Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monza, 2023

Perfect season would be more impressive than “irrelevant” 10 wins in a row – Wolff

2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has described Max Verstappen’s record-breaking achievement of winning 10 consecutive grands prix as “irrelevant”.

However he admitted Red Bull are on course to achieve a feat which he thinks would be genuinely impressive.

Verstappen broke a 70-year-old record set by Alberto Ascari, and only previously matched by Sebastian Vettel, when he scored his 10th win in a row at Monza yesterday. However Wolff, whose team enjoyed comparable dominance to Red Bull’s during the 2010s, was unmoved by Verstappen’s new benchmark.

“For me these kind of records are completely irrelevant,” said Wolff when asked about Verstappen’s achievement yesterday. “They were irrelevant in our good days in Mercedes. I don’t know how many races we won in a row. I didn’t even know that there was a count on how many races in a row you win.

“Therefore, asking me for commenting on some achievement is difficult because it never played a role in my own life. It’s yesterday. But the result itself shows that a great driver in a great car are competing on an extremely high level.”

Red Bull have won every race since the season began and have only lost a single grand prix in the last 12 months. Wolff admitted it would be impressive if they could achieve an unprecedented undefeated season, which he believes is likely.

“I think they need to screw it up themselves in order not to win every race this season. That’s a record that I would [say] is a good one, because that is perfection.

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“We didn’t make it because our two pushed each other out in Barcelona 2016, and then we had an engine failure in Malaysia [in 2017].”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said Verstappen had accomplished a rare sporting achievement.

“I think you have to recognise and applaud what Max is doing at the moment,” he said. “It’s very special to achieve what he’s achieved and I think we shouldn’t detract from that in any way.

“In sport, very rarely things like this happen and I think it’s a golden moment for him and a golden moment for the team.”

While Verstappen has played down his interest in statistical milestones, he admitted he was “very proud of the whole team effort” which has led to Red Bull winning every race this year.

“What we are doing at the moment, winning every race this year, is something that we definitely are enjoying, because I don’t think these kinds of seasons come around very often,” he said. “And that’s the same, of course, with winning 10 in a row.”

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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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77 comments on “Perfect season would be more impressive than “irrelevant” 10 wins in a row – Wolff”

  1. As well as 2016, 2020 is the other season where Mercedes had a genuine chance to win every race of the season – the difference is that they did “screw it up themselves.” So Toto understands that a clean sweep of races requires not just a dominant car, but also perfect execution from the team and its drivers.

    1. Yes, they screwed up the 2016 Spanish GP, but the Malaysian GP loss wasn’t their fault & the non-win races in 2020 weren’t necessarily screw-ups either, nor were the 2014 Canadian & Hungarian GP, for that matter.

      1. On Malaysia 2016, it depends whether you consider poor reliability to be an error on the team’s part. Most people would probably put it on the team – as Hamilton himself did post-race.

        The reason I call out 2020 is because the four races Mercedes didn’t win were largely attributable to the team dropping the ball in one way or another, rather than being outperformed. In the second Silverstone race, Mercedes got their setup wrong with the tyres – they were understandably conservative, perhaps, given the failures they’d suffered the week before, but still sacrificed enough pace to give Red Bull the win. Monza was a straightforward driver error incurring a heavy penalty; Sakhir saw a litany of team errors including fitting the wrong tyres to each car at the pit stops. The only potential outlier is Abu Dhabi, but possibly down again to setup issues as well as the fact that Hamilton was clearly not at 100% that weekend. So the clean sweep was definitely “on” for Mercedes in 2020 had they, collectively, made fewer mistakes.

        1. @red-andy Kind of feels that if RedBull had any of those non-reliability issues their package still is strong enough to overcome small losses in time. That’s not something Mercedes could afford. Basicially Mercedes had to perform at 90% to win. Redbull can perform at 70% and still win, or at least that’s how it feels.

          1. This is definitely a good way to put it, as far as verstappen goes, while it seems the smallest difficulty like a bad quali makes it really hard for perez to get back ahead of all other non-red bull drivers.

