The Formula One paddock reacted to Max Verstappen’s second championship win, with some being more upbeat than others.

Indeed, Verstappen won after Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc received a five-second penalty at the end of the race, dropping him to third and elevating Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate, Sergio Perez, to second. Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto was outspoken about his driver’s penalty, believing it should not have been issued.

While the Italian team is still in shock, the rest of the paddock is ecstatic about the Dutchman’s championship double. Despite some confusion in the immediate aftermath of the race, Verstappen and the Red Bull team partied late into the Japanese night.

“I was still unsure whether it was full points, half points, or whatever,” Verstappen, 25, said after the race.

Drivers and teams react

Verstappen: “This is insane! Winning in Japan is truly unique. I’m really proud that we were able to do it here. When I crossed the finish line, I had no idea I was World Champion; there was a lot of confusion, but I found it quite amusing. The collaboration has been incredible. We persisted in pushing, believing, and improving the car.

“We made very few mistakes as a team; you can’t be perfect, but we came close in most of the races. Working with Honda has been incredible, and I owe a lot of gratitude to the team here at the track, back at the factory, and everyone involved with the Red Bull Powertrains division. Everyone has been working extremely hard and is extremely motivated. Checo has been an incredible teammate, and the Constructors Championship is now the sole focus.”

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez: “I am very proud of Max’s performance this season; he has grown as a driver. I was fighting with him at first, but about halfway through the year, he changed gears. He drove in some races in an unbelievable manner. It’s a huge day for the team, and doing it in Japan with a one-two is incredible. Hopefully, we’ll be able to secure the Constructors’ Championship for our team soon. That will be enormous.”

Red Bull team principal and CEO Christian Horner: “What an event! We weren’t sure we’d get full points until the end, but to finish like that is beyond our wildest dreams. Max was undeniably dominant. He has been all season, but he was driving on another planet, finishing nearly 27 seconds ahead of everyone else is an incredible effort that perfectly encapsulates his season. That is our 14th victory of the year, a team record, and demonstrates how he and the team have taken it to the next level at every race.

“Achieving this Championship is truly remarkable, and doing so in Japan with Honda makes it even more so. Checo has also had a fantastic run. His season has also been impressive. He is currently ranked second in the Championship, and we are all working hard to keep him there. Similarly, we are working hard to reclaim the Constructor Championship after an eight-year absence.”

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