Max Verstappen clinched his third Formula 1 world championship on Saturday in Qatar.
The Red Bull racer secured the driver’s title at an exciting “sprint race” — a relatively new format designed to give the fans more action over the weekend — one day before the Qatar Grand Prix.
Verstappen finished 2nd place, with McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri taking a sensational sprint win. Verstappen will start the Qatar Grand Prix on pole position Sunday after qualifying first on Friday.
The achievement puts Verstappen, 26, in an elite club of F1 drivers who have won three championships — and just the fifth driver to win in a row, alongside Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
“A fantastic feeling. It’s been an incredible year. Lot of great races, and I’m also super proud of the job of the team. It’s just been so enjoyable to be part of that group of people,” Verstappen said in a post-race interview broadcast on ESPN. “And yeah, to be a three-time world champion is just incredible.”
Asked if he expects to win more championships, Verstappen said: “We’ll just see what happens. I’m enjoying the moment and hopefully we can keep this momentum going for a while.”
Verstappen is having one of the most dominant seasons in F1 history, armed with a car that he often likens to a “rocket ship.” He became the first driver in the sport’s history to win 10 races in a row.