Like father Like son. In this case, the proverb can be changed to like the father-in-law, like the son-in-law. Yes, Max Verstappen matched Nelson Piquet, the father of his girlfriend Kelly, at the Qatar GP, the 18th date of the 74th season of Formula 1 experienced by Star+ (excluding Mexico). The Dutchman, the overwhelming dominator of the tournament, finished second in the sprint and secured his third consecutive crown.
In conquest, the Red Bull driver became three times world champion, like the Brazilian (1981, 1983, and 1987), and has one more detail to imitate his father-in-law: he dedicated himself to a Saturday. Piquet achieved his three titles that day of the week, the first is the one that still hurts Argentina: that remembers the Las Vegas GP, held in the parking lot of the Caesars Palace hotel, where the native of Rio won the duel against Carlos Reutemann.
Verstappen’s expected conquest will surprise no one. The son of Jos conquered everything in 2023, so he reached the 18th round (race 17 after the cancellation of the Emilia-Romagna GP) with only one driver with a mathematical chance (and no one from practice) to stop his conquest: Checo Pérez, his partner at Red Bull. The difference that Max achieved in his RB19 was severed from the remaining 19 drivers, including the Mexican. The numbers of the three-time champion speak volumes: 13 wins in 16 contested races, with a historic record of 10 in a row. More? He led, up to and including the Japanese GP, 712 of the 962 laps made that year, that is, 74%. Bestial.
The difference he reached was so great that he didn’t have to wait for the Qatari Grand Prix competition because Losail had a sprint race and he closed it there (he was sixth enough, as long as Checo. won). “I want to achieve it at the first possible moment and it will be on Saturday,” the Dutchman expected. And he obeyed. The second place he achieved was enough for him and in the middle of the short competition he had the title in his pocket before leaving the player in Guadalajara.
Many have wondered how far Verstappen will go in history. So far, in addition to his father-in-law, he has equaled the number of titles of Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, and Ayrton Senna. The next goal is to overtake Alain Prost, a four-time champion. And then it enters the podium, consisting of Juan Manuel Fangio (5), Lewis Hamilton, and Michael Schumacher, both with seven.
With the powerful Red Bull, which aims to maintain its dominance for at least two more seasons (in 2026 the engine change will come and it will be shuffling and giving again), Verstappen’s door is open. In addition, at his young age, he is just 26 years old which he returned on September 30. His contract with the energy drinks team will expire at the end of the 2028 World Cup, he will be 31. With examples of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, with extensive and long careers, the future of the Dutchman is open to surpass all records. He is only five successes away from reaching Sebastian Vettel on the third step of the historic podium of the most winners. Of course, in the middle there was a statement from Helmut Marko, a strong man of the Austrian team from a couple of months ago: “I don’t see Max’s career lasting as long as that of Fernando Alonso and when the fun or pressure stops. lost, he goes home.”
So far his hunger has not stopped. Even an early sentence to the crown will ease his desire to win all the remaining races. And the first thing he will look for as the new three-time champion is Losail this Sunday, to complete his party. “It’s amazing. An amazing year, with many races. I’m very proud of the work done by the team, I want to thank a lot of people… The three-time world champion is unbelievable. “I’m going to keep pushing in the future and try to do my best,” said Max before releasing his celebration.