Spa star Verstappen targets eighth win in row ahead of Dutch homecoming

spa star verstappen targets eighth win in row ahead of dutch homecoming

Max Verstappen will seek to extend his and Red Bull’s current sequence of record-breaking invincibility at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix ahead of spectacular Dutch homecoming next month.

After winning seven straight races and nine out of 11 this year, the Belgian-born defending double world champion, and runaway leader of this year’s title race, could make it eight on Sunday and then a record-equalling nine at Zandvoort next month.

Two more successive wins would take him level with former Red Bull driver and four-time champion Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 run of nine and extend his team’s record sequence to 13 and then 14.

Only five drivers have won seven races consecutively – Alberto Ascari, Michael Schumacher, Vettel, Nico Rosberg and now Verstappen – and the 25-year-old Dutchman’s current form makes it seem inevitable that he will go on winning.

Having won the last two Belgian races, he will be seeking a hat-trick as the majestic, fast and dangerous Spa-Francorchamps circuit, set in the Belgian Ardennes, hosts an F1 sprint race weekend for the first time.

“Spa is my favourite track, of course,” said Verstappen, echoing the thoughts of most drivers who love the sweeping fast corners of the longest circuit in use on the F1 calendar.

“So, I’m looking forward to racing there and seeing the fans – it should be a fun weekend. It’s our final push before the summer break.”

Early weather forecasts have warned of a wet weekend ahead, but that does not worry Verstappen.

“That’ll make it a bit more interesting and chaotic,” he said, oozing the kind of confidence created by driving a car that has turned him into a winning machine.

Not even the best efforts of his team-mate Sergio Perez have slowed Verstappen as he extended his lead in the drivers’ championship to 110 following last Sunday’s victory in Hungary, where Perez was third behind McLaren’s Lando Norris.

After a slump in form, notably in qualifying, Perez recovered at the Hungaroring and will hope to continue his good run at sprint race weekends with the revived McLaren team and Mercedes expected to be closest in pursuit.

Norris, who like Verstappen has a Belgian mother, will be seeking a third consecutive podium, while seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, who ended Verstappen’s run of five pole positions last weekend, will hope for a fifth victory in the Ardennes, where he has also suffered bad luck, but will be challenged by Mercedes team-mate George Russell.

The weekend’s practice and racing will be preceded on Thursday by a track run arranged by Alpine’s Pierre Gasly in memory of fellow-Frenchman Anthoine Hubert who was killed in a wet F2 race at the circuit in 2018.

All team staff and paddock regulars have been invited to take part.

The run follows widespread concern about racing in heavy rain following the death of Dutch teenager Dilano van’t Hoff earlier this month.

Authored by Afp via Breitbart July 26th 2023