Formula One Power Rankings: Japanese Grand Prix

Formula One has its World Champion for the 2022 season but the Japanese Grand Prix had plenty more to offer than Max Verstappen's second crown.

It was a controversial weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix, with rain disrupting not only the race but Friday's practice sessions, and the FIA coming under further scrutiny for its handling of an incident on lap one.

However, it was Max Verstappen's crowning moment as he wrapped up the championship officially becoming a two-time World Champion.

Last week's rankings are in brackets.

1. Max Verstappen - Red Bull Racing (1)

It was always coming but Max Verstappen's crowning moment was outshone by a plethora of incidents at Suzuka. However, that wasn't to say Verstappen didn't put on a brilliant performance all weekend.

Performing consistently across the wet and dry practice sessions before putting it on pole in qualifying the only black mark on Verstappen's record ahead of race day was a reprimand from the stewards with one of the McLarens.

But on Sunday Verstappen's performance was unparalleled finishing 27 seconds ahead of his closest rivals even offering to pit with two minutes to go to attempt the fastest lap.

2. Charles Leclerc - Ferrari (2)

Charles Leclerc was caught up in one of the most interesting battles of race day going toe to toe with the other Red Bull for most of the race and almost coming away with second place sewn up.

If it weren't for one moment going into the last corner where Leclerc went off track and as a result was given a five-second penalty relegating him to third on the podium for what was an incredible drive in the wet.

3. Sergio Perez - Red Bull Racing (4)

In back-to-back weeks Sergio Perez has put together a brilliant performance securing another podium finish for the Mexican. Just 0.4 seconds off pole, Perez had to settle for a second-row start but he made the most of his circumstances staying out of the chaos of the initial start.

When it came to the shortened race Perez and Leclerc went head to head with Perez managing his tyres better than the Monagusque driver and gaining on him in each of the closing laps. While a five-second penalty to Leclerc ultimately decided Perez's fate, there was no questioning that he was deserving of the second-place finish.

4. George Russell - Mercedes (3)

It was a relatively tame weekend for George Russell and Mercedes, looking most comfortable in drying conditions on Friday in Free Practice 2, Russell was just short on Saturday qualifying in eighth.

That was where he stayed ultimately, stuck behind Fernando Alonso and unable to find a gap in wet conditions to pull off an overtake, Russell was stuck outside the top five for a second consecutive week.

5. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes (7)

After a disappointing week in Singapore, Lewis Hamilton looked far more comfortable in Japan, however, the Mercedes car struggled with consistency. Lining up sixth on the grid, Hamilton was within touching distance of the podium.

Ultimately his streak of missing the podiums post the summer break continued denied the opportunity to attack Perez and Leclerc due to a masterful performance from Ocon.

6. Carlos Sainz - Ferrari (5)

Carlos Sainz may have crashed out on lap one due to aquaplaning but the Japanese Grand Prix wasn't a complete disaster for the Spaniard. Putting together three very tidy laps in qualifying, Sainz started third on the grid and got off to a decent start but with no visibility and standing water on the track he was the unfortunate victim of the weather at Suzuka.

7. Lando Norris - McLaren (6)

One of the few drivers to get lucky from the rolling start to resume the race following the red flag was Lando Norris who after dropping back three places on the initial start profited off pitting with the bulk of the pack and swapping to the intermediate tyre compound.

It didn't do much to advance Norris up the grid however it did get him right back where he started in 10th and it was where he finished securing his 14th finish in the points for the season.

8. Esteban Ocon - Alpine (11)

Esteban Ocon came back firing after his DNF in Singapore starting fifth on the grid after a solid qualifying session and reminding fans that he's still one of the best drivers in wet conditions on the grid.

Defending to return Alpine to fourth in the constructors' championship Esteban Ocon kept Lewis Hamilton at bay for the entire race, managing to find a way to squeeze the other out of position multiple times without drawing the ire of the stewards.

9. Sebastian Vettel - Aston Martin (13)

The Japanese Grand Prix felt like the first big farewell for Sebastian Vettel from Formula One but the four-time World Champion reminded everyone that he's still got it no matter the car.

Getting into Q3 started ninth on the grid but managed to avoid much of the early chaos, however, once the race resumed Vettel was quick to get the car into P6 and that was where he stayed holding off Alonso and Russell and getting Aston Martin its second sixth place finish in two weeks.

10. Fernando Alonso - Alpine (10)

Fernando Alonso always has a plan and while qualifying didn't put him in the ideal position to secure Alpine two top-five finishes, his 351st race certainly went better than the milestone in Singapore.

Attempting to attack Vettel while also holding off Russell for most of the race, Alonso put in the hard yards for a long stretch and was almost rewarded for it managing to shake the Mercedes off his tail and finishing 0.001 seconds behind the Aston Martin.

