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Verstappen raises toast to Tost: 19th win caps off dominant season


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In a season marked by record-breaking triumphs, Max Verstappen’s point out of the retirement-bound F1 veteran group boss, Franz Tost, instantly after profitable the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, highlighted his considerable achievements.

After 18 years as the top of Red Bull’s junior group, an operation that has been a conveyor belt of expertise for the Milton Keynes-based outfit and others, Tost was on the AlphaTauri pit wall for the ultimate time.

“Thank you to everyone,” mentioned Verstappen on his in-lap after his report nineteenth win of the season and the 54th of his profession. “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 by means of his decided arrival as a serial champion following his controversial 2021 triumph on the Yas Marina Circuit to his newest position as a record-breaking profitable machine has been unstoppable.

On Sunday, he turned the primary driver to finish a season having led greater than 1,000 laps – 1,003 of the 1,325 accessible – to ship a proportion charge of 75.70%, a feat that surpassed the 60-year report of two-time champion Jim Clark, who led 506 of 708 laps at a charge of 71.47 in 1963.

“It’s been an incredible season,” he mentioned. “It was a bit emotional on the in-lap, the final time sitting within the automobile, which has, after all, given me so much. And I’m very proud to win right here within the final race, and I’ve to say an enormous thanks to everybody at Red Bull. It’s been an unimaginable 12 months – it will likely be arduous to do one thing comparable once more.

“We know that, of course. You always want to do better, but sometimes, doing better is not only about race wins and potentially winning the championship. We will see! We’re working hard for next year to have again a very competitive car.”

As he started his celebrations, Formula One’s data had been being revised once more – he’s the youngest driver to attain factors, the youngest race chief, the youngest winner, the youngest to report the quickest lap, and the youngest to attain a ‘grand slam’ of pole, victory, and quickest race lap.

He additionally holds data for many podiums in a season (21), most wins (19), most factors (575), and most consecutive wins (10).

**Most Dominant Ever**

Without query, his triumphant 2023 season was probably the most dominant by any driver in F1 historical past, having received greater than 86 p.c of the races. He was overwhelmed solely 3 times in 22 races – twice by teammate Sergio Perez and as soon as by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, in Singapore, the place Red Bull skilled a uncommon off-day.

His benefit in factors forward of Perez within the drivers’ championship on the finish of the season was 290 factors – extra factors than the Mexican collected over the 22 races, 285, to safe second place within the title race forward of seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, 234.

The Briton, who completed ninth to attain two necessary factors that ensured Mercedes retained second place forward of Ferrari within the groups’ title race by three factors, praised Red Bull and Verstappen however feared domination by the champions subsequent 12 months.

“It hasn’t been a great year,” admitted Hamilton, who will probably be 39 in January. “For Red Bull to win by 17 seconds in the end and they haven’t developed their car since August … it’s definitely a concern.”

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