Soon-to-be triple Formula 1 World Champion and serial record-breaker, Max Verstappen hit back at Toto Wolff after the Mercedes F1 team boss downplayed the Red Bull driver’s record run of 10 GP wins in a row, saying it was irrelevant and just for Wikipedia.
Wolff made his comments after this month’s Italian Grand Prix, where Mercedes were beaten by both Ferraris as well as the two Red Bulls.
On Thursday, asked ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend for his reaction, Verstappen told reporters he was not disappointed: “They had a pretty shit race, so probably he was still pissed off with their performance. He almost sounds like he’s an employee of our team sometimes, but luckily not.”
Verstappen – who is 145 points clear of teammate Sergio Perez in the championship and set for a third title well before the end of the season – suggested Wolff should focus on his own team: “That’s what we did in the past as well, when we were behind them and when they were dominating
“I think you should be able to appreciate when a team is doing really well. Which I think we’ve done in the past, because it worked also as a kind of inspiration. To see someone that dominant, was very impressive at the time.
“We knew that we just had to work harder, try to be better and try to get to that level. And now that we are there, we are very happy of course that we are there and we are enjoying the moment,” added Verstappen.
The 25-year-old Dutch driver speaking on the eve of a race that could bring him an 11th win in a row and for his Red Bull team a 16th successive victory. The team could clinch the 2023 F1 constructors’ title in Singapore if the stars align and luck helps them along. If not then, for sure in Japan a week later that contest will be done and dusted. Max’s third title is sure to follow then too or soon thereafter.
Before Red Bull deposed them, Mercedes won a record eight F1 constructors’ titles in a row between 2014 and 2021, with Lewis Hamilton taking six of his seven championships with the team. A total of 15 F1 titles during a hitherto unmatched period of dominance in F1 history.
Hamilton is currently fourth in the standings, 200 points behind Verstappen who has never won in Singapore. The Briton’s teammate and compatriot George Russell, the last non-Red Bull driver to win a race, is seventh and 255 points off the lead. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)