Verstappen criticises ‘stupid’ top sports awards

Max Verstappen has voiced his preference to be kept out of the nominations for “stupid” athlete of the year honours.

Having previously clinched the esteemed Laureus award and been named the Dutch sports federation’s athlete of the year in 2016, 2021, and 2022, the leading Dutchman in Formula 1 doesn’t wish to be heralded as the premier Dutch sportsman.

“I’m just proud to be Dutch,” he communicated to Dutch journalists in Qatar.

“As a country we should be so proud of all the achievements of athletes. You know, it doesn’t matter at all who’s the best. Or the second best.

“Every year they ask that question – who is the best sportsman, who is the best sportswoman? But why? I don’t want to win that one,” the Red Bull competitor expressed.

“The point is that we should nurture all the talent we have. You shouldn’t judge which is better. I think it’s ridiculous,” Verstappen said.

“It’s also unfair for athletes who put so much effort into their sport, achieve great results and don’t get the appreciation for it because of these stupid prizes that you give to one person.

“Everyone should be appreciated.”

Verstappen looks set to secure his third successive drivers’ title with a decent performance in Saturday’s sprint race in Qatar.

“He clearly wants the decision on Saturday and the chances are very good,” Dr Helmut Marko told Kronen Zeitung. “Especially since sixth place is enough if (Sergio) Perez wins.”

When queried about potential nerves ahead of this pivotal weekend, Verstappen responded in his usual style.

“I’m shaking,” he smiled. “No, obviously everything is fine.

“We’re having an incredible year and we’re here to win again and we should be quick. Normally it should be a good track for us.”