Max Verstappen has become the first driver to get a medal for winning an F1 race. He did so at the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP last week, where the FIA’s newest award was introduced.
More often than not, drivers’ race-winning trophies are housed in the team’s trophy cabinets, while the driver gets the chance to take home a replica. To ensure that the driver does not go home empty-handed, the FIA has introduced a medal to recognise their achievement.
At the Abu Dhabi GP, Verstappen became the first driver to receive the newest FIA award. The race number of the Grand Prix in question will appear on the medal, with Verstappen’s prize engraved with the number #1079.
Reflecting on a very impressive season for the team and himself, Verstappen lauded Red Bull for their efforts and achievements. He said:
“It has been a great team effort, especially after our tough start to the year, to turn it around like that, I would have never imagined that, like nobody in the team. But it’s been really enjoyable to be part of this team. We have a lot of fun.”
“Of course, we focus on the performance, but you also need to really enjoy the moment, appreciate the moment. And I think we definitely did that. We will do, but we already also focusing on next year. You always say you try to do better. I know it’s hard to do a lot better than this, but you should always try to aim for that.”
Verstappen won his second straight world title with four races to go, winning a record 15 races in the season, including the last one at Abu Dhabi last weekend.
Max Verstappen expecting closer battle next season
Max Verstappen expects the 2023 season to have a much closer battle. The Red Bull driver talked about how a better understanding of the cars would bring Ferrari and Mercedes into title contention. He said:
“I do think it will be closer. People are understanding the cars a lot more. And, yeah, over time all the teams will just edge closer. But from our side, yeah, it’s been a really positive weekend. So that’s, of course, really encouraging also for next year.”
“But we also know now, over the winter, we really have to keep pushing and keep trying to find performance and not only performance, understanding, possibly the tyres even more, because the tyres will change a bit for next year. So yeah, let’s see how we are going to manage all of that.”
After one of the most dominant seasons in history, Verstappen will hope to continue in the same vein next year.