Max Verstappen with number 33 is the new 34th F1 world champion

Max Verstappen with number 33 is the new 34th F1 world champion

 

The new world number 1

 

A victory like no other! As they say nowadays: there are a few things you don’t discuss over a family dinner, one of them being the last lap of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

 

That final crucial lap made Max Verstappen the new F1 World Champion, after a particularly controversial season with Lewis Hamilton. The Dutchman snatched defeat from the Briton, thwarting his attempts to take his 8th consecutive title, beating the greatest of them all F1 champions – Michael Schumacher.

As of now the German legend Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton hold the record for the most World Drivers’ Championships, both having won the title on seven occasions.

 

Funny how after winning the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with his distinctive number 33, which Max has raced with for years, he became the first Dutch driver to win the Formula One World Championship and the 34th Formula One World Drivers’ Champion.

After winning the championship, Verstappen actually formally stated that he would switch his car number to #1. Max currently races with number 33 on his car, but he gave a pretty good reason behind the decision swapping.

“How many times do you get the opportunity to swap? Number one is the best number out there, so for me, it was very straightforward to pick the number one, and hopefully, number 33 doesn’t come back next year!’’ confirmed the F1 champion.

After all, the F1 driver is right: this is an opportunity of a lifetime. You don’t know – this may be the only time Verstappen can have number one in his life.

The last time we saw such a distinctive change was in 2014 when Sebastian Vettel chose to have this number after his 4th consecutive championship win in 2013. And the new F1 champion – Max Verstappen has mentioned a few times before that he has no doubt in his mind about switching his numbers for 2022.

Even though, Max Verstappen and the #33 share an unbreakable bond. Not only this is the number used on his cockpit but also in merchandise and brands to tag the new F1 champion. MV33 is highly popular on social media for all the posts, comments, and tags related to the Flying Dutchman.

But what actually is the story behind Max choosing #33: “My favorite number is 3 but it was already taken by Daniel Ricciardo, so I just added another 3 behind it; it’s double luck. Since I was a young kid, I was racing around with this number. So, I thought it is nice to keep that in F1 as well”

The lucky number proved to be quite significant for Verstappen as it helped him in the development of his career. He witnessed numerous career peaks with the number.

Whether his new number, as a current F1 champion, will bring him the same professional success, remains to be seen in the new season, which starts very, very soon!

 

Formula 1 Stats: Drivers with most F1’s World Championship wins

We are cognizant that each one driver and teams are high-level F1 professionals, but what is it that separates the true champions from the mediocre ones? The F1 World Championship wins, of course.

Clearly, there are many contested F1 championships: 1994, 1999, 2007, 2008, and this years’ rival between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen for the F1 World Championship winner. It has been a long while since we’ve had such dramatic F1 races that are actually decided within the last few laps. And now everybody is wondering: can we go back to the Red Bull era and are we through with the hegemony of the first-ever black F1 world champion sir Lewis Hamilton.

Sir Lewis Hamilton and Sir Jackie Stewart
23-26 May 2019. Monte Carlo, Principality of Monaco. 2019 Monaco

Over decades within the sport, teams like Ferrari, McLaren, and Williams have broken Formula 1 records with consistently quick cars and the fastest drivers. In fact, there are certain drivers that constantly break personal Formula 1 records, either with having most F1 world championship wins or for instance most pole positions within the stats.

And although many believe that in recent years 60% of the drivers on the F1 grid would be champions if they drove a Mercedes car. We all know that F1 world champions like Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher are a different breed and possess something magical.

Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton top many F1 tables – and somehow it is inconceivable to form a comparison between the two.

Michael Schumacher and Niki Lauda

As of the 2021 season, F1 world champions Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher are tied with seven titles apiece. Although the surprise that Lewis didn’t quit early in the season is huge because many thought he shouldn’t have trampled on Schumi’s record.

The German also known as the Red Baron was dominant at the turn of the century, winning five titles on the bounce from 2000 with Scuderia Ferrari. And these were only a humble addition to his double world championships with Benetton in the ’90s. A record truly unshakable. But the dominance of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes in the hybrid era has turned the motorsport world upside down.

The Brit replaced Schumacher at Mercedes following his retirement at the end of 2012. Since then, Hamilton has only failed to win the championship twice: in his first season at Mercedes in 2013 and in 2016, when he lost out to teammate Nico Rosberg. Those six titles, alongside his first championship win in his second season with McLaren, make him the foremost successful driver in history. Complementing his name to that of Schumacher as the two of the F1 world champions.

1952 Italian Grand Prix. Monza, Italy. 7th September 1952. Alberto Ascari (Ferrari 500), 1st position, leads Giuseppe Farina (Ferrari 500), 4th position, action. World Copyright: LAT Photographic. Ref: 52 – 48 – 5A.

Juan Manuel Fangio’s record of five titles in the 1950s has stood the test of time. The first great driver of the Formula 1 era’s record stood until 2003 when Schumacher won his sixth title. The great Alain Prost has four titles. As well as Sebastian Vettel, whose absolute domination with Red Bull in the early 2010s, brought his 4 titles in the battle of the greatest F1 world champions.

If you are striving for more interesting F1 info and stats, get 70 Years of Formula 1 Encyclopedia, where you can find numerous pages about F1 history, teams, drivers, everything.