DOHA, Qatar — Max Verstappen wrapped up his third Formula One championship on Saturday with six races to spare.
Verstappen secured the title as his nearest title rival and teammate Sergio Perez crashed out on Lap 11 of the 23-lap sprint race after colliding with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg.
Verstappen becomes the first driver to secure the title in a race under the format introduced in 2021. His dominant season has included a record 10 straight victories between May’s Miami Grand Prix and September’s Italian Grand Prix.
Should he win the Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday, he will be one victory from matching his own record of 15 wins in a single season from last year.
Fittingly for a season that has been so one-sided, Verstappen made history in how he secured it, becoming the first driver in 40 years to clinch on a Saturday.
The last driver to do so was Nelson Piquet, the father of Verstappen’s long-term girlfriend, Kelly, at the 1987 Japanese Grand Prix.