- Web Desk
- 5 Hours ago
Motor racing-Verstappen ‘simply untouchable’ as he heads for record win
- Web Desk
- Aug 28, 2023
LONDON, (Reuters): Red Bull team boss Christian Horner hailed Max Verstappen as “simply untouchable” after he secured a record-equalling ninth win in a row on Sunday and even his closest rivals were inclined to agree.
Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who finished second for Aston Martin at Zandvoort in a race that went from dry to wet and back again, said the 25-year-old Dutch driver was operating on a higher level.
“It is underestimated sometimes what Max is achieving,” Alonso, also a double Formula One world champion but whose 32nd and last win was with Ferrari in 2013, told reporters.
“I think you need to enter in a mood, in a state that you are connected with a car.
“Today, I felt that I was at my best and have been giving 100% of what I felt and my abilities on a racing car, but maybe in Spa I was not at that level or in Austria or something like that.
“I think Max is achieving that 100% more often than us at the moment, than any of the drivers, so that’s why he’s dominating.”
Verstappen has won 11 of the season’s 13 races, 20 of the last 24, and the only lingering doubt about his third world championship is where he will secure it and with how many rounds to spare.
He can take his record 10th win in a row at Italy’s Monza next weekend.
Red Bull have won everything this year, a run that stretches to 14 in a row when the 2022 Abu Dhabi season-ender is added to the list.
Formula One has always split opinions on the relative importance of car and driver, with the current Red Bull the best by some margin in the current field, but Verstappen is pushing to new heights.
Mexican Sergio Perez, with an identical car, is 138 points behind his teammate after 13 races and did not make the podium on Sunday due to a pitlane speeding penalty — the fifth time he has finished outside the top three this season.
Perez is a six-times Grand Prix winner, twice this season, and was challenging Verstappen until May when it all fell apart.
Verstappen did not have it all his own way on Sunday, falling behind after the rain fell and Perez pitted first, but he set about getting back to the front with speed and determination.
Horner told reporters winning nine in a row was “insane” and he was most impressed by how Verstappen had handled the pressure of racing in front of a home crowd of 100,000 expecting no less than a dominant performance.
“A lot would have cracked under that pressure and he kept his composure and delivered as he’s done so many times,” he said.
“I think Max is in a period of his career where he’s just simply untouchable and I don’t think there’s any driver on the grid that would be able to achieve what he’s been doing in that car.
“What we are witnessing at the moment is a driver that is generational…he’s been in incredible form for about the last three years now.”