A dominant display from Verstappen sealed the deal despite Red Bull retiring twice during the race.
Red Bull Racing has secured its sixth Constructors' Championship following Max Verstappen's dominant win at the Japanese Grand Prix. The McLarens in second and third tried to cut Verstappen off, but he remained ahead of both and disappeared into the distance.
Both Red Bull and Verstappen mathematically ruled all other teams out of both championships, with Perez being the only other racer still in the running for the Drivers' Championship. It's highly unlikely, however. Verstappen only needs to beat Perez by three points or more in the next points-scoring race this coming weekend in Qatar.
Verstappen needs to score three more points than Perez in the next race, and the championship will be his. That means the Flying Dutchman can win the championship during the Sprint race on Saturday and not Sunday's Grand Prix, which would be a pity. We hope 'Checo' Perez gets close enough so the deciding race rolls over to the actual Grand Prix.
Now that the Constructors' and Drivers' Championships are all but settled, we can move on to the rest of the field. The McLaren duo joined Max Verstappen's podcast (otherwise known as the post-race winner's cooldown room, which took a break last weekend), and Oscar Piastri made his debut on the podium, becoming the first driver in six years to land a podium in his rookie season. The last driver to do so was Lance Stroll.
While Lando Norris's talent is undeniable, you have to pause and admire Piastri's performance this year. He's a rookie and currently in ninth place in the standings. And let's not forget that McLaren's racing department only recently remembered who it was and finally built a Formula 1 car faster than the road-legal 750S.
McLaren also ensured Piastri's presence in its car in the coming years and signed a long-term contract with him before the start of the weekend. For the record, AlphaTauri (or whatever it will be called next year) also confirmed that Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo will retain their seats. Despite an epic debut and three impressive races, Liam Lawson will seemingly return to his gig as Red Bull's reserve driver.
The main battle now is for second and third in the Constructors' and Drivers' Championships. Mercedes is looking likely to take second place. Ferrari has been in top form lately, but Mercedes has been more consistent, with both drivers finishing in the points more often. Still, there is only a 20-point gap between the two, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
Aston Martin is in real trouble. It started the season strong, but its upgrade packages did nothing to improve performance. Lance Stroll is far less predictable than Fernando Alonso, which means it has dropped to within attacking distance of McLaren.
Aston Martin has 221 points, and McLaren is 49 points behind. If Norris and Piastri can maintain this momentum, and they've proven they can, McLaren will end the season in fourth, one spot higher than the team finished last year. Its upgraded car is an absolute rocket and the closest thing to RB19 out there.
Sergio Perez had a terrible weekend. We don't like being negative about drivers because we can't do what they can in those cars. Still, Perez went all rookie and caused nothing but chaos. To be fair, the initial damage wasn't his fault, as the start was rather chaotic, but the blame for the subsequent bashing lies solely with him. As a result, his position in second place is in danger.
Red Bull had to retire a car for the first time this season. You know Red Bull is done with your BS when it calls you in after destroying two front wings. It then seriously sent Perez back out to serve a time penalty, only to retire him a second time thereafter. It was also sad for the fans, who came out in masses for Honda. Three of the four Honda-powered vehicles finished the race, which means a lot, especially when the Japanese brand is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Checo's antics put him within attacking distance for Lewis Hamilton, who is now 33 points behind Perez's 223. Sir Lewis Hamilton is on fire right now, and we're coming up to a few tracks where he has a history of doing well, particularly Interlagos, which is technically a home race for the honorary Brazilian citizen.
Red Bull may have aligned itself with Ford, but it still has close ties with the Japanese brand. And even though Honda eventually pulled out of F1 as an official supplier, it will return in 2026 as the works engine supplier for Aston Martin. Basically, if you drive any kind of enthusiast Honda (or even an Accord, for that matter), be it a S2000, an NSX, or a brand-new Civic Type R, you can hold your head a bit higher today.
"Once again, it was a phenomenal performance from the team. I have been saying it all year, but really, this kind of season would be impossible without the hard work that goes on behind the scenes from all the different departments both back at Milton Keynes and here at the track," said Christian Horner, CEO and team principal of Red Bull. Only a Red Bull driver can win it now so there will be more celebrations to come in what can only be described as a monumental season in the team's history. Ichiban Red Bull Racing. Arigato Japan!"