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Verstappen gives verdict on post-Japan GP rule confusion

Max Verstappen has shared his opinions on the initial aftermath of the Japanese GP, when few people in the paddock knew whether or not he was officially World Champion.

Max Verstappen says that he was unfazed by the confusing nature in which he sealed in second World Championship title, but believes a 'middle ground' needs to be found with the regulations. The Red Bull driver took a dominant victory at the Japanese GP, initially finishing ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and teammate Sergio Perez. Many assumed that the shortened, rain-affected race would result in reduced points being awarded for the finishers, which would've resulted in Verstappen's title confirmation being delayed by at least one race. However, an unintentional loophole in the regulations meant full points were awarded for the race. Whilst this alone was not enough to secure Verstappen the championship, a post-race penalty for Leclerc's robust defence of second place demoted the Monegasque to third place, which gave Verstappen the points advantage needed to be champion. As the message gradually came through to Verstappen - and the double-checks were completed - it resulted in less-dramatic celebrations than what would normally be seen from a championship-deciding race. Speaking after the race, Verstappen was adamant that he was unfazed by the manner in which he took the title, given that post-race penalties would've affected the impact of the celebrations regardless. "To be honest, I don't mind that it was a little bit confusing, I find it actually quite funny because at the end of the day it's not going to change the result," Verstappen told media. "When I crossed the line, it [the original result] was not enough, even if you would give full points. So, in that scenario, it wouldn't have changed anything."

Verstappen: Complex rules need a middle ground

A wave of regulation updates were introduced for this season following the farcical nature of the washed-out 2021 Belgian GP, which ran for two laps behind the Safety Car. Changes included varying the number of points awarded based on how much of the race was completed, rather than simply awarding half-points. However, the wording of the rule changes allowed for full points to be awarded if the race officially finished, by reaching the chequered flag by running to the time limit. Technically, this means a race could still run for a couple of laps and award full points if it still finishes at the three-hour time limit mark. When commenting on the regulations, Verstappen sympathised with the rule-makers and admitted that a sweet spot would be difficult to achieve. "About the rules... These are really complex situations with the weather, and the amount of laps. Then of course, there's a difference between if you finish a race or the race gets red flagged early on, and then you can't continue," mused Verstappen. "I do think that if you don't write enough rules, it's not good. If you write too many rules. It's also not good. It's always really hard to find a middle ground I think."

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