Max Verstappen did indeed finish second behind Oscar Piastri in the sprint race of the Qatar Grand Prix, but it was more than enough to secure his third world title in a row.
The 26-year-old Dutchman has been watching the other racers in the rear-view mirror of his Red Bull fire truck for quite some time and he enjoys a lead of 184 points over his nearest rival on the official driver’s standings.
According to the clever men with the calculators, it is now impossible for any of his opponents to overtake him.
Verstappen raced away with the world championship laurels for the first time in 2021, after which he underlined his status as a keen driver in 2022.
However, this year’s performance is the icing on a very impressive F1 cake.
“This title is undoubtedly my favorite. The first title was an emotional story, because then my big dream came true, but I am most proud of my 2023 season because it is such a consistent year,” said Verstappen.
He has already won 13 of the 16 races this year and the world title is already in the bag while there are still six races on the Grand Prix calendar.
“The performances exceeded my wildest dreams and I never thought that I was capable of such a thing. At the same time, it is incredible that our whole team can experience all these things together; I am indeed very proud.”
According to Christian Horner, Verstappen definitely counts among the sport’s big names.
“This is by far our best season and I think one can now speak of Max in the same breath as of Jack Brabham, Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda and Sir Jackie Stewart. Everything he has done behind the wheel of his race car this year has been simply phenomenal,” said the Red Bull team principal.
- Max Verstappen: 407 points
- Sergio Perez: 223 points
- Lewis Hamilton: 194 points
- Fernando Alonso: 175 points
- Carlos Sainz: 153 points
- Charles Leclerc: 135 points
- Lando Norris: 121 points
- George Russell: 120 points
- Oscar Piastri: 65 points
- Lance Stroll: 47 points.