Max Verstappen’s 10th straight win sets Formula One record

AP photo by Luca Bruno / Red Bull teammates Sergio Perez, right, and Max Verstappen celebrate after Formula One's Italian Grand Prix on Sunday in Monza. Verstappen won for the 10th race in a row, setting an F1 record, and Perez finished second in a dominant showing for their team.

MONZA, Italy — Max Verstappen, the two-time reigning Formula One champion and runaway leader in the points standings this season, secured a series-record 10th straight win Sunday at the Italian Grand Prix.

"That's a nice stat," Verstappen, after another flawless performance in a year packed with them, said on team radio immediately after the victory.

With teammate Sergio Perez 6.064 seconds behind as the runner-up, it gave Red Bull a one-two finish on Ferrari's home track.

Carlos Sainz Jr. was third, 11.193 seconds behind Verstappen and less than two-tenths of a second ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc as the two Ferrari drivers battled for the final spot on Monza's iconic podium.

George Russell was fifth, ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, despite both drivers receiving five-second penalties in separate incidents. Alex Albon matched his best finish of the season with seventh, while Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas completed the top 10.

A week after tying former Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel's record for consecutive wins, Verstappen made it all his own.

"I never would have believed that was possible, but we had to work for it today and that made it definitely a lot more fun," said Verstappen, who now has 47 career wins in F1.

The 25-year-old Dutchman had started second, behind Sainz, but got past him at the start of the 15th lap. From then on, just like the rest of the season, no one could match the Red Bull pace.

The record became all but a foregone conclusion as Verstappen began to pull away, swiftly building an advantage of more than five seconds five laps later.

"Very tough, very tough. It can't get any tougher than it was today," Sainz said. "To keep up with the Red Bulls, I paid the price with the rear tires but I did everything I could to defend."

Verstappen increased his huge lead in the battle for the 2023 season championship to 145 points, over Perez, in a crushingly dominant season. Through 14 races, Verstappen has won a dozen times as he close in on his own F1 record of 15 set last year. Perez was first in the other two races, although he hasn't won since the fourth date on the schedule, the Azerbaijan GP in late April.

There are eight races remaining for Red Bull to try to complete the first perfect year by an F1 team. Next on the schedule is the Singapore GP on Sept. 17.

"I'm very proud also of the whole team effort, the whole year already," Verstappen said. "What we are doing at the moment, winning every race this year, it's something that we definitely are enjoying because I don't think these kind of seasons come around very often.

"That's the same of course with winning 10 in a row."

This was the second straight victory at Monza for Verstappen. Before last year, he had never finished the Italian GP higher than fifth.

His record bid got off to a slightly delayed start, however, as Yuki Tsunoda went off on the formation lap with a suspected power unit failure. There had to be an aborted start and, with the drivers effectively doing three formation laps, the race was shortened by two laps.

Ferrari was hopeful of its first win at the Temple of Speed since 2019, and Sainz, who turned 29 on Friday, got off to a great start as he held off Verstappen into the first corner — much to the delight of the thousands of passionate red-clad tifosi.

Sainz managed to defend several attempts by Verstappen to get past in a tense fight between the two. That didn't last long, however, as Sainz locked his brakes going into the first chicane on the 15th lap, which allowed Verstappen to get past him on the exit and pull away.

Sainz was left to fend off Perez for second place, but he lost that battle with four laps remaining and was then forced to fight hard again to keep Leclerc behind for the final podium place.

"Very happy because a P3 in Monza in front of the tifosi is as good as it can get, at least for this weekend because clearly Red Bull were in the end quite a bit quicker than us today, as we expected," Sainz said. "It was a day to try, and I tried everything I could to keep them behind."