Max Verstappen ended a fantastic weekend by following up on his Emilia Romagna Grand Prix by winning the 2022 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award.
The 24-year-old Dutchman was honored after securing his first Formula One world championship in December, where he beat Lewis Hamilton knows the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to take the title after fighting the Briton in one of the most intense rivalries F1 has produced in its seven decades of history.
Now he has become the fourth F1 driver to win the award, following in the footsteps of Hamilton, former Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.
Verstappen spoke afterwards about his joy at winning the award and reserved special praise for his father Jos, a former Formula 1 driver even with people like Arrows and Minardi.
“I was very happy, of course, but it was very hard work and many years of preparation,” Verstappen explained. ‘I’m incredibly proud. Ever since I was a toddler, I have dreamed of being on the top step and winning the championship.
I said to my father [former Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen]”We did it, that’s what we’ve been working for all these years, and now we’re here, the two of us, all the memories, all the years of traveling all over Europe, going after one goal, and we achieved it. ” ‘
The prize was first awarded in 1999, when Swiss tennis star Roger Federer had the record for most victories, with five. Lionel Messi became the first footballer, or indeed athlete from a team sport, to win it in 2020. Other winners include Usain Bolt, Rafael Nadal and Tiger Woods.
Verstappen says adding this award to his World Cup ‘means a lot’.
“I’m the first Dutch driver to win the World Championship, so the reaction back in the Netherlands was fantastic from all the newspapers and fans, it’s something we will never forget,” he added. ‘It means a lot to be recognized for this award, one of the highest in the world, so I’m incredibly happy.’
Verstappen led Red Bull to a one-two victory ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez in Imola on Sunday, in one of Red Bull’s best results in the team’s 18-year history in the sport.
This result, combined with Charles Leclerc’s late spin, which caused him to drop to sixth by the checkered flag, caused the 24-year-old to reduce the deficit at the top of this year’s standings to 27 points.
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