Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monza, 2023

Verstappen rejects Gasly’s claim Italian GP will be ‘trickiest for him to win’

2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen has dismissed Pierre Gasly’s claim that Monza will be a more difficult track for Red Bull to win on this weekend.

Red Bull have taken victory in every race so far this season and Verstappen could set a new record by winning his 10th grand prix in a row this weekend. The current record of nine was set by Alberto Ascari in 1953 and matched by Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel in 2013.

Gasly, who drove alongside Verstappen at Red Bull for 12 races in 2019, did not expect the record to stay unbeaten. “I did think that it will be beaten at some point,” he told media including RaceFans today.

“I think you get to appreciate and respect all of these records but at the same time I’ve seen from my short life now that there have been incredible records that have been broken, which no one would have thought about,” he explained.

However he believes Monza, the fastest track on the calendar, will not be an ideal venue for the undefeated team of 2023.

“I think this weekend is actually, probably the trickiest one for Max to win,” said Gasly. “It’s Monza, it’s a very different track, you’re on very low-drag. Quite a lot of incidents can happen into turn one.

“You have a massive gain with DRS, so if someone is fast enough to stick to your DRS the whole race, they could get a chance. I’ll be surprised if he pulls like a 30-second lead like he can do on some other tracks.”

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Gasly said Verstappen’s latest win, in a rain-hit race at his home track last weekend, showed his strengths as a driver and his ability to tap into his reserves of speed only when he needs it to.

“You’ve got to appreciate what he does because he doesn’t do any mistakes,” said Gasly. “Even last weekend, he can have the fastest car but you can have a lock-up, go straight and miss it. So I think he’s been very mature in the way that he’s taken risks when they were there.

“You can see it, there were times where last weekend in the wet, he wasn’t pulling away from the others. He’s faster, he could be faster, but you just know he has got it under control and he knows when he can give away three-tenths and then not take too many risks and then really push when things are more stable. So he is very complete and very mature in the way that he approaches.”

But Verstappen doesn’t see any reason why Monza should present any particular challenges for Red Bull. “People are allowed to wish for these kind of things, but I think it’s going to be a good track for us,” he said.

Verstappen has previously said his car was more competitive on permanent circuits than street tracks. He expects the race after the Italian Grand Prix, on the Marina Bay street course in Singapore, could prove more of a challenge for them.

“For sure, we try to improve everything we can,” he said, “but some things, of course, they might only be fixed for next year. I do think that Singapore probably is a little bit more difficult than Spa or Zandvoort or any of these kind of tracks.”

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2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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13 comments on “Verstappen rejects Gasly’s claim Italian GP will be ‘trickiest for him to win’”

  1. o.. well.. one could hope

  2. Max… You could’ve at least played with it. You know, trick us to believe that things aren’t as dominant as this. But, being honest is better. Got tired from Mercedes in the past saying they weren’t that competitive on a specific weekend, and then managed to slap everyone in the face.

    1. This is exactly how an honest person should behave. Strategy and hiding your cards is one thing, but pointless acting in front of the media really makes you like someone less. Max knows he has the best car, I’m sure he considers himself to be the best driver (I do too, for years now more or less), and he doesn’t need to play mind games. I respect that he also doesn’t want to exaggerate his success by downplaying his car’s abilities. “I’m not sure we’ll have the best car, I think team A will be faster than us, we have problems A, B, and C to deal with, so if I win, that’s because of unparalleled heroics” kind of nonsense is what we don’t need.

      1. EXACTLY this. I absolutely HATED it back then when Merc was going all “it’s been a tough weekend for us and the car wasn’t where we wanted it to be but with luck we pulled through” after lapping the P5 til P10 on the grid and scoring a 1-2 while being almost a minute ahead of 3rd place. That’s pure domination and to downplay everything, I felt, was utter disrespect to the other teams and drivers.

      2. Strategy and hiding your cards is one thing, but pointless acting in front of the media really makes you like someone less.

        This, 100%. Talking about extending the finger to you audience. The sheer disrespect for the viewer.

    2. Yes, one of the things I always liked about verstappen is the honesty, I couldn’t stand the constant downplaying mercedes did in their era.

  3. Based on what did Gasly say it?
    Was one of his easiest wins last season, together with Spa.

    I’d say Singapore might be trickier, but not by much. It’s on their hands to make history this year.

    1. I’d say if teams want to snap the RB streak, Singapore would be their best bet. Although the circuit has been altered, it’s pretty easy to make a mistake there.

  4. Well, he’s definitely wrong about the DRS claim because low-drag rear wing configurations automatically cause a relatively small gain.

    1. The combination of slow corners and long straights make it significantly easier for a slower car to stay within DRS range of a faster car. The lack of high speed corners make it one of few tracks where following a car closely results on better lap time than clean air. Gasly is right.

      1. I mean, un theory he is right, but I think Red Bull has enough pace advantage to shake anyone out of their draft.

    2. Classically true, but Red Bull DRS stalls the beam wing to recover pressure from the diffuser. That means they get less benefit on high downforce tracks where stalling the beam wing is significantly harder to do.

  5. I wonder what Gasly is smoking ?
    RB and MV have won by some disturbing margins all year.
    Monza, although fast is “just another circuit” to Red Bull !!!

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