Verstappen crowned champion as McLaren resurgence continues

McLaren break world record with 1.80 pit stop

Max Verstappen secured his third championship title at the action-packed Qatar Grand Prix weekend. Dominating Sunday’s gruelling race, which several drivers said was the toughest of their career, Verstappen achieved pole, fastest lap, and the race win. Impressively, he was also the sole driver to stay within track limits for the whole of the demanding 57-lap event.   

Verstappen’s record-breaking prowess continued as he surpassed Sebastian Vettel's 12-year record for the most laps led in a single season, raising the question of how many more records he can break before 2023 comes to a close.   

But it wasn’t only Verstappen who broke records in Qatar. In a remarkable display of teamwork, McLaren’s pit crew put together the fastest pit stop in history. The team executed an outstanding 1.80-second stop despite the FIA’s efforts to slow down pit stops following Red Bull’s 1.82 stop in 2019.  

After their difficulties at the start of the season, McLaren have been rapidly gaining momentum. Not only did they achieve a world record, but they also picked up the sprint race win, two double podiums, and the significant milestone of their 500th podium.  

Rookie Oscar Piastri started from first on Saturday after a victorious sprint shootout before claiming his maiden F1 win, marking the team’s second victory in the past 11 years.  

McLaren’s recent performance has seen them rack up 104 points in the last three races, while Red Bull have earned 75. As a result of this momentum, McLaren are now within reach of overtaking Aston Martin for fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.   

Over at Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton lost out on crucial points in his battle for second in the Drivers’ Championship after a crash with teammate George Russell. Qatar was an opportunity for Hamilton to capitalise on Sergio Pérez’s poor qualifying and pit lane start, but a rare mistake from the Brit means he’s still 30 points behind Pérez. Showcasing his classy sportsmanship, Hamilton later apologised to Russell, who fought back from 18th to fourth in a great recovery drive.   

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Outstanding - this was exceptional. Feedback from the team was unreal, I really thank you for delivering on the key messages!
Thomas Guether, Chief Growth Office, Compass Group


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