Record wins haul not as satisfying as minimising mistakes for Verstappen

2022 F1 season

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Breaking the record for most wins in a single season wasn’t the most satisfying aspect of Max Verstappen’s second world championship-winning campaign.

The Red Bull driver won 15 races this year, breaking the previous record of 13, but was more pleased with the manner of his success than the record.

“In general I always stay calm so that’s not really the thing I’m happy about,” he said when asked about his wins record at an event run by the team at Milton Keynes last weekend. “It’s more about just trying to make the minimum amount of mistakes.

“I think every year I’ve improved in that’s and that’s something I always want to try and work on because of course you can have retirements with engine failures or car failings, but there can also be retirements from yourself making mistakes and these kinds of things you have to try and minimise when you when you fight for a championship.”

He told NBC his emphatic second Formula 1 world championship wasn’t “true dominance”, despite breaking the record for most wins score by a driver in a single season.

Verstappen clinched the title with four races to spare this year. By the end of the season he had won 15 of the 22 races, breaking the previous record of 13. However he trailled Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the points standings early in the year after retiring from two of the first three races.

After winning the title by 146 points, Verstappen said his final margin in the standings masked how close a fight it was.

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“I think I did get pushed this year,” he said. “It’s just that some teams around us had reliability issues. Yes, it looks like it was a dominating season, but actually when you look at it I didn’t even have that many poles because our car over one lap was for most of the season not even the quickest.”

Leclerc scored three wins over the season but took nine pole positions to Verstappen’s seven.

“So I wouldn’t say that this was actually true domination because I think if you really want to dominate, you put it on pole, you just drive off in the distance and that’s it, which most of the time was not the case,” Verstappen continued. “So, especially in the beginning of the year where I don’t think we had the fastest car but we still did get a few wins which were at the time really rewarding because I knew that it was going to be a tough battle if nobody would have any reliability issues.”

He said he drew satisfaction from how the team fought back at Imola following a poor weekend in Melbourne which ended in a retirement.

“It’s always upsetting when things like that happen,” he said. “You’re not happy about it and also disappointed because you know that in a championship fight you always have to try and finish the race and try to score as many people as possible. So to have two DNFs within three races was not good.

“Besides that, I think also the weekend in Australia itself we were really off the pace. So all in all, it was just a terrible weekend for us. But then again, it’s about how you come back. And I think the next race we dominated and that is also the strength of the team, I think.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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2 comments on “Record wins haul not as satisfying as minimising mistakes for Verstappen”

  1. He’s right. The team on a whole was dominant, but not necessarily the car. Well, the car was not dominant from start to finish, but it became so in race pace after the second half of the season. It was Ferrari that kept shooting themselves in the foot with strategy and driver blunders, poor reliability and poor development.

  2. There have been a lot more cars in the past with more of a performance advantage than the RB18 had this year. It was a mix of Ferrari blunders and Max’ consistency that got him the record wins.

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