Monza: Runaway Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen celebrated a record 10th win in a row by leading Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez one-two at Ferrari’s home Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Dutch driver’s victory on a sunny afternoon at Monza’s “Temple of Speed” outside Milan was also Red Bull’s 15th in succession — a Formula One record previously held by Ferrari.
Spaniard Carlos Sainz was third for the Italian team, his first podium of the season cheered by the passionate fans, after starting on pole position and holding off Verstappen until the 15th of 51 laps.
Verstappen stretched his lead in the standings over Perez to 145 points with eight rounds remaining. Red Bull lead Mercedes in the constructors’ championship by 310 points with Ferrari moving up to third.
“Well done mate, you are on your own, that is history,” team boss Christian Horner told Verstappen over the radio after he took the chequered flag.
“That is remarkable, be proud.” “Yeah, that’s a nice stat,” replied the 25-year-old, who repeated his win from last year.
Charles Leclerc was fourth for Ferrari with George Russell fifth for Mercedes and team mate and seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton sixth.
Alex Albon took seventh for Williams ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas for Alfa Romeo.
Verstappen had equalled now-retired German Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 record of nine wins in a row, also achieved with Red Bull, at his home Dutch Grand Prix last weekend and is set to add further to the tally.
He now has 12 wins from the 14 races this year, with Red Bull’s astonishing run of success dating from Abu Dhabi at the end of last season, and a career tally of 47.
Few had expected Sainz to hold on to the lead for long, given the Red Bull’s race pace, but the Spaniard fought hard with Verstappen showing some frustration at being unable to scythe past.
“That was naughty,” he said over the radio as Sainz shut the door on one attempt on lap six. “Good move” Ferrari told Sainz in response.
Verstappen was commenting on Ferrari’s top speed three laps later and still had to wait for his chance. Once done, he pulled away and was already 3.8 seconds clear by lap 18.
Perez, meanwhile, had to come from fifth on the grid, after the start was aborted and delayed after Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri pulled over on the first formation lap, and it took him 32 laps to move onto the podium by passing Leclerc.
Sainz again made it hard but the Mexican finally made a move stick on lap 46.
The two Ferraris then went wheel to wheel in a thrilling final few laps that could have ended in disaster.