Max Verstappen wrote his name in Formula One’s history books on Sunday after winning a record-breaking 10th straight race, coming out on top at the Italian Grand Prix in another show of force from Red Bull.
Reigning world champion Verstappen dominated on a beautiful day in northern Italy which left Ferrari fans disappointed, with Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez finishing second ahead of home hope and pole-sitter Carlos Sainz.
Red Bull hailed a “stroll in the park” after a brilliant one-two which extended Verstappen’s lead on Perez at the top of the drivers’ standings to 145 points and also maintained a perfect team record of 14 wins from as many GPs this season.
“I never would have believed that it (the record) was possible but we had to work for it today, that definitely made it a little bit more tough,” said Verstappen.
“I was just trying to stay patient. It was a very long race I could see they were sliding a lot with the rear tyres so I just had to pick my moment.”
Spaniard Sainz crossed more than 11 seconds behind Verstappen despite a valiant performance in an exciting race.
The red sea of home fans loudly chanted “Carlos, Carlos” in appreciation of Sainz’s first podium finish of the year, just ahead of fellow Ferrari man Charles Leclerc, the last Scuderia driver to win at Monza in 2019.
“It can’t get any tougher than it was today,” said a disappointed Sainz.
“Honestly the whole race was pushing us very hard to keep the Red Bulls behind us and that obviously made me use the rear tyres a lot… in the end I ended up paying the price.”
Verstappen has now won 12 of this season’s races and is all but certain to claim his third consecutive F1 title after breaking a record he shared with Sebastian Vettel by winning in Zandvoort last weekend.
The Dutch driver made it 10 in a row in a race which was delayed by 20 minutes and cut to 51 laps after Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri car suffered a power-unit failure during the pre-race formation lap.
Pole-sitter Sainz knew he had to keep Verstappen at bay in the opening two corners just after lights out and he draw a massive cheer from the stands once he was round the third Biassono turn and still ahead.
Verstappen was practically attached to Sainz’s rear with Leclerc pursuing close behind in support of his teammate.
But Sainz’s resistance ended at the start of lap 15 when Verstappen pounced on a slow exit from the first corner and surged into the lead.
Verstappen was back in front 10 laps later after a round of pit stops, blowing past Lewis Hamilton and showing the rest of the field and clean pair of heels.
With first place all-but sewn up Ferrari battled to keep the two other podium sports but Perez slipped past Sainz at the start of lap 45 to demonstrate Red Bull’s dominance.
All that was left was for Ferrari’s pair to do battle for a spot on the podium, with Sainz just holding on after another race in which no-one could handle Red Bull’s power.
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