Verstappen had to “force a mistake” from Sainz for a 10th consecutive F1 win at the Italian GP

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Max Verstappen says he had to face a “force a mistake” from Carlos Sainz early on in the 2023 Italian GP due to Ferrari’s “very quick” top speed, on his way to a record-breaking 10th consecutive race win of the season, and said he “never would have believed” he could achieve this incredible feat.

Photo Credits: Oracle Red Bull Racing

The Dutchman started the race in second place and closely followed Carlos Sainz for the first 15 laps of the race, before a huge lock-up into the first chicane put the Spaniard on the backfoot through the next few turns and enabled the Red Bull driver to get through.

Verstappen explained he had to “force” Sainz into a mistake given he was unable to pass the Ferrari down the main straight due to the SF-23 proving to be “very quick on the straight”:

“They were just really quick on the straight, I think they had good top speed all weekend.

“Our rear wing was a bit trimmed down, so our DRS effect was a bit less [effective] this weekend, and that just made it a little harder to get a really good run into turn one.

“I just had to stay patient, I tried to just force him into a mistake by braking really late every time, and at one point when his tyres were running out, he did lock up a tiny bit and then I just had a really good run out of turn two.

“I think Carlos’ rear tyres were gone so he just had a lot of wheelspin.”

Victory at Monza increases the Dutchman’s incredible win streak even further, as he now achieves 10 consecutive race wins and surpasses the long-standing record from Sebastian Vettel and Alberto Ascari to become the first driver in history to win 10 in a row.

He said he “never would have believed” he could achieve such a record, and believes that doing so in Monza is “pretty special”:

“I never would have believed that it was possible,” he said of his incredible record-breaking run of 10 consecutive grand prix victories. “We had to work for it, and that made it definitely a lot more fun.

“It’s of course something I’m very happy with, something that you don’t even think about trying to achieve, because it’s very unlikely that those kind of things happen.

“[I’m] very proud that it happened, and in general very proud for the team as well. The whole year so far has been pretty incredible, but also to win here at Monza, I think it’s pretty special.”

Despite winning in comfortable fashion, all was not well in his RB19 in the closing stages of he race, he revealed. Verstappen was told over the radio by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to “increase the gap” to Pierre Gasly’s Alpine as he approached the Frenchman to lap him in the final few laps, indicating an “urgent” need to stay away from the dirty air of the Alpine. He lost over six seconds to team-mate Sergio Perez in the process.

“Everything felt good. We had to nurse a little issue at the end, but luckily we had a gap behind and I could easily back out,” said the championship leader.

Verstappen now has a 145-point gap to his team-mate Sergio Perez in the championship, and could win the title as early as the Japanese GP in late September.