It was a measure of Max Verstappen‘s spare capacity in a season of record-breaking success that the first person he mentioned on Sunday after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was a retirement-bound F1 veteran team boss, Franz Tost.
After 18 years as the head of Red Bull’s junior team, an operation that has been a conveyor belt of talent for the Milton Keynes-based outfit and others, Tost was on the Alpha Tauri pit wall for the final time. Thank you to everyone,” said Verstappen on his in-lap after his record 19th win of the season and the 54th of his career.
“And thank you to Franz Tost. He has had lots of us under his wings and it is his last race – so thank you to Franz.”Verstappen’s progress from “Mad Max” in his early days of impetuous aggression through his determined arrival as a serial champion, following his controversial 2021 triumph at the Yes Marina Circuit, to his latest role as a record-breaking winning machine has been unstoppable.
On Sunday, he became the first driver to complete a season having led more than 1 000 laps – 1 003 of the 1 325 available – to deliver a percentage rate of 75.70 per cent, a feat that surpassed the 60-year-record of two-time champion Jim Clark, who led 506 of 708 laps at a rate of 71.47 in 1963.
“It’s been an incredible season,” he said. “It was a bit emotional on the in-lap, the last time sitting in the car which has, of course, given me such a lot. And I am very proud to win here in the last race and I have to say a big thank you to everyone at Red Bull. It’s been an incredible year — it will be hard to do something similar again.
This is the perfect way to end our extraordinary season 👏 I’m extremely grateful for all of the hard work that’s gone into this year by each and everyone of you involved @redbullracing & @HondaRacingGLB 🙌 To win 19 races in a season is just incredible 👏 It’s a privilege to be… pic.twitter.com/vOkhVPyD0k
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) November 26, 2023
“We know that, of course. You always want to do better but sometimes doing better is not only race wins and potentially winning the championship. We will see! We’re working hard for next year to have again a very competitive car.
In other news – Zahara reportedly hospitalized, she may need a transplant
Popular Mzansi star, award-winning singer Zahara, real name Bulelwa Mkutukana, has reportedly been hospitalised and is receiving treatment at a Johannesburg hospital after falling ill.
Sources have told Zimoja that the Loliwe hitmaker was initially admitted to a medical ward, but later transferred to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as her condition became worse. Read more