“We must keep on working,” says Max Verstappen after he trounced everyone at the past weekend’s 2023 Spanish Grand Prix. Sound familiar? It is a headline that could be attributed to Formula 1 greats, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and even Fernando Alonso.
A relentless need to keep their team on their toes, in a sport where dominance is common but mighty hard to retain. Schumacher enjoyed five glorious years with Ferrari, each race weekend we knew he was going to win or break down such was the manner in which he ruled F1 at the time.
Ditto Hamilton, a near decade of sheer dominance with Mercedes remembered by the great Briton always urging his team to find more, raise the bar fractionally with each race. Also Alonso, how he has galvanised the team, even at Ferrari, and for sure at Renault, he never stopped pushing.
Thus, after the Spanish demolished job, Verstappen is in good company when inadvertently he uttered the kind of words great F1 champions have ‘soundbited’ through the ages aka “Give me more and don’t stop!”
Speaking after his fifth Grand Prix victory of the season, the 40th of his incredible career in Formula 1 (and Red Bull for that matter) Verstappen said: “It’s a good period but we must keep on working and keep trying to find more performance. I’m happy in the car and I think the last few race weeks have been definitely a lot more positive for me.
“This is one weekend where I think it went really well, but we also know there are some other tracks that are not like this. So there’s still a lot of races to come where we will have to again perform really well,” added the 25-year-old Dutchman.
Max: I was laughing about it with Helmut
Reigning double F1 World Champion, Verstappen, after topping all Free Practice sessions took pole position (his first at Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya) then powered to an unchallenged and well control victory on Sunday afternoon. His third at the venue where he won his first Grand Prix back in 2016, his first race as an RBR driver.
Boring the race on Sunday in Barcelona it might’ve been, bored Max might’ve been but he did entertain by stretching track limits to a final warning and, cheekily, taking the point for the fastest lap during the process and the extra penalty hanging over him. In the end, his victory by 24 seconds, without being pushed hard, was telling on all fronts. He is on a planet of his own as his rivals claim.
Explaining the close call on white lines and the fastest lap shot when he was warned against it by his RBR race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase, Verstappen explained: “It happens sometimes. At some tracks, it’s a bit easier to do and I was struggling a little bit with the harder tyres to keep it within the white lines.
“They don’t know how much pace I have in the car when they tell me ‘Oh, this is the fastest lap, don’t bother’ – but I knew that I could do it. This is something I think we can laugh about already, I mean I was laughing about it with Helmut [Marko] after the race, so I’m pretty sure they’re quite happy,” added Verstappen.
The standings ahead of Round 7 of the 2023 F1 World Championship, the Canadian Grand Prix in two Sundays time, are sure to make the entire Red Bull pen extremely happy, with Verstappen in particular: