Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands (pictured on July 21, 2023).
Monza (Italy) – Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen will aim for a record-tying 10th straight win at the Italian Grand Prix this weekend. The undisputed championship leader , who leads the standings by 138 points ahead of teammate Sergio Pérez and is aiming for his third championship title in a row, would definitively break Sebastian Vettel's record from 2013. At the same time, he is defending last year's championship in the “temple of speed” in Monza.
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“I'm looking forward to returning to Italy, as are all their passionate fans. Motorsport has a strong history in this country, so it's always great to race there,” Verstappen said. “Monza is a fast track where you reach a high top speed. It's different from Zandvoort, where we raced last time. I believe I can extend that streak of nine wins,” he added.
Twenty-five-year-old Verstappen won 11 races out of 13 in the season. The last time he met the conqueror was in April's Grand Prix of Azerbaijan, where he finished second behind Pérez. Red Bull is aiming for the 15th triumph in a row, with which he would break his own record. In addition to all this year's races, the ambitious team also won the final Grand Prix of last season in Abu Dhabi. Together, Christian Horner's team has won 23 of the last 24 races.
Although Verstappen is clearly dominating Formula 1 this year, he needs to be careful in Italy. Last year he won in Monza after starting from seventh place, but until then he was waiting for the first podium on the traditional circuit. The last driver to defend his triumph here was Lewis Hamilton in 2018. Monza is also the track where McLaren's streak of eleven wins ended in 1988, which Red Bull surpassed this year.
He will start the race in special colors the home Ferrari team, which will pay tribute to this year's triumph in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The famous team from Maranello believes that they will attack as high as possible in front of the home crowd. In the Constructors' Cup, it is currently fourth behind Red Bull, Mercedes and Aston Martin. “We want to drive this weekend perfectly in every way, so that our drivers get everything out of the car,” said team boss Frédéric Vasserur.
The Italian Grand Prix is also the last European race of the season. After that, the Formula 1 championship will move to Asia, North and South America and the Middle East. It will also be the first race of the year on the Apennine Peninsula after May's Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna in Imola was canceled due to flooding.
The program will traditionally open on Friday with two practice sessions. Saturday's third round will be followed by qualifying from 4:00 p.m. The race will start one hour earlier on Sunday.