11. Daniel Ricciardo - McLaren (9)

Just missing out on Q3 in qualifying, Daniel Ricciardo got a jump on the middle of the pack at the start rocketing up three places in zero visibility.

Following the red flag Ricciardo got off to a good start but with the team choosing to pit Norris first rather than double stacking, the Australian lost a massive amount of time with other drivers managing to warm the new set of tyres up quickly. The Australian had to settle with where he started finishing two seconds behind his McLaren teammate.

12. Pierre Gasly - Alpha Tauri (8)

Caught up in the most controversial moment of the Japanese Grand Prix, Pierre Gasly was constantly playing catch up, starting in the pitlane and forced to pit after the Alpha Tauri car collected debris following Sainz's crash and then received a 20-second drive-through penalty following the restart of the race for speeding under red flag conditions.

Gasly ultimately finished in 18th, trying to catch Schumacher and Zhou but still 10 seconds off the pace following the penalty.

13. Lance Stroll - Aston Martin (12)

With possibly one of the best starts of the season, Lance Stroll picked the perfect line to slingshot himself into points contention before the race being red-flagged.

Unfortunately for Stroll and Aston Martin, another double points finish wasn't on the cards, with the Canadian struggling to keep the pace following the resumption of the race and the conditions clearing.

14. Valtteri Bottas - Alfa Romeo (14)

Valtteri Bottas' DNF streak might be long over but his streak of finishing outside the points continued at Suzuka with a 15th-place finish. Bottas continued to look comfortable in the car, however, it simply doesn't have the speed to advance up the grid but he proved once again that it will be a chore for even the top teams cars to pass him.

15. Zhou Guanyu - Alfa Romeo (18)

A rookie driver rarely scores the fastest lap at a Grand Prix but despite Zhou Guanyu and Alfa Romeo's woes this season he notched an achievement that even Verstappen and Vettel cannot claim.

The fastest lap came off a risk to pit for new intermediate tyres late in the race to chase down the pack with many drivers dealing with high degradation on their old tyres. The risk didn't pay off with Zhou finishing outside the points and unable to earn the bonus point for the fastest lap but the rookie driver proved he's willing to take risks if there's even the slightest chance to get the team back in the points.

16. Mick Schumacher - Haas (16)

Few drivers can say they lead a Grand Prix but Mick Schumacher can, even if it only lasted 20-seconds. At his first appearance at the Japanese Grand Prix Mick Schumacher was all over the place crashing in free practice one resulting in him missing the second practice session while the Haas mechanics repaired the car.

Then he out-qualified his teammate and looked to be in a good position when the race resumed only to be kept out on the extreme wet tyres for an excessive amount of time resulting in the second-year driver dropping from first to 10th before the team brought him in. Schumacher and Haas will be asking themselves what if for the next few days with a points finish certainly in the realm of possibility but instead Schumacher was relegated to 17th at the end of the race.

17. Alex Albon - Williams (15)

Just missing out on Q2 Alex Albon was not in an ideal position to start the race on Sunday with 15 cars out in front and plenty of spray coming off the track. However, Albon initially navigated the start well before the hydraulics of his car failed to result in a DNF, his second in as many weeks.

18. Yuki Tsunoda - Alpha Tauri (19)

Aside from clear frustration with brake issues during qualifying, Yuki Tsunoda was all smiles at his first home Grand Prix fighting hard for a points finish at Suzuka.

Unfortunately for Tsunoda, he wasn't able to finish inside the points, however despite the lack of DRS due to the wet conditions, Tsunoda was able to pull off an overtake on Bottas down the straight in front of the main grandstand, in what was one of the most entertaining moments of the 22-year-old's race.

19. Kevin Magnussen - Haas (17)

Kevin Magnussen's streak outside the points since the summer break continued this week with a 14th-place finish coupled with a disappointing performance during qualifying.

Unlike his teammate, Schumacher Magnussen couldn't find the pace in the wet or the dry at Suzuka and struggled to keep up with Tsunoda's Alpha Tauri by the end of the race, finishing 11 seconds behind him.

20. Nicholas Latifi - Williams (20)

Back to 20th in the World Drivers Standings following his first haul of points for the season Nicholas Latifi found himself in ninth place and held onto it for dear life managing to defend against both McLarens for most of the race.

21. The FIA

There wasn't anyone that could have screwed up more during the Japanese Grand Prix than the FIA and race control who allowed marshalls and a recovery vehicle out onto the track despite there being zero visibility and cars still driving at over 100kph.

It was a situation that had everyone talking, especially when the FIA seemed unable to understand the severity of the incident and attempted to blame Gasly for the speed he was driving at despite the recovery vehicle already being on track long before the red flag was shown.

It was a shameful moment for the FIA and Formula One with many fans pointing out that we could have seen a repeat of Jules Bianchi's crash in 2014.