Max Verstappen to Change His Car Number After Becoming Formula 1 World Champion
Max Verstappen will change his Red Bull car number from No. 33 to No. 1 after becoming world champion for the first time in his career, according to Lewis Larkam of Crash.net.
“How many times can you do that?” Verstappen said. “Maybe it’s the only time I can in my life. It’s the best number out there, so I will definitely put it on the car.”
Verstappen claimed his first title in dramatic fashion by winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday, overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the race.
A crash by Nicholas Latifi forced a safety car with five laps remaining. Race director Michael Masi decided instead of finishing the season under a yellow flag, he gave it a green light for racing after the clean-up was complete with one lap remaining in the race.
The ending was not without controversy as Hamilton’s team, Mercedes, lodged a pair of protests with the FIA, but were denied. Mercedes later filed for reconsideration to the International Court of Appeal.
Verstappen is the first driver to use No. 1 since Sebastian Vettel drove it in 2014. Hamilton has never raced with No. 1 but has used it in a practice session in November 2019. Before Verstappen’s victory, Nico Rosberg was the only driver in the last seven years to have defeated Hamilton for the drivers’ championship. Rosberg never got to race in the No. 1 car since he retired after his win over Hamilton in 2016.
Verstappen finished the year with 10 wins on the season, 18 podium finishes, 10 pole positions, six fastest laps recorded and 652 laps led. His title defense in 2022 will begin in Bahrain on March 20.