Red Bull on Max Verstappen: ‘Our plan was already in tatters’

Red Bull's Max Verstappen clinched his third world title despite a track limit violation setback in the Qatar Grand Prix Sprint race.

Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko has unveiled the team’s initial strategy for Max Verstappen in the Sprint Shootout, describing how it was almost derailed by an unexpected track limit violation by the Dutch driver. 

Verstappen’s quest for success encountered an early hiccup during the SQ3 session for the Qatar Grand Prix, as his first flying lap was nullified due to a momentary infringement of the white line boundaries.

The situation was further complicated by last-minute track adjustments aimed at addressing safety concerns raised by Pirelli. 

These changes involved narrowing the permissible track limits at Turns 12 and 13, adding an extra layer of complexity to the proceedings.

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Marko reflected on the tumultuous session, stating, “After the lap was taken [away], our plan was already in tatters. 

“Then it was a last-minute rescue.”

However, despite this setback, Verstappen displayed remarkable resilience and determination, ultimately clinching his third world championship title during the Sprint race. 

His teammate, Sergio Perez, experienced an unfortunate incident that left him in the gravel, paving the way for Verstappen’s victory.

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Verstappen now joins an exclusive group of Formula 1 legends, including Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, and Nelson Piquet, as a three-time world champion. 

Only five drivers in the history of F1 have achieved this illustrious feat.

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Expressing his elation, Verstappen shared, “It’s a fantastic feeling. 

“It’s been an incredible year, with a lot of great races, and so enjoyable to be part of it with that group of people. 

“We’ll keep on pushing [for more titles] and try to do the best we can. It was an exciting race today – a shame about the safety cars, but it was fun out there.”