Max Verstappen has used his third F1 World Championship to take another swipe at the sport’s governing body for introducing Sprint races to the sport. Verstappen became the first person in F1 history to win a world title on a Saturday with the Grand Prix yet to be held that weekend.
A chaotic Sprint race on Saturday saw Verstappen finish second to officially be crowned a three-time world champion. But any title celebrations had to be delayed 24 hours as Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix still had to go ahead, with Verstappen dominating from start to finish to clinch his 14th win of the season.
The Dutchman now joins an elite list of drivers including Sir Jackie Stewart, Ayrton Senna and Niki Lauda to have won three world titles. Verstappen has won his three in consecutive years and David Coulthard noted that each victory had its own unique way in which it was done.
Coulthard started his interview on Channel 4 with Verstappen speaking about the individual races the Dutchman won his three world titles at. The former McLaren driver noticed a trend that Verstappen hadn’t won any of his world titles in a conventional manner.
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Coulthard said: “The first one, it was all about the last lap. The second one was a confusion in Japan as to whether you had won and here you’ve done it on a Saturday. We’ve still got a Grand Prix so it’s not like you can go and part.”
Verstappen smiled before reiterating his disdain for Sprint races in F1, replying: “Yeah, I blame F1 for introducing the Sprint weekends. These things are not in your control right, I just always try to score as many points as possible and that made it possible to win it on a Saturday but it’s ok.”
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Verstappen has been very vocal against F1’s introduction of Sprint race in 2021. The 26-year-old feels the format has made Sunday’s race even more boring for fans as teams know how to set up their cars for the main Grand Prix.
“I just prefer the normal racing format,” he said. “I think it is more exciting, and especially for qualifying you can go more to the limit as you know more what you’ve done in practice. For example, in Suzuka if you do FP1 there and go straight into qualifying you risk having bigger shunts and it is not as fulfilling.
“I always keep saying that once we do a sprint race you get the big picture anyway for the main race, so you know more or less which cars are going to be really good in the race or the ones that are going to drop back. So it takes away the excitement, from when I remember I was a fan and outside of the F1 world, that sense of you don’t know which car is particularly amazing in the long runs, or have they nailed the race set up?”
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