Formula 1 is his kingdom and soon it will be his empire! The Red Bull genius, Max Verstappen, was proclaimed world champion for the third consecutive year, at only 26 years old, on Saturday the 7th during the sprint race of the Qatar Grand Prix.
«It's fantastic, I'm very proud of the team's work, I'm happy to be part of this group. Being world champion is incredible », he said.
At the Lusail circuit, the Dutch driver only needed three points to become champion and took advantage of the abandonment of his teammate Sergio Pérez, the only one who could catch him in the overall standings of the World Championship, who was hit by Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Alpine), to seal title.
Verstappen, third at the time of Pérez's accident, did not even need to wait for the end of the sprint race, in which he was second behind the Australian Oscar Piastri (McLaren).
And to crown the week, one day after becoming Formula 1 world champion, Verstappen won the Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday in the night race held at the Lusail circuit.
After leaving first position, Verstappen signed his 14th victory in 17 races this year, ahead of the McLarens of Australian Oscar Piastri and the British Lando Norris.
«The McLarens were again very fast today and made the race difficult for me. There are still races and I want to win them," said Verstappen, about the five grand prix that remain until the end of the season, in which he could 'burn' some records after becoming champion on Saturday during the sprint race.
Due to doubts about the degradation of the Pirelli tires in Lusail, the FIA took action and imposed on the teams the obligation to stop three times, in addition to not being able to use the same tires for more than 18 laps, under penalty of disqualification. in a race that counted 57.
Things soon began to happen: in the first corner the Mercedes of the British George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, who started from second and third position, collided, causing the second to abandon the car and the safety car to go out.
When Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, tried to overtake on the outside, Russell found himself blocked between his teammate and Verstappen. The two Silver Arrows spun.
This abandonment is a hard blow for Hamilton, who is fighting for second place in the World Cup with Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) and who had a good opportunity to reduce the difference because the Mexican left the last position after being sanctioned.
Fortunately for Hamilton, Pérez, who had a 29-point lead before the race, finished tenth after receiving three five-second penalties for not respecting the track limits, which prevented him from entering the points.