Max Verstappen says “it would be nice” for Red Bull to match McLaren’s record of consecutive wins

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Max Verstappen breaks down the positives and negatives of the RB19 and acknowledges the team’s overall lack of upgrades so far in 2023 as he heads into the British Grand Prix weekend on a five race winning streak.

Max Verstappen greets his fans at the 2023 British Grand Prix
Photo credit: Red Bull Racing

It’s been apparent since very early on in 2023 that Red Bull have a significant pace advantage over their rivals. However, the reigning champions seem to be slow to introduce upgrades to the RB19 while still comfortably outpacing those around them race to race.

“We are understanding our car race after race…”

Max Verstappen acknowledged the team’s upgrade schedule ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, noting that while the team haven’t introduced any major changes to their 2023 car, they have been periodically adding minor upgrades. The two time champion believes a consistent upgrade plan is key to maximising performance throughout the long season.

“I think we had a great start to the year,” he acknowledged. “I also think we are understanding our car race after race a bit better. What we want, what we need. But we are not standing still. It is true maybe other teams speak a bit more about updates and bigger upgrades from one to the other race but we’ll still bring some stuff as well.

“That’s really necessary to stay ahead I think. It’s definitely a good sign that, I think, we’ve done less than some of our competitors, that’s quite clear, and we still have a good margin. Of course at some tracks it’s a bit bigger than others, but overall it’s a strong base package we have and we just always have to make sure we get all of the potential out of it.”

“The margin was a bit smaller at Monaco.”

Verstappen was quizzed on the team’s evident pace improvement on permanent circuits compared to street tracks, where we have seen other team’s draw much closer in terms of pace. While Red Bull still seem to hold their advantage, Verstappen admits the RB19 is less suited to the bumpy surfaces characteristic of street tracks than the smoother tarmac indicative of permanent circuits.

“I think that’s just how our car works,” Verstappen replied when asked about the extra advantage the RB19 seems to show on permanent circuits. “On street circuits, a lot of bumpy tracks, I think our car is not as fantastic. That’s why I think also the margin was a bit smaller at Monaco. Probably it wasn’t fantastic in Montreal as well for example.

“We know that there is still a few street circuits coming up where potentially, again, it’ll be a little bit harder for us.”

“I wasn’t on the limit on that lap.”

Verstappen was also asked about his final lap – fastest lap at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, with the Dutchman playing down his efforts and claiming he did not push the car to it’s limits in order to clinch the fastest lap point at the end of the Grand Prix.

“To be honest, I only needed to go four hundredths faster, so still I wasn’t on the limit on that lap,” he replied. “You also want to keep it within the lines. They were very strict on the white lines. So once I saw that after [turn] 3 or 4 I was already seven tenths up, I was like ‘that should be enough’. Of course it came a little more in the high speed but nothing too crazy.”

“Our car is probably better and more competitive than last year.”

When asked if he was more motivated to win the British Grand Prix this weekend, having suffered a big crash and DNF in 2021 as well as a damage limited run in 2022, Verstappen denied this. The Red Bull man also highlighted the fact that he won the race in 2020.

He also went on to play down his interest in breaking records, notably McLaren’s 11 race win streak which has stood since 1988, noting that he isn’t particularly interested in the figures associated with the sport.

“Not really [any extra motivation},” Verstappen said. “I mean I won in 2020. Sometimes you have a bit of bad luck like last year, but we know that our car is probably better and more competitive than last year. So I’m just looking forward to the weekend and hopefully we can have a good result.

“It would be nice,” he admits, on equalling McLaren’s record of 11 straight wins — achieved in 1988 — this weekend. “But at the end of the day what you remember is if you win the championship or not right? That is for me the most important. If it happens it happens, it’s great. I’m not really into the numbers too much, but maybe for the team it’s nice.”