          2. I disagree on the 70%-90% comparisson you made here.
            Monza 2020, for example, Lewis outqualified the field with 0.8s
            After 17 laps he was leading by 14 seconds.

            2023 had more rainraces than the last seasons. A factor that usually makes the outcome of a race unpredictable. You just can’t put that on car dominance.
            I’m not denying RedBull has the best car, which is obvious. But the consistancy Verstappen and the team show in all circumstances, is from a different level.

        2. Oh, yes, at first when hearing 2020 I didn’t remember which races they lost, but reading your comment it refreshed my memory, I’m doubtful about it being just tyre setup at silverstone, monza agree, they lost 30 sec or so with the stop and go, bahrain outer circuit was supposed to be an easy win for russell and he looked like he might’ve won it even with the screw up, but he also had a puncture when he was closing in on perez. Abu dhabi yes, hamilton wasn’t in top form, but I think verstappen would’ve been hard to beat for anyone, red bull was really strong there, even a top form hamilton or russell would’ve had a hard time against him there.

      2. IMO malaysia 2016 is definitely a screw up by the team: yes, reliability is a part of f1 and yes, the more you go back in the decades, the worse reliability was (which makes 1988 even more special because senna would’ve been able to win monza too if he hadn’t hit the lapped car), but at the same time rosberg got hit by someone that race, so he wasn’t there to pick up the pieces in terms of continuing a team winning streak.

    2. Easy to say when you’re not winning … “A wise man once said … nothing … “

      1. TW, of course you rubbish the record, when your chauffeur came nowhere near that record with a vastly more dominant car.

    3. Coventry Climax
      5th September 2023, 15:32

      All of the above comments are exactly why this is a relevant record, for the simple reason Verstappen and Red Bull are the first to achieve it, for whatever reason, and the others have not achieved it, for whatever reason.
      A record is about ‘they have’ and not about ‘they could have’.

  2. I liked Wolff last season. Magnanimous and forgiving after Abu Dhabi 2021. Talked about mental health. Force for good.

    But this sort of envious pettiness is pretty sad. Shame.

    1. @hahostolze Envious of what? Max? You think Max could do significantly better in a Mercedes?

      1. Tommy Scragend
        4th September 2023, 12:53

        Envious of Red Bull having a good car and the best driver while Mercedes, who had that in the past, no longer do. I’d have thought the meaning of the comment was pretty clear.

        1. He’s giving Red Bull credit and appreciates an achievement of winning every race. He’s not minimising that. He’s saying 10 in a row is sort of worthless, which specifically talks about drivers. He knows, like everyone that at least 5 or 6 drivers could do what Max does in that car. Maybe not by that big of a margin, Max might still be the best there is, but it’s still 90% car contributing to the result.

          1. @ivan-vinitskyy True but if there’s an edge to Wolff’s remark, I suspect it’s more to do with Verstappen not facing any challenge from Perez. So Mercedes, sure, had lots of wins in a row. But it was far less likely to be one driver winning.

          2. @ivan-vinitskyy Apologies, you made the same point below :)

          3. Coventry Climax
            4th September 2023, 22:04

            If it had been Mercedes achieving 10-in-a-row, mr. Wolff would have been bragging about it as loud as he could, for as long as he could and to all the world and beyond.
            Now that the tables are turned, it’s without meaning? I don’t think even he himself actually believes what he’s saying.
            Pettiness is a very appropriate word here.

          4. If you read the entire interview, in one sentence he’s says the record is irrelevant and didn’t even know there was such a thing, but then goes on to say that the reason Merc didn’t get 10 in a row was due to Barcelona 2016 and Malaysia 2017. So he went from not even knowing it was a thing to be being able to list the 2 races from 6 and 7 years ago as the the reasons why they didn’t get 10 in a row. Seemed to me like that not achieving that record lives in head to this day quite clearly.

            I’m not Merc/Lewis hater, not particularly an RBR/Max fan either, but this is 100% nothing but sour grapes.

            Recent comments from Toto and Lewis really aren’t painting them in a good light.

