Qatar GP: Max Verstappen says third F1 title the best

Red Bull driver finished second in Saturday's Qatar Grand Prix sprint race to clinch title with six rounds remaining

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Max Verstappen said his third consecutive Formula One drivers' world title triumph was "the one I am most proud of – the best."

The 26-year-old Dutchman, who was champion in 2021 and 2022, finished second behind McLaren's Oscar Piastri in Saturday's sprint race at the Qatar Grad Prix. His Red Bull teammate and only remaining title rival Sergio Perez crashed out of the race and the championship reckoning.

"This one is the best," he said, "I think the first one was the most emotional because that is when your dreams are fulfilled, but this is definitely my best year for consecutive wins and stuff like that and the car itself has been probably in the best shape as well.

"So, for me, this is the one I am most proud of because of the consistency."

Verstappen has won 13 of this year's 16 Grands Prix so far, seizing the title with six races to go – a rare measure of supremacy not achieved since seven-time Michael Schumacher won for Ferrari in 2002.

He is the 11th driver overall to win three drivers' titles and one of only five to win three in succession along with Juan-Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.

"It's something, of course, that I never even really dreamt of doing," he said. "It's a very proud moment for myself, for my family, my close family. I think everyone within the team I'm working with to be able to experience all of this together ... it's amazing."

Verstappen said that he had no plans to allow any celebrations of his third title to interfere with his plans to win Sunday's Qatar Grand Prix when he seeks to claim his 14th win in 17 races this year.

"It's going to be the same tomorrow," he said. "And when I go to the next race, I'll try to win again because we have a great car. I know that people around us are catching up maybe a little bit so it's going to be tight, but my mindset is the same.

"It's not like you suddenly go more risky, or get into any kind of battle ... I am pretty happy with what I am doing at the moment so I am going to carry on."

Updated: October 08, 2023, 5:45 AM