Max Verstappen continued his march towards another world championship as he cruised to his eighth straight victory, while teammate Sergio Pérez finished in second to make it a fifth one-two of the season for Oracle Red Bull Racing at the 2023 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.
The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver mastered the wet conditions as he finished ahead of the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasley in the Alpine, securing an 11th victory of the season and equalling Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine wins in a row.
Verstappen said: “Incredible. They didn’t make it easy for us with the weather to make all the right calls. I’m incredibly proud. I’m going to enjoy this weekend. It’s always tough. The pressure is on to perform, and I’m very happy to win here.”
While it was another dominant display from Verstappen, team-mate Sergio Pérez had an up-and-down race, leading for a short period before dropping back, receiving a five-second penalty, and eventually finishing in fourth place.
Max Verstappen, Driver, Red Bull Racing
I feel extremely proud to win the Dutch Grand Prix again, and to win nine in a row is a massive achievement. I never thought it would be possible. It’s always amazing to be here, and the National anthem before the Grand Prix really gave me goosebumps. Of course, there were a lot of hectic moments today with the rain coming in, the race was all about trying to stay calm and make the right calls at the right time, and we did just that. There was a fantastic atmosphere here all weekend, and being at my home Grand Prix with all the fans makes this win feel even more special. I think everyone was completely soaked after that downpour, and still, they were listening and dancing to music and having a great time.
Sergio Pérez, Driver, Red Bull Racing:
It was such an unfortunate afternoon in the end, especially with the later calls. We got the first one right, and then when we boxed for the inters, things weren’t ready because I had to make such a late call due to the rain suddenly falling. When I was coming into the pitlane to box for inters, it was completely flooded. I lost traction in the car and ended up clipping the wall and sliding a little, which put me over the speed limit. You know a lot more after the race, but overall it’s an okay result, given the chaos of the afternoon. The Team always know the wider picture when they are making decisions in the race, and I don’t have all the information in the car; that’s why we have strategists, and everyone makes the calls in the interest of the Team. We had a good pace and definitely deserved a podium today, so it’s a shame we didn’t make it.
CHRISTIAN HORNER – CEO and Team Principal, Red Bull Racing
The rain was on and off throughout the whole race, but Max did an amazing job in the tricky conditions. He had an incredible drive having to come back through the field after his first pit stop, with some drivers staying out on the slick tyre and others pitting for the inters. Once everything settled down, he was able to build a lead and had everything under control. We knew the heavy rain towards the end was coming, and when you’re in first place, you have everything to lose, but Max had a great restart and secured first place with an excellent drive.
Checo made great progress coming from seventh on the grid and made a superb call to switch to the interns towards the start. The Team reacted super-fast, and he took the lead of the race. During the next cycle of pit stops, as the track started to dry, we had to bring Max in to avoid getting undercut. Sometimes you have to make big calls for the Team, and that was one of those moments. It’s a shame we couldn’t have Checo up on the podium following his penalty, as he deserved to be there, but with a race with so much drama and jeopardy, there are always things that we can reflect on.
In all, the Team had a very strong day, and for Max to match Seb Vettel’s record of nine consecutive victories, it’s incredible. The fact that we’ve achieved it twice now as a Team is something very special to us.