      2. Coventry Climax
        4th September 2023, 21:59

        No, @ivan-vinitskyy, but the Merc drivers would do a hell of a lot better than they do now, if their cars would just resemble Red Bull’s more. Too bad Mercedes have no clue how to achieve that.
        So that’s something for mr. Wolff to be enviuos about, I’d say.

    2. @hahostolze I get what you mean to some extent, Wolff seems more bristly this season. But I think you’re misunderstanding him here. It’s quite an important point, whether drivers and teams have time and energy to pay much notice to ‘records’ like how many wins in a row. As a team principal the focus, he says, is on ‘perfection’, which is another way of saying a ruthless desire to win and remain winning. And he says that is what Red Bull are achieving right now. Obviously he’s unhappy that it’s Red Bull and not them. Especially given the rivalry. But I don’t think what he said qualifies as petty.

      1. You folks are so easily caught in the journalistic trap of highlighting excerpts from neutral statements to make them sound contentious. If you hear the question posed by the journalist and the full answer, all you can say is just ok, fine. But just by how a specific portion is highlighted in the headline to grab your attention, they get your emotions stirred to generate activity in the website. Grow up and stop being manipulated by what and how things are presented to you.

        1. ? I was arguing precisely that I don’t think Wolff’s remarks were contentious.
          If I said he was ‘bristly this season’, it was more to do with, say, the way he appeared on the radio telling Hamilton they know the car’s bad, but ‘just drive it.’ Understandably shorter-fused this season. That’s all.

    3. Did you even read beyond the out of context headline???????

  3. Wish he had expanded on this. Or maybe it wasn’t needed because we’re all thinking the same though. Its irrelevant because the only thing it says is how poor Perez is. What’s more impressive is the reliability of that Red Bull. Yes they keep saying they are carrying some issue but it never materialises, so I’m not sure how honest that it.

    1. @ivan-vinitskyy Spot on. He was keeping that bit of thinking unsaid.

    2. Still, it’s never as easy as Max makes it look.

      We’ve had many races recently when the weather played a big role, with many SC restarts and crazy strategy, and to keep it on the track maximizing the package is a hard thing to do even when you have the best car.

      Best example, in Zandvoort: almost everyone in the top 10 made mistakes or strategy blunders during the late heavy rain, including Perez & Lewis going off, George clipping Norris or vice versa, etc. Max stayed focused, kept it on the road ahead of Alonso (which is never easy in tricky conditions) and won. Races like this make the best drivers show what they’re made of. And he does it time and time again, like clockwork orange.

  4. Surprised at Wolff dismissing the breaking of a 70 year old record as something “irrelevant” while then excusing why his own team didn’t do it during their period of dominance. Quite dismissively arrogant.

    1. @rocketpanda Can you really say this is objectively an important record? Why? The biggest obstacles to this record is car speed, car reliability and your team mate. All those three lined up for Max.

      1. It is even so easy, it’s been done several times last decades… o wait it isnt

    2. Who cares about these stats? Almost nobody. It’s not really “historic” in the sense that they have a meaning in the grand scheme of motorsport. Just that it hasn’t happened before, which is good for marketing. And not really anything else.

      Motorsport is roughly divided in eras which are very hard to compare. So this is very well done by both red bull and max. They are an amazing combination. But beyond that, I wouldn’t really say it is something special in the grand scheme of things. Only the die-hard statistics probably knew this stat and many others which are generally considered nice, but pointless. Like how many laps a driver has lead etc.

      1. “can you really say this is objectively an important record? why”

        I mean we rate Schumacher and Hamilton for having 7 titles each. We laud Hamilton too now for having statistically the highest number of pole positions by any driver in history. We collect these statistics for history, to honour achievements that are very, very difficult to do and may never be done again – this is the point of a record…

        But nah you’re right, why do we collect these numbers? Let’s just reset every season, driver and existing record back to zero each year. Nobody has any titles, nobody has any race wins, nothing. What a bizarre opinion.

        1. @rocketpanda What you’ve just done is take my specific question about THIS record and made a generic point against all records. You must agree that not all records are equal. Some are much more desirable than others.
          Here I was asking why 10 wins in a row is a good stat to have for a driver? If anything this stat will make everyone rememember how poor of a teammate Max had.

