Verstappen's Humble Reluctance for Dutch Sportsman of the Year
Max Verstappen, the 26-year-old Red Bull driver and reigning Formula One world champion, expressed his reluctance to win the Dutch Sportsman of the Year award for the third consecutive year. Despite earning this national honor in 2016, 2021, and 2022, Verstappen revealed his reservations about such accolades during the Qatar Grand Prix.
When questioned about the possibility of being considered the greatest Dutch athlete of all time, surpassing legends like Johan Cruyff and four-time Olympic track and field gold medalist Fanny Blankers-Koen, Verstappen declined to engage in comparisons. He humbly stated, "I don’t want to compare. Everyone was amazing in their own right in their own sport. I’m just happy and proud that I’m Dutch."
Verstappen emphasized that as a nation, the focus should be on national pride and unity, rather than determining who is the best or second best athlete. He expressed his disinterest in winning such awards, remarking, "Every year we have these kinds of awards about Sportsman or Sportswoman of the Year. Why? I don’t even want to win it."
Verstappen is on the verge of securing his third consecutive Formula One world championship, needing just three points during the Qatar Grand Prix weekend to achieve this remarkable feat. He has dominated the season with an impressive 13 wins in 16 races and an unprecedented 10 consecutive victories.
He has the opportunity to clinch the championship in a Saturday sprint race that offers points to the top eight finishers. Notably, no other Dutch driver has won a Formula One Grand Prix or claimed a pole position since the championship's inception in 1950.
Verstappen's perspective revolves around acknowledging and celebrating the talent and achievements of all individuals within the country. He believes that awards should not single out one person for recognition, as it can be unfair to those who put tremendous effort into their respective sports but go unrecognized due to the focus on one specific award.
In his words, "It’s not about this is better than the other in terms of achievement. We should just celebrate all the success that we have as a country. I’m just saying I find it unfair for some people who are putting so much effort into their sport and they achieve incredible results and sometimes they don’t get awarded for it because of this silly, stupid one prize for one particular person."