Max Verstappen was crowned Formula 1 World Champion for the third time as a result of the Sprint at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix. We take a look at the facts and statistics from Verstappen’s latest title win!
Header image: © Andrew Balfour
Max Verstappen was crowned World Champion in unique circumstances at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix. He became the first driver to win the title as a result of a Sprint event. Verstappen required just three points in the race and finished as runner-up, picking up seven points. His title win was already confirmed before the end of the Sprint as his only title rival – team-mate Sergio Perez – crashed out of the race.
THE EIGHTH TITLE WON ON A SATURDAY
It’s unusual for a driver to win the title on a Saturday – but Verstappen is not the first to do so. 2023 is the eighth time in total that a championship has been decided on a day other than a Sunday. Juan Manuel Fangio was first to do so at the 1955 British Grand Prix. Jack Brabham, Graham Hill and Keke Rosberg are among the other drivers to have won titles on Saturdays, in 1959, 1962 and 1982 respectively.
Nelson Piquet won all three of his titles on a Saturday. The Brazilian became World Champion for the first time on a Saturday at the 1981 Caesars Palace Grand Prix and won his second title at the 1983 South African Grand Prix, which was also run on a Saturday.
Piquet’s third and final title win came at the 1987 Japanese Grand Prix, the first F1 race held at Suzuka. On the Saturday, a crash for title rival Nigel Mansell forced him to withdraw from the Grand Prix due to injury. His withdrawal confirmed Piquet’s status as 1987 World Champion on the day before the Suzuka race took place.
VERSTAPPEN IS THE FIFTH DRIVER TO WIN 3 TITLES IN A ROW
Max Verstappen is the 11th driver to have won three World Championship titles during his Formula 1 career. He is only the fifth to do so in three consecutive seasons. Until 2011, there were only two drivers who had won three consecutive titles: Juan Manuel Fangio was first to do so in 1956, while Michael Schumacher was the second driver to do so in 2002.
Since 2012, Verstappen is the third driver to win three titles in a row. Sebastian Vettel claimed a third title in a row at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, while Lewis Hamilton claimed his third consecutive title at the 2019 United States Grand Prix.
Notably, Verstappen is the second driver in Formula 1 history to win all of his first three titles in consecutive seasons, after Vettel.
THE McLAREN COINCIDENCE
The Sprint at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix was the first Formula 1 race to feature a McLaren front row lockout since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. Both races resulted in a Red Bull driver being crowned World Champion for the third consecutive season!
THE SECOND YOUNGEST TRIPLE WORLD CHAMPION
Max Verstappen became the second youngest driver to win three titles at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix. The only younger driver to become a three-time World Champion is Sebastian Vettel, who won his third title at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. On that day, Vettel was 195 days younger than Verstappen on the day of the Sprint at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix.
AGE ON DAY OF THIRD TITLE WIN
25 years, 4 months, 23 days – Sebastian Vettel
26 years, 0 months, 8 days – Max Verstappen
30 years, 9 months, 19 days – Lewis Hamilton
31 years, 7 months, 0 days – Ayrton Senna
31 years, 9 months, 6 days – Michael Schumacher
34 years, 2 months, 30 days – Jackie Stewart
34 years, 7 months, 29 days – Alain Prost
35 years, 2 months, 16 days – Nelson Piquet
35 years, 8 months, 0 days – Niki Lauda
40 years, 5 months, 3 days – Jack Brabham
44 years, 0 months, 23 days – Juan Manuel Fangio
THE SHORTEST TIME BETWEEN FIRST AND THIRD TITLES
It has been just 664 days since Max Verstappen won his first title as a result of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 664 days is the fewest number of days in which a driver has claimed their first three titles. Verstappen broke the previous record, held by Sebastian Vettel since 2012, by 78 days.
DAYS BETWEEN FIRST AND THIRD TITLE WINS
664 – Max Verstappen
742 – Sebastian Vettel
1,085 – Ayrton Senna
1,357 – Juan Manuel Fangio
1,463 – Jackie Stewart
1,477 – Alain Prost
2,156 – Michael Schumacher
2,206 – Nelson Piquet
2,458 – Jack Brabham
2,548 – Lewis Hamilton
3,332 – Niki Lauda
FOURTH TITLE INCOMING IN 2024?
Strangely, every driver in Formula 1 history who has won three titles in a row has gone on to take a fourth consecutive title in the following season. Will the same be true for Max Verstappen in 2024?