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Max Verstappen secures his third consecutive world drivers’ championship in F1

Red Bull had a tale of two halves with Max Verstappen taking his third world title whilst Sergio Perez DNF'd from the Sprint Race

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Max Verstappen achieved his third consecutive world drivers title in Qatar after finishing P2 in the Sprint Race whilst his teammate retired after an incident. 

Verstappen and Red Bull
2023 F1 World Drivers Champion Max Verstappen celebrates with his team after the Sprint ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Qatar. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The 2023 season has been one of dominance from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. The RB19 has been unbeatable with the Singapore Grand Prix being the only race this year to be won by a non-Red Bull driver.

Sergio Perez has taken victory twice in 2023. But it is Verstappen who has broken records, scoring 10 consecutive race wins. Coming into the Qatar Grand Prix weekend, Verstappen only needed to outscore Perez by three points.

The Dutchman started the Sprint Race from fifth and finished P2 whereas Perez was forced to retire the race. The Mexican was involved in an incident with Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg, which handed Verstappen his third world championship.

Over the course of the season, Verstappen has led the championship from the first round in Bahrain. His lowest race finish was fifth in Singapore, which was the only time he didn’t finish on the podium. Even in Saudi Arabia, starting from 15th on the grid, Verstappen still managed to finish P2.

After going head-to-head with Mercedes in 2021 and Verstappen taking his first world championship that season, Red Bull have gone from strength to strength. In 2022, Verstappen won 15 races. This year, Red Bull as a team won the first 14 races and despite Singapore being a weaker track for them, the Milton Keynes team has bounced back. They won the Constructors’ Championship last time out in Japan and now Verstappen has become the 11th F1 driver to win three world titles.

Verstappen’s comments

Speaking after the race, Verstappen commented on his third world title. The Dutchman said:

“Yeah, of course, a fantastic feeling. It’s been an incredibly year, a lot of great races. Of course, super proud but also super proud of the job of the team.

“It’s just been so enjoyable to be a part of that group of people. To be a three-time world champion is just incredible. We’ll keep on pushing, try to do the best we can.

“Also today was quite an exciting race. I think it was a bit of a shame because of the Safety Cars. It was good. it was fun out there and of course, incredibly happy at the moment.”

Red Bull’s praise of Verstappen

After the race, Christian Horner, Team Principal of Red Bull, spoke about Verstappen’s season and his achievements. Horner said:

“It’s been by far the most dominant, so it’s come as no surprise. But to see Max join some of the great names we talked about earlier, Brabham, Senna, Piquet, Lauda, Sir Jackie Stewart, he’s in that bracket now.

“The way he’s driven this year has just been out of this world. I think you have to take a moment to reflect, got to be in the moment, and everything he’s done this year has just been phenomenal.

“And the team as well. The way they’ve galvanised and working so well together. Not just here but all the unsung heroes back at the factory across all the 22 departments that make up our team. This is a combination of that.”

Horner continued praising Verstappen and touched on the aspects of his character that helped him achieve a third world title. The Team Principal told Sky Sports F1 on the broadcast:

“Well that’s his make up and I think he is the most competitive driver that I’ve ever met. I think the determination he drives with, the passion, the heart, the commitment, and of course, the abundance of skill that he has, he’s up there with the very very best. Some of the greatest this sport has seen.

“I think that this season has just surpassed anything we’ve ever seen. We did a lot of winning with Sebastian [Vettel], but this is taking it to another level.

“He’s [Verstappen] only 26 and I think he’s still going to get better, still going to evolve. I think he’s still going to grow as a driver.

“I just think the self-belief and the self-confidence that he has in himself to go out and nail it, to go out and deliver. We’ve seen it in the wet, we’ve seen it on out laps, we’ve seen it in changing conditions. It’s quite outstanding and I think that for me is the biggest thing. His ability to be at one with the car and the confidence in himself is something that stands out.”

The rest of the season

There are five rounds of the 2023 season left. The next race is the US Grand Prix at COTA on Sunday 22nd October.

Headline image: GettyImages

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