After grabbing a slightly disappointing P6 in qualifying, he managed to score pole in the sprint shootout and went on to claim victory in the Saturday dash – one of the very few occasions Max Verstappen was beaten full stop in 2023.
But in coming home second, Verstappen did enough to claim his third straight championship crown – and duly hit the tiles to celebrate in style. Not that that slowed him down come Sunday, when he won the main event in 42-degree heat.
"We were speaking about that in the cooldown room actually, so I was very aware I got beaten by someone who had a decent night out," Piastri told the Eff Won with DRS podcast, after the host claimed Christian Horner told him that Verstappen had gotten 'plastered' the night before the race.
"But when you win a world championship it is warranted, so I can't say I wouldn't do the same if I was in his position."
Considering the sapping conditions of that race, with many drivers requiring hospital treatment afterwards, Verstappen's performance deserves even more praise.
But considering that Piastri's sprint victory was one of only two instances all season where the Red Bull was beaten – the other being Carlos Sainz's victory in the Singapore Grand Prix - the rookie deserves nothing but credit for his performance.
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