From a long race stall, pit crews playing card games, and an unexpected World Champion crowning, the Japanese Grand Prix had it all.
If you watched the Japanese Grand Prix over the weekend, you know precisely how chaotic it was. From a first lap with no visibility, a long red-flag waiting period, to an unexpected World Championship win—the Japanese Grand Prix had it all.
But if you didn’t get to witness it or just want to relive its best moments (so do we), we’ve got you. Here are the crazy things from the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix.
Killing time at the McLaren garage
The rain poured down on Suzuka, giving way to a wet start. And while we fans love a wet race, the drivers? Not so much. And neither did race control, so after a lot of action within the first lap alone, Race Control threw out the red flag to stop the race.
The race was put on hold for more than an hour. So, everyone in the garages was left to their own devices. Some drivers were busy strategizing, while others were staying in the zone. Meanwhile, over at the McLaren garage, the pit crew was killing time playing UNO.
No, but seriously—we need to know who won this game.
Just Fernando things
As we said earlier, with over an hour of red-flag time to kill before the race restarted, some drivers were busy strategizing or staying in the zone. But Fernando Alonso, having started over 350 Grand Prix in his career, has been here before. So here he was, just being Fernando.
Whether Fernando was telling us the state of the visibility on track, or if he was simply being silly for the cameras, this was quite possibly the most entertaining bit of Formula 1’s race broadcast throughout the long wait for the race restart.
However, the two-time World Champion didn’t just come to the race to play. After pitting in the last few minutes of the race, Alonso’s fresh intermediates helped him climb the grid to finish in seventh. But, he nearly got to sixth, going for a literal photo finish against Sebastian Vettel.
Definitely one of the most entertaining drivers both on and off the track.
The best fans in the world?
While it was easy to sit at home and wait for the cars to come back out to race, it must have not been as easy doing so from the track itself. But under the rain, the fans at Suzuka prevailed. And not only did they brave the unfavorable weather conditions for over three hours on Sunday, they also showed up with some of the best looks.
This fan showed up to the track making sure that everyone knew who he was rooting for.
And finally, we have someone looking for a job. Any openings, Ferrari?
‘Til the end of the line
After the race finally restarted, we still had to wait until the last few minutes for the most exciting moments on the track. Fernando Alonso was chasing driver after driver to climb the pack. Esteban Ocon fended off Lewis Hamilton.
And, in a season-defining battle, Sergio Perez was trying desperately to get past Charles Leclerc for second place.
The battle went on until the final lap, where Charles Leclerc ended up going wide on the chicane. Although he crossed the line second, he was handed a five-second penalty. In the classification, Perez finished second, and Leclerc third.
And it proved to be the title-deciding moment of the race.
Champion? Not champion?
Other than a brilliant first lap to defend his pole position, Max Verstappen had a pretty easygoing race. After the restart, he pulled away comfortably and finished with a 27-second lead.
However, given the shortened race, Max was not fully certain if full points were to be awarded, and if the title fight would go on to the next race. Multiple people had to confirm it for him, including Jenson Button on the podium. But watching Verstappen’s confusion on the matter was possibly the most chaotic part of the Japanese Grand Prix.
I mean, I think it’s safe to say that most of us were equally as confused with the given circumstances. But when the fog had lifted, we all knew we had a World Champion for 2022.
And when it was confirmed, Verstappen and Red Bull were free to celebrate appropriately.
Once again, Max Verstappen was surprisingly crowned World Champion. But, as unexpected as the circumstances were, his title win was a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.
So, despite the anti-climatic nature of his victory, with all the twists and turns and side stories of the Japanese Grand Prix, this race was definitely the climax of the season.