Monday, May 27, 2024

Verstappen on Record Breaking Italian Victory: “I had to be patient today to get the win”

Max Verstappen was made to work hard for his record breaking tenth consecutive FIA Formula 1 World Championship race victory in Italy, but the Dutchman stayed cool and edged closer to a third Drivers’ title in a row.

Starting from second on the grid, the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver was forced to settle in behind polesitter Carlos Sainz Jr. for the opening stint of the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday, and it took until lap fifteen to make the decisive move into the second chicane after the Scuderia Ferrari driver had locked up going into turn one.

Verstappen admitted he needed to be patient to be able to pass Sainz in a car that was not as quick in a straight-line as the Ferrari, and it took time for him to force a mistake from the Spaniard.

“I had to be patient today to get the win, Ferrari had a lot of top speed all weekend and I think when you look at our rear wing we had to trim down our top flap, so our DRS the whole weekend wasn’t as effective as normal,” said Verstappen.

“That meant we could never have a good run down into turn one, so I had to be patient and force Carlos into a mistake. At one point, when his tyres were wearing a little, we tried to make him brake late, he locked up a little bit and I thought, ‘perfect’ and was able to pass him on the exit to turn two.

“From there it was about managing things and bringing the car home safely.”

Verstappen says he is proud to have taken ten wins in a row – the first driver in history to do so – and the victory ensured Red Bull continue to be unbeaten through fourteen races in 2023.  He had shared the record of nine in a row previously with Alberto Ascari and Sebastian Vettel, but he now sits above everyone.

“Ten wins in a row is a record I am very happy about; it is something you don’t even think about trying to achieve because it is very unlikely that those kinds of things happen,” added the Dutchman.  

“I am very proud it has happened and proud of what the Team has done again today, the whole year has been pretty incredible so far.

“And, of course, a one-two today as well, here in Monza, is special for us all.”

“I feel like my form is fully back” – Sergio Pérez

Team-mate Sergio Pérez was also made to work hard at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, with the Mexican having had to pass George Russell, Charles Leclerc and Sainz to bring his RB19 home in second place.

Pérez’s race could have been made easier had he qualified better, but when he was under pressure he showed once again how good his race craft is, and he decisively overtook Russell, Leclerc and Sainz, albeit after a handful of aborted attempts on each driver.

The Mexican feels he has found his early season form and has begun to show good pace, with Pérez feeling it was a strong weekend for both himself and Red Bull.

“It is really satisfying to achieve P2 today and it has been a brilliant day for the team,” said Pérez.  “Overtaking was really difficult on this track and the Ferraris were very fast on the straights so it was hard to make my way through the field.

“We had some tough racing, but I fought really hard to overtake and gave it my all and it paid off. We didn’t get to show it yesterday, but it’s been a strong weekend in terms of performance.

“I feel like my form is fully back and I hope we can have a very strong end to the season. The team have done a lot of work on the suspension and the set-up of the car and we have made great steps forward here.

“Finally, the atmosphere here in Italy and on the podium was amazing: the whole main straight was packed and it was a great experience. Max’s achievement today really is incredible so well done to him: today is his moment.”

Sergio Pérez finished second in Italy thanks to good overtakes on George Russell, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. – Credit: Zak Mauger / LAT Images, courtesy of Pirelli Motorsport