Max Verstappen breaks unique 40-year F1 streak after title win in Qatar

Verstappen claimed his third straight Formula 1 world title following the sprint race in Qatar

Kieran Jackson
Formula 1 Correspondent
Saturday 07 October 2023 20:12 BST
"Very proud moment" - Verstappen on Red Bull winning constructors' title

Max Verstappen has become just the fifth driver in Formula 1 history to clinch the world title on a Saturday – and the first in 40 years.

The Dutchman, who has won every grand prix bar three this season, sealed his third straight world title after Sergio Perez crashed in the sprint race at the Qatar Grand Prix on Saturday, leaving his team-mate unable to catch him with six races and two sprints to go.

Verstappen has been unstoppable throughout 2023 and, despite his dislike of the sprint race format, secured his 2023 crown in the 100km dash around the Lusail International Circuit on Saturday night.

It marks the end of a streak dating back to 1983 of drivers clinching the world title on a Sunday, the traditional day of a grand prix race.

The last title-clincher on a Saturday was Nelson Piquet in 1983, who won the championship at the season finale in South Africa – with the grand prix held at Kyalami on a Saturday.

The two previous winners – Piquet in 1981 and Keke Rosberg in 1982 – also claimed the title on a Saturday, with both seasons concluding at the Caesars Palace Grand Prix in Las Vegas, held on a Saturday.

Prior to that, British driver Graham Hill secured the 1962 world title at the South African Grand Prix in East London, again on a Saturday.

And 1959 champion Jack Brabham sealed his moment of victory on a Saturday too, at the United States Grand Prix, then held in Sebring, Florida.

Saturday night racing, as well as the six sprint races this season, is making a return for a full grand prix next month as Las Vegas hosts the highly-anticipated street race on the famous strip at 10pm local time on Saturday 18 November.

The 2024 season will also start with two Saturday night races – in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia – due to Ramadan.

Sunday is considered a “feast day” during the Islamic festival, which sees the world’s almost two-billion Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset during the other six days of the week.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in