DOHA — Max Verstappen will have to wait until December to get his hands on the Formula One champion’s trophy, after winning his third title in Qatar, but the Red Bull driver said that was no big deal.
Formula One differs from other sports like soccer or tennis in handing out its silverware at a formal awards ceremony rather than at the actual moment of triumph and as part of the immediate show.
This year’s FIA gala prizegiving is due to take place in Baku on Dec. 8, with the final race of the F1 season in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 26.
“It’s OK, they look the same. I have two at home so they’re not changing,” Verstappen told reporters when asked if it was a shame to have to wait for the trophy rather than be able to raise it aloft with his team mates.
“It’s just one extra name on it. But it’s OK, I can wait a little bit. I’ve got one next to my sim rig (race car simulator) and one next to the TVm” Verstappen added according to AFP.
The Dutch 26-year-old has also won 48 grands prix so far—making him the fifth most successful F1 driver of all time in terms of race wins—and has plenty of other trophies in his collection.
“That was a proper quality drive,” team boss Christian Horner told his champion over the radio.
There was drama even before the cars had lined up on the grid when Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who ended Red Bull’s 100% win record with victory in Singapore last month, was ruled out by a fuel system problem.
It continued seconds after the start when Mercedes team mates George Russell and Lewis Hamilton collided at the first corner, with the latter accusing the younger Briton of taking him out.
Hamilton later calmed down and said he did not consider his teammate at fault.
Russell, who had started second and made four pitstops in all, ended up fourth with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc fifth and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso sixth.
Esteban Ocon was seventh for Alpine with the Alfa Romeo pair of Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou eighth and ninth and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez demoted to 10th after a five-second post-race penalty for exceeding track limits multiple times.
Verstappen, now 209 points clear of Perez at the top of the standings, led cleanly from pole position and raced away unchallenged.
“I think what made the race was my first stint. After that I could just manage my pace and make sure that the tyres were always in a good window,” Verstappen said.
“The McLarens were quick again. I had to push for it. It was definitely a tough race out there.”
Four drivers collected time penalties for repeated track limits violations — Perez, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly and Williams’ Alex Albon.