Max Verstappen received his third Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship trophy at the 2023 FIA Gala on Friday, and delivered a speech insisting records were never on his mind.
Verstappen wouldn’t have expected in his wildest dreams to have a season like 2023, as the Dutchman and Red Bull took dominance to another level, making Mercedes previous era of dominance a distant memory, when many thought the Silvers Arrow’s superiority would not be repeated.
Well it was repeated, and Red Bull ended up winning all but one race in 2023, while Verstappen broke a a 71-year-old record of the highest percentage of wins in a season after winning 19 races out of 22. Sergio Perez won two races in Baku and Jeddah, while Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz won in Singapore.
While Verstappen seemed to face some challenge from Perez, he put his foot down from Miami onwards winning from ninth on the grid, a race the Mexican started on pole. That was an emphatic message to his teammate who until that time was talking up his Title chances.
But from then, Verstappen never looked back, and while Singapore saw him record his worse result in the 2023 F1 season, that was clearly an outlier as he was back to his dominant winning ways from the next race in Japan and went on to win the remaining seven races.
Speaking at the FIA Gala, Verstappen said: “I was of course never thinking about trying to break all these records, I was just trying to do the best I could every single race weekend and enjoy it as well.
“These kind of great moments don’t come along that often,” the Red Bull ace added.
It seems hard for Verstappen and Red Bull to beat their 2023 season, where they secured the Title double as well as runner up in the Drivers’ Championship with Perez being best of the rest, but the Triple F1 Champion is adamant there are always things that can be improved.
Big Question: Can Verstappen and Red Bull do better in 2024?