Max Verstappen with a record in Formula 1: more successful than Schumacher
Soh really white Max Verstappen probably not like he’s doing right now, but he’s trying to strike a casual, champion-worthy pose, even if he looks a little unsure about it for once. The Red Bull racing car and the Dutch pilot are hydraulically lifted from the bottom of the podium in Mexico City’s baseball stadium, which is temporarily used as a Formula 1 race track, to the highest step. The Dutchman seems happy when he escapes the platform after a few seconds and jumps onto the highest step under his own power.
Just like he did in the 20th World Championship race this season: The Mexican Grand Prix is his third win in a row, but above all his 14th success this season and a small slap in the face for Mercedes. Now the record that he’s been using for a week belongs Michael sSchumacher and Sebastian Vettel had to share him alone. No other driver in the history of Formula 1 has achieved more victories in one season. The insignia at the appearance in the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez fit accordingly: golden helmet and golden racing driver’s shoes.
Verstappen always on the go
Later he will say what all similarly successful pilots always claim: he is not interested in statistics. The casual flirting with ignorance is a bit part of it, but in fact this Verstappen is someone who is always on the go, who is less excited about the glamor of what has been achieved and more about the challenge of the next success. With two more races to go, the 25-year-old won’t want to stop at 14 victories: “What an incredible season. I never thought that so many wins are possible. But we’re enjoying it and we want more,” he said.
Perhaps he was even a little bored during his Sunday ride at 2228 meters altitude, “cruising” is what the racing drivers call it when they roar away from everyone at the front at a controlled pace. 15.1 seconds ahead Lewis Hamilton it is after 71 laps, although Mercedes had a good chance of their first win of the season. But the difference is not only made by Verstappen’s perfect start again, but above all by the choice of tires. He takes the soft tyres, Mercedes the slightly harder ones and then the very hard ones. “A reach into the toilet,” says racing team boss Toto Wolff afterwards and is annoyed.
At Red Bull they had wondered about this rubber tactic early on. team boss Christian Horner, for whom Verstappen’s triumph is balsam after being punished for exceeding the financial cost cap for the 2021 season, does not skimp on malice. “We were surprised that they were so conservative. Dietrich Mateschitz taught us to take risks,” the Brit teaches, “this tire cost Mercedes a possible victory for the second time.”
With a daring strategy, it is easier to deal with the feeling of superiority, combined with the knowledge that Verstappen’s aggressive driving style also hides highly skilful tire management. Horner may even recognize a “masterful stroking.”