Pole position for Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi will be a double-edged sword for Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, who suffered a rare betting defeat to the tune of €500.
Verstappen was in typically dominant form through the final qualifying of F1 2023, topping all three sessions on his way to claiming pole position number 12 of the campaign.
And considering Red Bull’s struggles in FP3, this result marked a solid turnaround.
Max Verstappen makes Christian Horner €500 richer
Seven-tenths off the pace at the end of FP3, Verstappen’s woes in the final hour of practice, after a low-key Friday, it seemed lulled Marko into a false sense of security when agreeing on a bet with Red Bull team principal Horner.
A front-row result was the Verstappen achievement which Horner betted on, Marko against, with Horner coming out the winner after that Verstappen qualifying masterclass.
“Well done mate, you’ve just won me €500 off Helmut, which is like getting blood out of a stone,” a delighted Horner told Verstappen over team radio.
“So, fantastic job!”
“Huh, Helmut lost a bet?” Verstappen replied. “What world are we living in?”
Clearly one where Verstappen is the unstoppable force of Formula 1, meaning this certainly was not one of Marko’s wisest bets!
“Exactly! The bet was for you to be on the front row mate,” Horner responded.
With that 12th pole of F1 2023, Verstappen tied Lewis Hamilton’s tally from 2016, the fourth-highest pole tally for a single season in F1 history.
He will now go in search of a 19th win of the campaign on Sunday to cap off a sensational third World Championship-winning year.