Verstappen won his second F1 world title in 2022, setting a new record with 15 wins in a single season and a new total of 454 points, leaving him 146 ahead of Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc in second place.
Although Verstappen’s dominance saw him clinch the title with four races to spare, the Dutchman had feared his title chances would be in doubt by race four at Imola.
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It came after he was forced to retire in Bahrain and Australia due to a fuel pump problem, which saw him fall 46 points – nearly two race wins – behind Leclerc in the ranking.
Asked by Autosport if he could identify one area where he had really improved this year, Verstappen stressed the importance of scoring in every race and reminded himself that he couldn’t be wrong after early retirements.
“You know, when you have to fight for a title, you have to score points in every race as much as you can,” said Verstappen before lifting the F1 world championship trophy at the prize giving ceremony. FIA in Bologna last week.
“That’s why at the beginning of the year, it was very difficult to get these DNFs. I knew from that moment that I couldn’t afford any mistakes on my part, in case we had any retirements for some reason.
“You always try to be as clear as possible and to be as perfect as possible every weekend. That’s what I try to demand of myself every time I jump in the car.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, 1st, passes the Red Bull pit wall as he takes the win
Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images
The fashion for Verstappen’s 2022 title win stands in stark contrast to his first success in 2021, which came at the end of an intense year-long fight against Lewis Hamilton that went down to the final round of the season.
Hamilton and Mercedes have overlooked the championship battle this year, with Verstappen’s main challenge coming from Leclerc and Ferrari in the first half of the season.
But after the summer break, Red Bull shrugged off development stakes, allowing Verstappen to win nine of the last 11 races.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner felt Verstappen had “taken another step forward as a driver” into 2022 after the “heavyweight fight” against Hamilton last year.
“He’s driven with such maturity, with such poise this year, and he’s had massive wins under huge pressure,” Horner said.
“It’s only when you look back at the season, and we started doing that last week, when you think back to some of the races like Saudi or Miami or Montreal, there were some huge moments there.
“We didn’t have the fastest car at the start of the year. He kept us in contention a lot and just kept pushing, and drove with phenomenal precision and pace.
“When there was an opportunity to seize, he seized it with both hands.”