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Max Verstappen

Verstappen did not win the title in Qatar - the crucial blow came in Miami

Max Verstappen's fatal blow against Sergio Perez's title hopes came way back in Miami in May. Since then, it's just been a matter of time.

Verstappen Qatar
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To news overview © XPBimages

While the record books will say that Max Verstappen won the 2023 Formula 1 World Drivers' Championship in the Qatar Sprint race, he did not.

In effect, he won it on Lap 48 at Turn 1 in Miami when he scythed past Sergio Perez to win from ninth of the grid as Perez's title dreams crumbled faster than a high-rise building being demolished.

That move was Verstappen in effect telling Perez: 'Yeah, alright you've had your fun here, now I'm going to walk away with my title if you don't awfully mind'.

No-one, perhaps not Verstappen, could have foreseen the run of 10 straight wins that followed that propelled to the legend status of triple World Champion.

There is something about being a three-time World Champion, just something different that separates the outstanding title winners from the true all-time greats. Perhaps it is that cusp between two and three titles.

Equally key from Verstappen was the learning he put in during his fruitless chase of Perez in Azerbaijan.

Dropping back with second secure, he put in the effort to learn about his RB19 machine, knowledge that has proved oh so vital as he has unleashed himself to devastating effect.

The question now is, just how far can Verstappen go? He's the favourite to win the 2024 and 2025 titles given the stable regulations before the 2026 reset, but the Dutchman is not overly fussed about any of that.

When he is ready to hang his F1 helmet up, and that press release from Red Bull drops, he'll let us know in his own way - just as he has conquered the world three times and usurped the 'House of Hamilton.'

F1 is now the 'House of Verstappen.'

To legendary combinations such as Clark and Lotus, Senna and McLaren, Schumacher and Ferrari, Hamilton and Mercedes, we must now add Verstappen and Red Bull.

Article continues below table.

Three-time Formula 1 World Champions

Driver Title years
Sir Jack Brabham 1959, 1960, 1966
Sir Jackie Stewart 1969, 1971, 1973
Niki Lauda 1975, 1977, 1984
Nelson Piquet 1981, 1983, 1987
Ayrton Senna 1988, 1990, 1991
Max Verstappen 2021, 2022, 2023

What does Verstappen make of his legacy?

"I find it always a tricky one because I'm not in Formula 1 to leave a legacy in a way," Verstappen told media including RacingNews365.

"I'm here to win and I'm here to try to do the best I can and try to enjoy the moment with the people who helped me achieve these things.

"That's, for me, way more important than trying to leave a legacy.

"But yeah, it's something that I never thought was possible, to be on that list, when you see those names, you're like: 'Wow, that's incredible', what these people have achieved in their careers and now you're alongside them.

"It is, of course, an amazing feeling.

"[My future] depends a lot also on the package, right? That's how Formula 1 works.

"Personally, I'm still young even though I'm already in F1 for a while, I have quite a few more years in me to be able to operate at my best.

"But, we'll see how long that is. To be honest, I think it's more about how long I want to be here. That's different."

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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