Max Verstappen says the record he set with his latest victory in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix has little impact on him as he is simply trying to soak in his dominant spell.
The Red Bull driver won his 17th race of the year at Interlagos, doing so from 20 of the 22 races so far, to ensure he will finish the season with at least a 77.2 percent win percentage – beating the previous best of 75 percent held by Alberto Ascari. Despite breaking a record that has stood for 71 years, Verstappen says he’s more focused on making the most of having a car capable of regular victories.
“It’s not about that,” Verstappen said. “I mean, it’s not something that when I joined Formula 1 I thought ‘I need to have a 75 percent win record over a season’. These kinds of things come along when everything just works really well.
“I feel good in the car, the car is very competitive, and the team barely makes mistakes as well. So then you can get a season like we are having. So for me it’s more about just enjoying the moment and trying to maximize every single opportunity.
Alberto Ascari’s 75 percent wins record has stood since 1952, where he won six from eight races, having only entered seven. Motorsport Images
“I don’t mind fighting but I’ve also done many years in F1 where you win two races a year and the rest you are driving to be P5, so I’m just enjoying the moment and embracing it and also enjoying driving of course up front with a bit of a gap.”
And Verstappen insists his latest win was far from simple as Lando Norris was able to push him for the majority of the race, even attacking him for the lead twice early on.
“He suddenly closed a lot. I didn’t expect him to have a run into Turn 1, but I had to use my battery a bit. And for one lap, into 1, into 4, I had to defend. And then I had to try and maintain that gap. But I think what also was very important at that stage of the stint was to really look after the tires. To make sure that you have a good lap to pit.
“I think it was good. Maybe it looks fully easy from the outside, but I think for most of every stint, Lando was matching my lap-times. It was always like the last five to ten laps when it seemed like then we had better tire deg. But yeah, the beginning of every stint, I definitely had to focus a lot and I couldn’t afford to make mistakes.
“Around here with the high deg as well, it’s not the easiest to drive. It’s not like you can just relax and let the car just roll into the corners without any consequence. You had to be really on it. Luckily, everything we did, also strategy-wise, pit stops, were good. So, very happy about that.”