Max Verstappen wins third consecutive Formula One world championship
Newly crowned F1 world champion Max Verstappen has been told that he is only partially responsible for his three consecutive titles. Despite 39 wins in the past three seasons, it appears that one Dutch columnist is unconvinced of his contributions.
The all-conquering Red Bull hero has not looked back after he was promoted from Toro Rosso back in 2016 and he secured yet another world championship at the Qatar Grand Prix. However, his exploits have not won over compatriot Bert Wagendorp, who credits a host of other factors for his dominance.
A renowned Dutch columnist, he contends that, among other advantages, Verstappen has benefited from having the best cars on the grid over the past three years. Back in 2021, his RB-16B car was probably only matched by the Mercedes W12, with the RB-18 and the RB-19 both dominant since then.
Among other reasons Wagendorp has highlighted for Verstappen’s brilliance in what has been a glorious run for Red Bull is the strength of his team, as well as his engine and the aerodynamic parts of the car. In fact, the reporter even put a figure on how responsible the driver has been for his wins in recent years.
In his column for De Volkskrant, Wagendorp claimed Verstappen can only take “14%” of the responsibility for his three-year dominance. The Dutchman said: “That [14%] is an average. We can assume that that average is a lot lower among Verstappen’s competitors.”
For him, the 26-year-old was not deserving of winning a third straight Dutch Sportsman of the Year award for his exploits. If Verstappen were to land the prestigious award for a fourth time, he would have won it more than soccer legend Johan Cruyff and Olympics hero Fanny Blankers-Koen.
It is likely that Wagendorp’s disparaging comments will not rock Verstappen’s morale too much, however, with his contentment clear to see after securing a third championship in a row. Speaking to Sky Sports after winning another title, he claimed that he is still improving.
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“I try to look at things that I can do better and I try to improve as a driver, which I think is also great because you have all this success, right?” he said.
“But every single year you learn and you become better as a driver, not necessarily faster, but probably you can handle situations a bit better because of your experience and you learn from your difficult moments, your good moments.
Verstappen added: “I think as a driver you have them all, you have bad moments, good moments. That’s what makes this sport, I think, also so beautiful.”
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