Max Verstappen may have unleashed record-breaking F1 dominance in 2023, but his efforts still resulted in comfortable defeat against tennis icon Novak Djokovic.
Verstappen set a new standard in his third World Championship-winning campaign, claiming a remarkable 19 grand prix victories out of 22, his Red Bull team winning 21 overall.
However, that was not enough to see him top the standings when it came to L’Equipe’s Men’s Champion of Champions vote.
Max Verstappen loses out to Novak Djokovic and Léon Marchand
Verstappen is very familiar with all-conquering points totals after F1 2023, his 575 scored more than double that of Red Bull team-mate and Championship runner-up Sergio Perez, but on this occasion, it was Verstappen looking up.
With 876 points scored, Djokovic comfortably claimed his second Champion of Champions crown, after a tennis campaign which saw him win three of the four Grand Slam tournaments; the Australian Open, French Open and US Open, putting him number one for most overall Grand Slam tournament career wins with 24.
The final spot on the podium had to do for Verstappen this time, his 348 points putting him second behind esteemed French swimmer Marchand with 361.
Three F1 drivers have been presented with this award during its history, Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna the past winners. Schumacher is the only multi-time victor, doing so three years in a row between 2001-03.
Verstappen has already looked ahead to the state of Red Bull’s competition for F1 2024, highlighting McLaren as a team that could bring the fight in the upcoming campaign.
McLaren enjoyed a remarkable surge up the order in 2023, claiming nine podium finishes, while Oscar Piastri beat Verstappen to sprint victory in Qatar.
“We were the only team that was really consistent,” said Verstappen on Red Bull’s ‘Talking Bull’ podcast.
“That’s the thing that behind us, it was really up and down and it was one team second and another team, so that’s why the battle was quite close behind us.
“So it will all depend on how much they will improve in the wintertime. Which one I think was the most impressive behind us from where they started to where they ended, was definitely McLaren. So it looks like they might be very strong next year.”
F1 2024 is set to be contested across a record-breaking 24-round calendar.