Doha (AFP) – Max Verstappen (Red Bull) won a third consecutive Formula 1 world champion title at just 26 years old during the Qatar GP sprint on Saturday at the Lusail circuit, after the retirement of his teammate Sergio Pérez.
Published on : Modified :
The Dutchman only needed three points to be titled, and the Mexican driver was the only opponent who could still delay his coronation. He had to retire after being hit by Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Alpine).
Verstappen, third at the time of Pérez’s accident, ultimately did not even need to wait for the end of the sprint, which he finished in second position behind Australian Oscar Piastri (McLaren), to be crowned: he would have won the title even if he had retired before the end of the 19-lap race.
This outcome, awaited for weeks, rewards the almost perfect season of the Dutchman, who won 13 of the first 16 Grands Prix this season, including a record series of ten consecutive victories.
Aside from the Singapore street circuit, where he finished fifth in mid-September, Verstappen has always finished in one of the top two places this year and clinches his third crown with six races remaining in the season, equaling the mark by German legend Michael Schumacher in 2002.
The Red Bull driver, who had already offered the constructors’ title to his team in Japan two weeks ago, perfectly exploited the immense superiority of his RB19 car throughout the season, almost never making a mistake.
Verstappen, who took the record for consecutive victories in F1 at the beginning of September at Monza, on the land of great rival Ferrari, should break several more records in the coming weeks, such as that of the greatest number of points scored in a season or of the largest gap with his first pursuer.