At the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Max Verstappen played second fiddle to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in qualifying, was beaten by him and Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez in qualifying for and then in the sprint race itself, and finished second behind Perez in the grand prix.
Another win today would see Verstappen set a new record for most consecutive grand prix wins. The runaway world championship leader says that race at Baku City Circuit four months ago was key to the run of dominance it preceded, as he made a breakthrough with his understanding of the team’s RB19.
“I think I learned a lot from the race in Baku, how to do some things with the car, how to set it up,” Verstappen revealed after winning last weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix.
“Of course, I didn’t win that race in Baku but actually I really tried a lot of stuff and different tools in the car. That’s why throughout the race it was a little bit inconsistent, but at one point, I got into a good rhythm with what I found. But then I damaged my tyres a bit too much.
“But it was like ‘okay, that’s quite interesting for the next races’. And I basically implemented that and it has helped me on every track [since].”
Verstappen’s latest win equalled the record of nine consecutive victories held by Alberto Ascari and Sebastian Vettel. During his unbeaten run, his team mate Perez has only reached the podium four times. On average, Perez has been more than seven positions behind his team mate on the grid each weekend.
Verstappen has scored some of his wins with a margin of more than half a minute over Red Bull’s closest rival. He is poised to achieve a record-breaking streak of and his team have now won 13 grands prix in a row. However he believes other drivers have failed to achieve comparable success with more competitive cars.
“Even if you have the best – and I think there have been more dominant cars in the past than what we have at the moment – they haven’t been able to do so, to win nine in a row, or whatever the consecutive wins we have as a team,” said Verstappen after his Dutch Grand Prix win.
“So it is hard and especially like [in Zandvoort], it’s easy to make a wrong call or even drop it yourself in the gravel or whatever. So it’s never that straightforward.”
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2023 Dutch Grand Prix
- Azerbaijan GP defeat was key to record-equalling run of wins – Verstappen
- “Too early to say” if podium signals return to form for Aston Martin – Alonso
- Verstappen makes history with unbeaten hat-track in first home races
- Perez is ‘doing his job and will be our driver in 2024’, Horner insists
- Ferrari had the “sixth or seventh fastest car” at Zandvoort – Sainz