Max Verstappen explains 'different emotions' of 2021 and 2022 titles, hints at early Formula 1 retirement
Max Verstappen speaks about his "different" but "beautiful" drivers' titles - and hints that he will be considering his Formula 1 future after his current contract; Verstappen's Red Bull deal ends in 2028, when he will be 31 years old
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 17/10/22 2:40pm
Max Verstappen has opened up on the "very different emotions" of his two Formula 1 title triumphs, admitting his 2022 domination has been more "enjoyable" than the fierce battle against Lewis Hamilton.
As opposed to 2021 when the championship went down to the last lap of the last race - contentiously won by Verstappen - this year the Dutchman has stormed clear and wrapped up his crown with four rounds to spare.
"Yeah, very different emotions," admitted Verstappen, 25, after he won the Japanese GP, his 12th victory from 18.
"You know, last year, all the way until the last race is probably the worst kind of feeling, going into that last race. But also because at the time, I don't think we were the quickest anymore, so that also doesn't help.
- Brundle slams 'unacceptable' F1 truck incident | 'Lessons not learned'
- Mercedes admit Japan mistakes after Russell's 'worst decision' jibe
- What now for Red Bull after F1 breach? Q&A on cost cap saga
"And this year, it's just been very, very different in emotions from the start, all the way through the year."
Verstappen and Hamilton were locked on points heading into the Abu Dhabi GP last year, and the Mercedes driver was leading up until the end when Verstappen pounced on fresh tyres in a controversial one-lap showdown.
"Both are beautiful," stated Verstappen. "Both are, at the end of the day, nice to experience because it's nice also really to have the pressure on and having to perform to your limit every single lap of the race.
"But not for too many years in a row. So, I was very happy with the year we had this time around."
Verstappen added on the differences: "Last year it was all really qualifying dependent, and that's how you would normally win a race.
"Now, even with some engine penalties, it was coming back to the front, it's really been an enjoyable year. And of course, a very special year, which will be very hard, I think, in the future to match from myself.
"That's why I think we really have to appreciate it and really enjoy it."
Could Verstappen retire from F1 early?
Verstappen, meanwhile, has indicated he will not be racing in F1 as long as some of his peers.
While Fernando Alonso is still starring in the sport at 41 and Hamilton at 37, Verstappen has told F1 he doesn't foresee as long a career - also hinting that he would consider his next move after the end of his Red Bull deal.
Verstappen's current contract expires at the end of 2028, when he will be 31 years old.
"I don't see myself driving until I'm 40 because I want to also do other stuff," Verstappen said.
"I'm having a lot of fun with what I'm doing right now and I'm still in F1 for a couple more years... I'm signed until '28.
"After that, it also depends how everything is going but I will probably try to do a few different kinds of racing because it's important also to try different things."
Verstappen did, however, add: "I really enjoy being part of this team for a long time and hopefully for a long time to come."
The drivers' championship may be over, but we have four spectacular races to finish the season - starting with the United States GP from Austin, Texas on October 21-23. Watch all the action live on Sky Sports F1.