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Verstappen may succeed father-in-law Piquet as Saturday champion

Verstappen may succeed father-in-law Piquet as Saturday champion

04-10-2023 20:00 Last update: 22:26


There is a very real chance that Max Verstappen can call himself triple world champion after just the sprint race on Saturday. Becoming champion in a sprint race is a first, becoming champion on Saturday is not. As unlikely as that may seem, there are a number of past drivers who secured world titles on a Saturday. Father-in-law Nelson Piquet was the last to succeed.

Piquet preceded Verstappen twice

However, we have to go back a while to the last 'Saturday champion'. It was Nelson Piquet who captured the title in 1983 at the South African Grand Prix, held at Kyalami. Max Verstappen's father-in-law also did the same in 1981, by the way, at the Las Vegas circuit at the time. Chances are that Verstappen will indeed become champion during the sprint race, succeeding his father-in-law 40 years on as the next Saturday champion.

While Sunday as a race day has been the standard for years, however, this was not the case in the past. Until the mid-1980s, Grands Prix were regularly held on Saturday afternoons. Only when Bernie Ecclestone became the boss of Formula 1, Sunday afternoon was established as a fixed Grand Prix moment. In 1985, the last Saturday Grand Prix was held at Kyalami.

Las Vegas: the first Saturday Grand Prix since 1985

With the sprint races introduced by Formula 1, some Saturdays these days also feature a race. This always involves a short race; the actual Grand Prix continues to be run on Sundays. Yet 2023 will have an exception to the calendar for the first time in years. The Las Vegas Grand Prix will be held on Saturday in November.