Max Verstappen Red Bull

Red Bull have been fined $7 million for breaking Formula One’s financial rules, but will not have points deducted from their 2021 total. Photo by Toshifumi KitamuraI / AFP

WATCH: Verstappen’s surprise reaction to winning F1 world title

Max Verstappen was caught completely off-guard after unknowingly winning the F1 world championship for the second time.

Max Verstappen Red Bull

Red Bull have been fined $7 million for breaking Formula One’s financial rules, but will not have points deducted from their 2021 total. Photo by Toshifumi KitamuraI / AFP

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was declared Formula One world champion on Sunday after winning a dramatic rain-shortened Japanese Grand Prix.

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However, due to the dramatic nature of the result in a reduced race, coupled with new points legislation, the 25-year-old initially did not realise he had done enough to win the title.

Verstappen crossed the line first and he was then awarded the title when second-place finisher Charles Leclerc was given a five-second penalty, dropping him to third.

The result gave Verstappen an unassailable 113-point lead in the championship, making him only the third driver after Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel to clinch the title with four races to spare.

Watch the video below as a taken aback Verstappen reacts to the news:

MAX VERSTAPPEN HAS WON 12 OF 18 RACES THIS SEASON

Ferrari’s Leclerc finished the race second in front of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, but he was hit with a penalty after squeezing Perez wide and leaving the track in a late surge for the line.

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Verstappen was informed he had retained his title midway through the post-race TV interview, and even the driver himself was not sure if he had sealed the deal.

“It’s a crazy feeling of course as I didn’t expect it when I crossed the line,” said a shell-shocked Verstappen.

“Was it going to be half points? I didn’t know how many points I was going to get. I was happy with the race we had.”

The race got off to a chaotic start in heavy rain, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Williams’ Alex Albon exiting on the first lap prompting a safety care.

RESULTS AND CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER THE JAPANESE GRAND PRIX AT SUZUKA ON SUNDAY:

1. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 3hr 1min 44.004, 2. Sergio Perez (MEX/Red Bull) at 27.066sec, 3. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 31.763, 4. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine) 19.685, 5. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 40.326, 6. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin) 46.358, 7. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine) 46.369, 8. George Russell (GBR/Mercedes) 47.661, 9. Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams) 70.143, 10. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren) 70.782, 11. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren) 72.877, 12. Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin) 73.904, 13. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri) 75.559, 14. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas) 86.016, 15. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Alfa Romeo) 86.496, 16. Guanyu Zhou (CHN/Alfa Romeo) 87.043, 17. Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri) 88.091, 18. Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas) 92.523

Not classified: Carlos Sainz (ESP/Ferrari), Alexander Albon (THA/Williams)

Formula One standings after 18 of 22 races:

Drivers championship

1. Max Verstappen (NED) 366 pts (world champion), 2. Sergio Perez (MEX) 253, 3. Charles Leclerc (MON) 252, 4. George Russell (GBR) 207, 5. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) 202, 6. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) 180, 7. Lando Norris (GBR) 101, 8. Esteban Ocon (FRA) 78, 9. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 65, 10. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) 46, 11. Sebastian Vettel (GER) 32, 12. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) 29, 13. Pierre Gasly (FRA) 23, 14. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) 22, 15. Lance Stroll (CAN) 13, 16. Mick Schumacher (GER) 12, 17. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) 11, 18. Guanyu Zhou (CHN) 6, 19. Alexander Albon (THA) 4, 20. Nicholas Latifi (CAN) 2, 21. Nyck de Vries (NED) 2

Constructors

1. Red Bull 619 pts, 2. Ferrari 454, 3. Mercedes 387, 4. Alpine 143, 5. McLaren 130, 6. Alfa Romeo 52, 7. Aston Martin 45, 8. Haas 34, 9. AlphaTauri 34, 10. Williams 8