This is a new record in Formula 1: ten consecutive victories.
Max Verstappen achieved a series that Schumacher, Hamilton, Prost, Senna or Fangio had never accomplished. This weekend in Singapore, the Dutchman can make a little more history.
Max Verstappen never really liked school. He always preferred circuits to classrooms. A driving genius detected from childhood, schooling quickly interrupted to start in F1 at 17. And it is in this area that the Dutchman, a few days ago, obtained the best mark: a historic 10/10. Erased, the record of nine successes in a row acquired ten years ago by Sebastian Vettel, already at the wheel of a Red Bull. “I am very happy with this record of ten consecutive victories, Verstappen said.
I never thought it could be possible, because it seems impossible. I am very proud of this accomplishment, very proud also of my crew. The whole year has been so amazing. ” Verstappen, who turns 26 in two weeks, still finds it difficult to formulate long speeches when it comes to records and statistics. For him, what matters most is the race, the driving, the victory, but not the numbers. Perhaps he does not have the necessary perspective to measure the scope of his feat. This year, only two victories have escaped him. Since the start of the 2022 season, only eighteen months ago, he has won 27 of the 36 Grands Prix contested! For comparison, with the same number of 27 victories, but over his entire career, Sir Jackie Stewart held the record for the number of successes in F1 from 1973 to 1987. “We are all extremely proud of what we are accomplishing, said Christian Horner, the director of Red Bull Racing. We are living in the golden age of our stable. It’s phenomenal to have won every race this year, and to see Max rack up ten successes in a row. Realize, he has won every Grand Prix contested in Europe! Heading to Asia now!”
This weekend in Singapore, even more than wanting to increase his record to eleven consecutive successes, Max Verstappen will want to erase the memory of last year. Seventh, after making a driving error, he had signed his worst result of the season (excluding retirement). Mathematically, the Dutchman cannot already win the world title this weekend. The consecration will perhaps arrive in Japan the following week, or in Qatar, but the outcome of the championship has been in no doubt for months.
In a few weeks Max Verstappen will become the equal of Senna, Stewart, Brabham, Lauda and Piquet with a third world crown. If it has always been impossible to win in F1 without a good car – or even the best –, Verstappen impresses race after race with the excellence of his driving, his mastery in all circumstances, and his unshakeable confidence. At the start of the season, his teammate Sergio Pérez was equal. After four races, they had two victories each. But on April 30, in Azerbaijan, the date of his last “defeat” where he finished second behind Pérez, Verstappen made a decisive discovery: “I learned a lot in Baku about how to set up the car and how to drive it. I didn’t win there, but I tried a lot of setup options during the race. My pace wasn’t consistent, as some choices were bad and others were much better. I said to myself ‘ Hey, it’s interesting for the next races’ . Since then it has helped me on every track. ” Since Baku, Verstappen is undefeated, Pérez’s morale is in tatters, and it is certain that, without the Dutchman, Red Bull would not have won all the races of this 2023 season. “Max has the ability to adapt his driving style to the single-seater, explains Horner. The way he uses the tools and adjustments available to him in the car is remarkable. It is impressive when the grip conditions change. He is able to be fast from the first round because he has enormous confidence. He becomes one with the car. ”
Weariness does not seem to affect either Verstap-pen or his team. Pierre Waché, the French technical director of Red Bull, describes the state of mind that drives the team: “We are in competition with the other teams. If we rest on our laurels, we do not progress. We have a fairly high potential because the car is good, but if we don’t progress in this sport, the others do, and therefore the results decline. We impose a dynamic to work more, to try to better understand the car and improve performance. It’s a state of mind. All races are up for grabs, otherwise it’s not worth taking part. ”
Invincible since the start of the season, victorious in the fourteen Grands Prix raced so far, Red Bull has surpassed McLaren’s record of eleven victories from the start of the 1988 season. The still unspoken objective is now clear for the Austrian team: finish the year undefeated. “Everyone in the team puts in a colossal effort, which is rewarded on the track, assure Verstappen. We won all the races! We appreciate this moment, knowing that such success cannot be repeated often. ” The Dutchman intends to take advantage of this perfect alchemy with the Red Bull RB19 to satisfy his gargantuan appetite. Every week, he increases his record. With 47 victories on the clock, he is only four lengths behind Alain Prost and six behind Sebastian Vettel, with eight Grands Prix remaining. If he continues his incredible series, Verstappen will overtake the German, who gave Red Bull its first world titles.
“Sebastian Vettel is a driver who has accomplished great things, but with a very different character from that of Max, Horner comments. In terms of work, Seb could spend an hour and a half debriefing with his engineers, while Max gets to the point in ten minutes. Max also has an incredible ability to handle pressure. He blew me away at the Dutch Grand Prix. This race exists thanks to him, 1,10,000 spectators are there only for him, the royal family greets him on the grid just before the start, the pressure is enormous, but he is impervious to it, and he completes the perfect race. ”
Verstappen’s domination, long perceived as boring, now creates an exciting challenge in each race, and everyone is wondering if the Dutchman will achieve the feat of remaining undefeated until the end.
Théo Pourchaire begins the very long break as leader of the Formula 2 championship until the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi at the end of November. In Monza (photo), the Frenchman, author of pole position before reaching his tenth podium of the season, increased his lead to 25 points over the Dane Frederik Vesti. A maximum of 39 points remain to be awarded to Abu Dhabi.
Until then, Pourchaire will resume his role as Alfa Romeo’s reserve driver in F1, with two appearances behind the wheel in free practice.
Forced to interrupt his season in the world rallycross championship following the fire which destroyed the cars and equipment of the Special One Racing team in July, Sébastien Loeb took part in the most famous race of the French championship (photo) .Five years after his last participation on this legendary Loheac circuit, the nine-time world rally champion won for the first time in Brittany, adding a new prestigious line to his list of achievements.
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