After DNF at Australian GP, Max Verstappen Reveals His Girlfriend Kelly Piquet Is Glad He Won for Penelope’s Sake

After DNF at Australian GP, Max Verstappen Reveals His Girlfriend Kelly Piquet Is Glad He Won for Penelope’s Sake
Credits: IMAGO PanoramiC

Max Verstappen was back to his dominant best in Japan, securing a race win by over 12 seconds. The Dutchman secured his third-consecutive race win in Suzuka and was cheered loudly on the podium by Penelope, the daughter of Kelly Piquet. After his win in Suzuka, Verstappen explained to Viaplay that he was happy to win for the sake of his girlfriend and Penelope.

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I think Kelly [Piquet] is happy that nothing happened today, otherwise she (Penelope) might think she doesn’t bring luck. But it was nice to see,” said Verstappen.

The race in Australia saw Verstappen suffer a DNF for the first time in two years. It brought an end to a 43-race finishing streak, with his previous DNF coming at the same venue back in 2022. Starting the Australian GP from pole position, Verstappen soon lost the lead to Carlos Sainz before complaining about losing pace from the car.

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Soon after, smoke started coming off the back of the Dutchman’s car, ringing the alarm bells for Red Bull. As the 26-year-old made his way to the pits, a fire broke out from one of his rear brakes. As a result, Verstappen’s race came to a premature end.

The DNF was a heartbreaking moment for Verstappen, given its significance. For the first time in his relationship with Kelly Piquet, her daughter, Penelope, had come to see the Dutchman race.

The daughter of Piquet and former F1 driver Daniil Kvyat was pictured interacting with members of Red Bull as she cheered for her ‘Maxie.’ Given the same, the DNF would certainly have hurt Verstappen on a deeply personal level.

Max Verstappen might have jinxed his own race in Australia

Max Verstappen’s last DNF before 2024 came at the same venue in 2022. Ahead of the latest edition of the race, Verstappen faced a question about the durability and reliability of the RB20.

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In response, Verstappen said that he didn’t want to jinx it but claimed it had been the strong point of the team until then. Verstappen’s words spelled doom for his team, as they not only lost the race but also failed to finish on the podium. Sergio Perez was the lone Red Bull driver out on the track, but a P5 finish was the best he could do.

Both Red Bull drivers had a faint idea of the Ferrari challenge in Australia. During the drivers’ parade before the race, Verstappen claimed his goal would be to try to do the best he could. However, he added Ferrari seemed very strong.

Sergio Perez agreed with the words of Verstappen, as he outrightly claimed they might not be the fastest team in Australia. He claimed that it would be a “super close” race with Ferrari and McLaren. Interestingly enough, Ferrari ended up securing a 1-2 finish, while McLaren secured a 3-4 finish with Lando Norris taking the podium place.

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