          1. It also enlightens verstappen’s consistency, because if he had an off weekend like sometimes hamilton did a few years back, by now some other team would’ve won, perhaps alonso in canada, which was relatively close.

          2. In fact Alonso should have won in Monaco but he and/or the team made a crucial mistake in the pitstop. Canada and Zandvoort were somewhat close but Max never seemed to be in jeopardy. Next chance might be Singapore, preferably wet.

  5. Tommy Scragend
    4th September 2023, 12:50

    “We didn’t make it because our two pushed each other out in Barcelona 2016, and then we had an engine failure in Malaysia [in 2017].”

    I know this is an RF clarification, not what Wolff actually said, but the Malaysian race he was referring to was 2016 as well, not 2017. Spain and Malaysia were the only two races Mercedes didn’t win in 2016.

    1. Coventry Climax
      4th September 2023, 22:17

      I don’t care about the date. Pushing each other off just isn’t a very clever thing to do, and it won’t get you wins-in-a-row records. It’s a c r a p argument from mr. Wolff.

  6. I don’t know how many races we won in a row. I didn’t even know that there was a count on how many races in a row you win

    That is just an absurd comment. The whole paddock has been buzzing about it since, and even before the summer break.

    1. It’s literally just TV that start all kinds of nonsense for the sake of entertaintment and then make a big deal out of it. I don’t think anyone really cares.

  7. Toto must have a Shade Quotes app on his phone.

  8. *grabs popcorn*

  9. Well, seems Toto is in an excellent mood once again.

    1. He’s praising the work they’ve done, he just doesn’t care about the record: “a great driver in a great car are competing on an extremely high level.”

      Statistics aren’t fun for everyone, and that’s fine. As Wolff says, winning every race would be very impressive. As would Verstappen equaling Schumacher’s 2002 record of being on the podium at every race. It’s been a bit of a surprise that Hamilton never managed that despite all those years of excellent to dominant cars.

      1. No surprise. No matter how dominant the car, you have to actually drive it.

        1. No surprise. No matter how dominant the car, you have to actually drive it.

          Your inner nasty is showing. Not a nice thing to do in public.

  10. That’s just poor sportsmanship from Toto.

    Then again, he did says we could expect only from Lewis and nobody else, so I guess he did warn us.

  11. Verstappen didn’t win those races, it’s Perez, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren etc. who lost those races.

    1. I don’t think that’s how motorsport works…

    2. “He didn’t win, he just failed to finish 2nd or worse”

    3. I don’t think he even appeared in those races, it’s all lies.

  12. If they win Singapore, it’s 99.9% certain they will win all races this season. Singapore has the uncertainty element and it’s hard to overtake, a bad timed SC can take the win away. In other tracks, except Las Vegas which i didn’t bother to look yet, not even that can hold them back.

    1. The only thing that will stop RB is a serious Max driver error or mechanical failure. Both can happen at any race.

      1. Could have happened in the 12 past races and it didn’t.
        May still happen? Sure, but i wouldn’t count on that.

        1. I wouldn’t be too sure tbh, any of the following races can produce unpredictability.

          As Murray Walker once said “Anything can happen in Formula One, and it usually does”

          1. Yes, if there weren’t some truth to that statement by murray walker, monza 2020 would’ve been another mercedes procession! For the first time in a while I was tired of merc dominance and decided I’d have watched the highlights instead of the race, and I immediately got a spoiler of the type “gasly wins, hamilton 12th, which was more like that he ended up 12th and had to recover”, as soon as I saw that I watched a full race replay!

            I would’ve never expected something like that to happen in such a dominant season, so while likelihood is on verstappen’s side, you never know, singapore 2022 was a catastrophical weekend for verstappen.

    2. Singapore has the uncertainty element and it’s hard to overtake, a bad timed SC can take the win away.

      Especially if your team screw up the pit stop under the SC – I’d suggest asking Massa, but he doesn’t seem to know the right answer.

