Max Verstappen on verge of F1 title after Japanese GP win as he celebrates with special 'kiss' trophy | The Sun

MAX VERSTAPPEN celebrated his win at the Japanese Grand Prix with a special "kiss" trophy as he put one hand on his THIRD world title.

The victory also gave Red Bull back-to-back Constructors' Championships.

Verstappen can clinch the drivers title as early as the sprint shootout in Qatar on October 7, the day before the Sunday's full Grand Prix.

The F1 star's triumph in Japan marked a return to winning ways having finished fifth last time out at the Singapore GP as Ferrari's Carlos Sainz picked up his first win of the year.

When standing on the podium the Dutchman was presented with a unique "kiss me" trophy designed by race title sponsor Lenovo.

After being handed with the award, Verstappen planted a kiss on it which saw it light up with the colours of the Dutch national flag.

Verstappen, 25, had a tough start to the race as he fought off both McLarens in his Red Bull car and claimed his 13th win this season.

The rival team also had a successful race, finishing in the remaining podium places.

Brit Lando Norris claimed the second spot while team-mate Oscar Piastri finished in third.

It was a less successful race for the Mercedes' British drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

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The pair finished back in fifth and seventh, although they did advance a couple of spots from their starting grid places.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc took fourth.

Verstappen could be heard praising the Red Bull team for building a "rocketship" on the team radio as he passed the chequered flag.

He said: "You can all be very proud. Everyone here and back in the factory, what a rocketship we’ve built"

After finishing, Verstappen was thrilled and claimed that the race was "straightforward".

He said: "It's been an unbelievable weekend. To win here was great here, the car was working well on every compound.

"Also to win the constructors is great, I'm proud of everyone, we're having an incredible year, very proud of everyone.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner hailed Verstappen's title claim.

He said: "It's been the most amazing race and year for us.

"It's a testimony to the men and women in the team, the partners. It's a collection of everyone doing their bit to help the team.

"Max is on another level at the moment, today was an incredible performance."

Second-placed Norris did suggest that McLaren are closing the gap to Red Bull.


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After finishing, he said on the team radio: "We're coming for Red Bull!"

There were five drivers that failed to finish the race in Japan, such asValtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll, Logan Sargeant and Alex Albon.

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