Verstappen secures his third consecutive F1 world title at Qatar, but Piastri denied him victory in the sprint race.
Max Verstappen has clinched his third F1 world title after finishing second in the Qatar GP sprint. Following his dominant Japanese GP victory, the Red Bull Racing driver needed to outscore his teammate Sergio Perez by just three points to wrap up the title. And Perez’ Lap 11 crash (after contact with Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg) meant that Verstappen achieved this feat before the sprint was even over.
The frenetic Qatar sprint also gave McLaren plenty of reasons to celebrate, with Oscar Piastri clinching his first win in F1 and Lando Norris rounding out the podium in third place.
- Verstappen seals 2023 F1 title with six Grands Prix to go
- Piastri wins sprint, 1.8 secs ahead of Verstappen
- Norris P3 for McLaren
Piastri scores first F1 win
Armed with the resurgent MCL60, Piastri outperformed both Norris and Verstappen to bag pole position for the sprint race. All three drivers opted to start the race on medium tyres, while others like George Russell and the Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc started on the more aggressive softs.
Two Safety Car re-starts in quick succession benefitted those running on softs and helped Russell take the lead from Piastri. But the McLaren driver fought back to reclaim the lead. And the soft runners’ pace started falling off in the second half of the race, turning the tide in Piastri’s favour
Verstappen would have wanted to seal his third F1 title in style, with victory in the sprint. But he could only gain a couple of tenths on Piastri in the closing stages, and had to settle for second place.
“I’m very happy. It was a very stressful race! Safety Cars were my friend today, especially when Max got behind me,” said Piastri, who claimed his first victory in F1.
Verstappen claims third F1 title
On the back of a record-breaking season, Verstappen has sealed the 2023 F1 world championship with six more Grands Prix to go. He also becomes only the fifth driver in history to score three back-to-back F1 titles (the others being Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton).
“Unbelievable guys,” said Verstappen on his cool-down lap.
“An incredible year. Thank you for providing me with such a car. It’s been a pleasure so far this year. I just want to say a big thank you to everyone here at the track, back at the factory for putting all the effort in. To have been able to achieve something like this, I can’t thank you all enough, and besides all the performance-related stuff, it’s also been a pleasure working with you all, and that’s definitely the most important in the end. Thank you very much.”
2023 Qatar GP sprint results
|2023 Qatar GP sprint results
|Red Bull Racing
|Red Bull Racing