Formula 1

Verstappen takes fifth win in a row with Monza victory: “You have to try and be as perfect as you can be”

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Credit: Dan Mullan / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen took victory at the Italian Grand Prix, quickly overcoming his five-place grid penalty to take his fifth consecutive win. 

Verstappen said that avoiding a first lap incident was at the front of his mind after his seventh place start. He was, however, able to gain up to five positions in the opening lap, putting himself in a stellar position to battle pole-sitter Charles Leclerc for the win. 

“The first lap I had to be careful but we had a good start and were clean through the first chicane and for me that was the most important thing, to stay out of trouble. Then we were very quickly back up to P3 and even into P2, then I could set my sights on Charles and I could see we had better tyre degradation.”

Ultimately, Red Bull’s strategy won out against Ferrari’s in Monza, as Verstappen was leading when a late-race safety car was brought out to recover Daniel Ricciardo’s car after an engine failure. The race ended under safety car conditions, denying Leclerc the chance to fight for a grandstand finish and solidifying Verstappen’s victory. 

Verstappen said that the team was “comfortably the quickest” on Sunday and is proving to be one of the most consistent on the grid. With yet another victory under his belt, the championship is already Verstappen’s for the taking with several races still to go in the 2022 season. 

“Overall if you look at the pace of our car this weekend, especially today, I think we were strong. The pace was good on every tyre and we were comfortably the quickest on the track. You have to try and be as perfect as you can be and on most occasions this season, we have been pretty good.”

“For me it wasn’t a good weekend and we have plenty to do” – Sergio Perez

Team-mate Sergio Perez started from thirteenth after taking a grid penalty, and moved up to finish in sixth place. Perez wasn’t satisfied with the result, however, having lost out on a higher finish as he had to manage overheating brakes that nearly cost him his entire race. 

“My race got compromised fairly early when my front right brake disk got super-hot and was basically on fire, so we had to make the decision to pitstop. The first laps on the hard I couldn’t get any temperature into the tyres because I had to lift and coast, I was losing a lot of lap time and my first stint was compromised.”

That affected my whole race and I had to massively manage my breaks, it was critical at that point because I could have lost them and had to retire the car.

As well, the Mexican driver was disappointed that the race ended under neutralized conditions, which kept him from battling for fifth with Lewis Hamilton on his more competitive tyres. 

“In the end we boxed thinking we could get Lewis back on the softs but unfortunately the safety car meant we didn’t get the chance. I had better tyres than Lewis so it would have been good to get the restart but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.” 

After what he felt was a difficult weekend, Perez will be going back to work after Monza to prepare for the races to come. 

“For me it wasn’t a good weekend and we have plenty to do, I am back on the simulator tomorrow and trying to get back into a good rhythm straight away.” 

Credit: Peter Fox / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
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