his first championship title, in a rather unsettling way. Many felt Hamilton was robbed of the victory due to an inappropriate call by the FIA, but others seemed to feel that the results were justified as Max was the rightful winner of the season. Almost a year later and the controversy still remains. I would definitely not suggest bringing this topic up at a dinner party with fellow F1 fans, as there’s a slight chance you may leave there with less friends!

Even though some may deny Max the full congratulations for his 2021 World Championship win, there’s no denying his dominance this season. Max has consistently been the front runner all year, proving that his previous championship win was not an accident, but rather deserved on his part. The 2022 World Champion may already be decided, but I can guarantee there to be no shortage of drama and spectacle within these last two races. I’ll certainly be watching, the question is will you?


Photo: Jose Pablo from Unsplash

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