  13. Well I think someone has earned himself a spot on Wiktionary.
    Toto
    Example: ‘You are such a Toto’

    informal) One who complains or blames others for one’s loss; one who is easily angered by losing a game or contest, or because of some other misfortune or bad luck.

    1. Ahah, that’s a fun idea to give him a spot on the dictionary!

    2. Coventry Climax
      5th September 2023, 11:33

      Consider me a

      Tototaller

      Informal) One who abstains from crediting anything Toto Wolff and/or Mercedes F1 claim.

  14. Wolf and co have been overtly salty about Max and RedBull performance, they have been going on a diatribe spree for the last 2 races. Insecurity and jealousy or is there more to it.

  15. Toto, Ok then Max just won as many races in a row as Mercedes has done as a Team, but maybe you don’t now this because you couldn’t beat MacLaren record that Red Bull did. BTW, I have to laugh when Team Principles talk about the Team first mindset especially when they are part of owners of the team.

  16. 17 years on from the racist profiling of Hamilton by Alonso ‘fans’, we’re still stuck with this kind of garbage.

  17. When Toto says things like this he just comes across as very bitter and sour.
    Since Niki passed away, Toto has become every irrational and unfiltered and it is a look that is unbecoming for someone that won 8 constructors titles in a row, and is a billionaire to boot.

    1. +1 it seems Lauda kept everyone real and is greatly missed.

  18. Verstappen broke a 70-year-old record set by Alberto Ascari,

    Ah, Ascari. I’d thought it was Fangio. Clearly not a mega record that echoed down the decades that took me through birth and infant school – and also actually get a TV in the home and a hand-me-down van on the drive.

    Nice to see that the remark from Toto that has Max fans foaming at the mouth has a context. One where Toto says he fully expects RBR to set a significant record, but he hadn’t realised 10 on the trot was a thing.

    1. Fangio never won more than three races in a row, and Ascari’s record is dependent on discounting the Indianapolis 500, which he did not compete in but which was part of the world championship. So arguably Ascari won 7 races in a row, which was then equaled by Schumacher in 2004 before Vettel set the new record at 9 in 2013.

    2. In a way, it is Jim Clark who holds the record with 11 counting races in a row , i.e. excluding DNFs for driver-unrelated mech retirements. This is kinda fair, as in the sixties the mech rets were in the order of 30-40% of the races for any driver, and it has vastly improved since then.

      With Max’s present for he should be beating Jim Clark’s record in a couple more races. Of course, in the unlikely case Max gets a mech retirement, he can still beat the record in one more race.

  19. Yeah, I’m going to side with Wolff here. The “…. in a row” qualifier is just statistic for the sake of statistic.

    The possibility of Max winning more than 15 races this season, breaking the record he set last year, or Red Bull winning every race this season is objectively more important than this “10 wins in a row”.

  20. You can tell who only read the headline and who read the actual article, lol.

    1. You can tell who only read the headline and who read the actual article, lol.

      Is it sad to read the full text of contracts etc. too? Another habit I have that makes people raise eyebrows for some reason.

  21. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    4th September 2023, 21:39

    I think the praise he lavished upon Max and Red Bull is quite remarkable.

    1. @freelittlebirds Me too but I guess people read what they want to read.

      1. Me too but I guess people read what they want to read

        It was ever thus, and what they believe of what is presented as “fact” is always “of interest, but unsurprising”
        Hans Christian has sold so many untruths and distortions that the average reader tends to believe the misleading without question.

        A classic example: The cost cap breach, Toto said it had happened, CH insisted that was a lie and made noise about legal action. So, who was speaking truth, and who was speaking fiction? Yet people are still more inclined to believe the one that evaded the truth?

        Of many quotes, this one will do: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/h_l_mencken_134033

  22. Struggling to understand why anyone would ever celebrate either thing. Both are just a sign of purely dull uncontested racing.

    1. Struggling to understand why anyone would ever celebrate either thing. Both are just a sign of purely dull uncontested racing.

      That’s why, despite the inclination of Max to treat Lewis as though he had a target painted on the car, most people enjoyed the 2021 season.
      Then Massi turned it into a joke in the last five minutes.

  23. Toto is like Toxic Trump …

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