Record-breaking Verstappen relentlessly chasing fifteenth victory and criticizing sprint races

The other 19 Formula 1 drivers should now be bothered. Breaking Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel’s records after fourteen wins in a season, Max Verstappen wants only one thing in Brazil: to take his next shot.

“I want to win as many races as possible. I am happy that we are taking a break after this month, but it is still my priority.”

“The fifteenth win of the season? We definitely have a good chance here. This track should suit us before the penultimate weekend of the racing season,” the two-time world champion in São Paulo predicts.

Last season, the 25-year-old Dutchman was surpassed by seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton in Brazil. “We weren’t fast enough back then. Now it’s a different story,” he says confidently.

Impressive past

Verstappen’s Palmares in the Autodromo José Carlos Pace is impressive. He won the Grand Prix in 2019 and managed to finish the podium in 2016, 2018 and 2021. It likes the twisty, rolling asphalt strips on the outskirts of the metropolis. “I think it’s a great track. It’s a very short course with a lot of elevation changes and I like it.”

“There aren’t many corners, but they’re nice and tough,” says Verstappen of the track that has captivated the world’s best riders for over eighty years. “There is a lot of motorsport history in this place and the passion of the fans makes it a great event. Every driver loves this track.”

double evil eye

Verstappen and Red Bull Racing already have both world titles (drivers and builders), but the team is looking to finish the season in style with victories in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. “We want to be first and second in the World Cup final standings. Red Bull Racing has never been like this before so we have to make sure we mix Sergio Pérez with Charles Leclerc.”

The gap between Verstappen’s Mexican teammate and the Ferrari driver is minimal: five points in favor of Pérez. “I have a lot more to gain in the next races. Even though we won both championships, the team is still highly motivated.” The 32-year-old Mexican reacted.

World Cup tableau with Pérez five points ahead of Leclerc

“My second finish means a lot to me personally. So the remaining races are important and the pressure is on. I have to do my best, score as many points as I can here and crown the season in Abu Dhabi. F1 is the best season of my career and I want to do even better next year.”

Pérez was third in the previous Grand Prix in Mexico City, well ahead of Leclerc, but he wasn’t happy about it. “I felt like there was so much more to my home race than that. Here we need to fix that and show our true speed. I am optimistic. If we set up the car well, we are the team that will be defeated.”

Verstappen doesn’t like sprint races

Pérez could be a big hit in Brazil as it’s Saturday’s sprint race. Instead of the usual 26, this race weekend has 34 World Cup points to collect. “Sprint will be an important half hour for me. A win earns eight points, but the result also determines the starting position for the race. It’s very important to get out of the starting blocks well in qualifying on Friday. Then I make it a lot less difficult for myself.”

Red Bull is currently first and second in World Championship position

Sprint races are an experiment in F1 leadership. Controversial, but the trend seems to be turning: There are six on the calendar next season, not three. Verstappen has won the last two sprints in Austria and Emilia-Romagna but is still out of favor. “I don’t think these are real races. No pit stops, no strategy. You see very little passing maneuvers and very little action. I don’t like it.”

Verstappen says he’s not in enough danger in sprint races. “You’re fighting for a few World Championship points. That’s why nobody really takes risks. You’re just trying to avoid damage. The risks of a risky maneuver do not outweigh what they can bring. Sunday’s Grand Prix is ​​much more important and everyone is playing it safe. Sprint racing is really just an extra start. That’s the only excitement.”

“It is much better for me to leave things as they are. The current setup, which consists of three training sessions, a qualifying session, and a race, works well. I haven’t seen and can’t see any reason to change that, but I won’t talk about it. And when the next year is six, we’ll see how everyone reacts. Of course, I will try to win them all.”

Source: NOS