Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monza, 2023

Verstappen backed off to preserve car after “urgent” radio message

2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen revealed he had to manage a problem with his car in the closing stages of the Italian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver scored a record-breaking 10th consecutive victory at Monza today. However towards the end of the race his engineering Gianpiero Lambiase told him to drop back from Pierre Gasly, as he caught the Alpine to put it a lap down.

“Max, could you increase the gap to Gasly, please?” said Lambiase. “Increase gap to Gasly. It’s quite an urgent request.”

He was later told to “increase that gap a little bit more,” then with three laps to go Lambiase repeated: “You can increase the gap to Gasly more if you need to.” The instruction was repeated again before the end of the race.

Verstappen had pulled out a healthy lead after passing Carlos Sainz Jnr for first place earlier in the race.

He said “everything felt good” for much of the race but he “had to nurse a little issue at the end.”

“But we had, luckily, of course, a gap behind so I could easily back off,” he added.

He said he “never would have believed that was possible” to break the 70-year-old record for most consecutive F1 race wins. “We had to work for it today and that made it definitely a lot more fun,” he added.

It took Verstappen several attempts to finally pass Sainz for the lead. “We had good pace,” he said. “I think we were good on the tyres, but they had a lot of top speed.

“It was so hard to get close and get a move on into turn one, so I had to force him into a mistake. Luckily it came at some point where he locked up and then I had better traction out of turn two and basically from there once we could again do our own race.”

“I was just trying to stay patient,” he added. “That was still a very long race. I could see they were struggling a lot with a rear tyre, so I just had to pick my moment.”

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2023 Italian Grand Prix

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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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12 comments on “Verstappen backed off to preserve car after “urgent” radio message”

  1. Would have been quite typical if he ran into a more serious issue on the last laps to cost him the record…

    1. That would have been what happens in any season up to about 8 years back, and it would have been typical a way to end the run.

      But then, it looks like this year things are just falling Max way. Here he got a great fun racing weekend, I think he enjoyed it as well.

  2. Well, well, a weak spot for RBR:
    If they run the car a second a lap faster than everyone else, they can’t keep it up for the whole race.

    That’s not light at the end of the tunnel, it’s a train coming the other way.

  3. 70-year-old record for most consecutive F1 race wins

    … What?

    1. Ok, got it now. But Ascari’s record has the added complexity of the Indy 500 being part of the F1 World Championship, so technically Ascari didn’t win 9 consecutive F1 races – he won in 9 consecutive starts.

  4. I initially thought he was low on fuel, meaning would’ve risked falling short of 1L if he didn’t start managing.

    1. Looking at the request about distance I guess temperature is more likely.

    2. I thought there was a problem losing so much time but didn’t hear anything what the problem was…

  5. “, it’s a train coming the other way.” and it is Hamilton!

    1. Indeed, ask piastri!

  6. I half thought Red Bull were hoping to rub it in people’s faces by staging a photo finish, in which case I would have loved Perez to nip past to take the wind out of their sails.

  7. So, finally a tiny chink showing in their armour… Yet, even with that and taking 15 laps to pass Sainz, he still finished over 10s ahead of the next non-RBR car.

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