Max Verstappen ensured there’d be no race-day repercussions following his celebration of the third consecutive drivers’ title achieved during Qatar’s sprint event on Saturday.
While the commanding racer from the Netherlands secured the second spot, trailing behind Oscar Piastri, it was indeed Verstappen’s colleague from Red Bull, Sergio Perez, who drew attention due to his recent mishap.
Consequently, the festivities celebrating the championship on Saturday evening were toned down a notch.
“Unfortunately, we still have to do some work on Checo’s car so that it’s ready for use again,” Christian Horner, Red Bull’s team principal, mentioned.
However, in a lighter vein, Horner hinted at the possibility of a few Red Bull beverages being part of a modest gathering, and Verstappen chimed in, suggesting his pick might be something akin to fizzy water.
Yet, there’s a prevailing sentiment that the 26-year-old might turn up on Sunday with traces of the previous night’s celebrations.
“I’ve never done that, but I don’t think that will happen either,” Verstappen shared with a chuckle to Viaplay. “This one I have here just has Red Bull in it.”
With the soaring temperatures and the perspiration that comes with it, Verstappen mused about his pre-sleep hydration, “It is also very hot here and I have been sweating a lot, so I don’t think I need to drink much before I go to sleep.”
Acknowledging the potential for celebrations, he remarked, “We already won the constructors’ and now the drivers’ so we can celebrate a great season already.”
Perhaps hinting at a slightly delayed arrival, he added, “Maybe I will arrive at the circuit a little later tomorrow, but we will make it to the start.”
Red Bull’s Dr. Helmut Marko set a timeline for the team’s celebration, “Then the lights go off and the mechanics have to be fit tomorrow,” with a playful addendum, “But maybe they can find a back door somewhere,” accompanied by a smirk from the seasoned F1 figure.
With Verstappen’s and Red Bull’s formidable presence this season, speculations abound regarding the duration of this dominance.
“I hope it will last a long time,” Verstappen’s representative Raymond Vermeulen voiced on Viaplay. “We will continue for a while anyway.”
Echoing this sentiment, Verstappen, bound by a contract till 2028, resonated with Lewis Hamilton’s recent thoughts, “This will be Max’s decade.”
Touching upon the remarkable achievements by Hamilton and Michael Schumacher, Ralf Schumacher, the latter’s sibling, conveyed to Sky Deutschland, “Max says the amount of titles he ends up collecting is not important to him.”
Reflecting on a potential shift in career, he further shared, “I could imagine that at some point he will draw a line under Formula 1 overnight and want to do something else. But he’s currently having a lot of fun with what he’s doing.”
Endorsing this sentiment, Verstappen expressed, “To be honest, I think it’s more about how long I want to be here.”
Elaborating on his journey and future aspirations, he said, “So I’m loving the moment. It’s perfect. But for sure, at one point, you might want to do other stuff or race a bit less, absolutely. But not right now.”
In terms of legacies, Verstappen candidly stated, “I find that a tricky one because I’m not in Formula 1 to leave a legacy.”
Reflecting on his monumental achievements, he shared, “But when you see that list, those names, you’re like ‘wow, it’s incredible what these people achieved in their careers and now you’re alongside them’. It is, of course, an amazing feeling.”
Lastly, Marko weighed in, observing Verstappen’s meteoric rise and comparing him to F1 greats, “I think you have to bring age into play. Max just turned 26 last Saturday and he already has incredible records for his age.”