Max Verstappen picked his latest world championship as the best of his three in Formula 1 after clinching the title at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix sprint race.
Sergio Perez crashed out of the sprint in a three-car incident on lap 10 which confirmed the title for Verstappen, who said it was better than his triumphs in 2021 and 2022.
Though the Dutchman didn’t celebrate his coronation day with a win in the sprint race, denied by Oscar Piastri, he eased to victory in Sunday’s grand prix.
“This one is the best one,” Verstappen told the media. “I think the first one was the most emotional one, because that’s when your dreams are fulfilled in F1. But this one is definitely… It has been my best year.
“You know, consecutive wins and stuff like that, and the car itself has been probably in the best shape as well. So for me, this one is probably the one I’m most proud of because of consistency.”
When did Verstappen know he’d win the 2023 title?
Verstappen added there wasn’t a certain point that he knew the championship was secure, until Perez‘s Qatar sprint crash meant no driver could mathematically overhaul the Dutchman.
The 2023 Miami GP was certainly a turning point, with Verstappen starting ninth after a frustrating qualifying, Perez on pole and the race winner set to take the championship lead heading into the European leg of the season.
Verstappen drove like a man possessed and overtook his teammate for victory on lap 47, and the title hasn’t been in any doubt since.
The Monaco GP next time out also kicked off a run of five races where Perez missed Q3 to truly sink his championship ambitions. Still, Verstappen said it was only in Qatar that he felt sure of the championship.
“Well, not until this point, right?” Verstappen added. “But no, of course the momentum was growing and race after race the gap was getting bigger. So I was just looking at myself, trying to go through every single weekend trying to get the best out of it.
“That for me at that time is more important than dreaming about the title, because dreaming doesn’t really bring you anywhere. It’s about the effort and work you put in to try and achieve your goals.”