The reigning double world champion, Max Verstappen, has clinched his 10th consecutive win in grand prix races. This milestone propels him past his Red Bull predecessor, Sebastian Vettel, and Alberto Ascari. Completing this feat at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix earlier this month did not turn out to be as awe-inspiring as his unfailing consistency on the track in the eyes of Ferrari‘s head, Vasseur.
Vasseur views the unbroken string of error-free seasons by the Dutch racer as his key strength. He stated, “What is impressive is that, for sure, [Red Bull] always had mega pace. From Monza to Monaco, you can cover all the aspects of the track – they were performant and this is impressive.”
Apart from Red Bull‘s formidable speed, it’s Verstappen’s consistent, high-caliber performances that truly stand out for Vasseur. He said, “Max, it’s not just about the last 10 races, but it’s about the last two years. I would say that he didn’t do a single mistake. It’s easier to not do mistakes when you have margin on the others and so on. But even in this kind of circumstances, he is able to manage the situation very well.”
He specifically pinpointed the race at Monza, where a subtle approach by the second-positioned Verstappen caused Carlos Sainz to lock up at the first chicane. This timely move allowed Verstappen to delay Sainz’s corner exit and smoothly overtake the Ferrari driver.
According to Vasseur, “He put some pressure on Carlos, but never too much. He didn’t take risk and he knew that he had a difference of pace and he was convinced… that if it’s not possible during the first stint, it will be around the pitstop. I was not very, very confident in the fight with Max after lap 10 when I saw that the pace was there and they had no degradation. I thought it will be quite difficult”
He lauded Verstappen, “In this kind of race, he was the most impressive, to not do a single mistake over two seasons. It’s just mega.”
Ferrari had equipped their vehicles with a new engine and an assertive low-drag package hoping to edge out Red Bull in the Italian GP. Carlos Sainz came third and Charles Leclerc secured the fourth position.
When asked whether the RB19s can be beaten, Vasseur responded optimistically, “After a weekend like that, you can say that we are not that far away. Perhaps in terms of pace during the weekend, one or two tenths, not much more to stay in front. But it is like it is. They are still in front and both of them they are not doing mistakes this weekend.”
He added, “I was expecting that putting Max under pressure or into the fight he could do some mistake, but it was not the case at all again. But let’s try again. Let’s be a bit more performant to stay close to the two Red Bull and it will be the best way to fight and perhaps to put them a little bit more under pressure.”