Home Sports Max Verstappen dominates Mexican GP to set record for wins in a season

Max Verstappen dominates Mexican GP to set record for wins in a season

Max Verstappen dominates Mexican GP to set record for wins in a season

Every bit a man at the top of his game, Max Verstappen had barely broken a sweat as he wrote his name into the Formula One record books. Untroubled and unruffled after climbing from his car, he might have just enjoyed a Sunday afternoon jaunt to the seaside. It was an image that might sum up his season. He took an unmatched campaign win tally and the race in his stride, just as he has already definitively sealed his second world championship.

The Dutchman’s win at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez was another dominant display albeit in an unremarkable race, a procession with Verstappen at the fore and unchallenged in beating the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton into second and his Red Bull teammate, Sergio Pérez, into third but with it came the magic number.

With his 14th win this year Verstappen has secured the record as the driver with the most victories across a single F1 season. In 20 races he has surpassed the tally previously held by Michael Schumacher, who took 13 from 18 races in 2004 and Sebastian Vettel, who took 13 from 19 in 2013. Verstappen has reached it with two races remaining.

Afterwards, standing in the amphitheatre of the stadium section before a roaring crowd, he enjoyed the moment but, unsurprisingly for this 25-year-old who has such huge ambitions in F1, he was already looking toward greater things.

“I never thought I would be able to win 14 races in a year, I am incredibly proud,” he said. “We’re definitely enjoying it and we’ll try to go for more.”

It would be foolhardy to bet against it at this stage. After a weekend when Mercedes had presented their best challenge this season Verstappen and Red Bull met it with insouciance. In the thin air of Mexico City Mercedes’ issue with drag was not as severe but Verstappen still held a real advantage in race pace and he exploited it ruthlessly and managed his tyres to perfection.

For Red Bull, too, the numbers also mounted up to formidable effect in Mexico. They have now won nine races in a row and have 16 from 20 this season, both records for the team. The furore over their budget cap breach cast a shadow over the weekend, with their protestations of an unjustly harsh penalty and other teams deriding the punishment as wholly inadequate, but on track their primacy remains indisputable – a point that doubtless fuels the dissatisfaction from rivals.

Lewis Hamilton (left) was second, with Sergio Pérez (right) third
Lewis Hamilton (left) was second, with Sergio Pérez (right) third Photograph: Luis Licona/EPA

This sense that the team are feeling embattled further intensified on Sunday . It is understood Verstappen and Red Bull are to boycott speaking to Sky Sports for an indefinite period as a reaction to the Sky presenter Ted Kravitz’s comment at the US GP that Lewis Hamilton had been “robbed” of an eighth world championship last year.

Verstappen confirmed that, despite all the success, he had indeed run out of patience. “This year has been a constant digging, being disrespectful, especially one particular person and it is enough, I don’t accept it,” he said. “If you keep disrespecting me I am not tolerating it any more and that is why I decided to stop answering.”

He had already done his talking on track. Mercedes had tried their best with a valiant effort on alternate tyre strategy that did not pay off against the pace of the Red Bull. The Mercedes gamble on taking hard rubber over Red Bull’s medium was a hopeful play but, with the degradation not as severe as expected, they could do nothing to take the fight to the world champion.

Mercedes, then, will be disappointed but are already looking to next season while Verstappen clearly has every intention of closing this one out by extending a win tally that will surely be hard to match.

George Russell was fourth for Mercedes and Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc fifth and sixth for Ferrari. Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris were seventh and ninth for McLaren, Esteban Ocon eighth for Alpine and Valtteri Bottas 10th for Alfa Romeo.



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