Having set a new record for the most race wins in a single season with his Mexican GP victory, Giedo van der Garde is convinced Max Verstappen will have 16 after Abu Dhabi.
Although the Red Bull driver’s season got off to a stuttered start, Verstappen recording two retirements in the first three races, there were signs of promise as he won the grand prix he did finish, Saudi Arabia.
That promise was realised at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the Dutchman on top of a Red Bull 1-2 while in total he’s now won 14 grands prix this season.
That’s a new record, breaking that set by Michael Schumacher in 2004 and equalled by Sebastian Vettel nine years later.
The question now is can Verstappen kick on? Van der Garde says yes.
“I expect he will take two more, and that he will have a record of 16 grand prix wins,” the Viaplay analyst told Motorsport.com. “No doubt.
“You know what it is the guy is doing such a good job. He’s just a hero.
“He has everything under control, is so relaxed and it looks so easy. I myself know how difficult that is.
“It is unbelievable what we are now experiencing in the Netherlands. A World Champion, a Constructors’ champion, a new record with fourteen wins. I think he’s really going for those 16 GP wins.”
Van der Garde says Verstappen set himself up for the win in Mexico with his pole position, helped by the fact that the Red Bull is a faster car than the Mercedes that lined up P2 and three.
“I think it’s the start,” said the former F1 driver turned pundit.
“When you know you’re starting from pole, you know it’s hard to get through the first corner because of the slipstream the others have.
“The advantage was that the Mercedes were not as fast as the Red Bulls.
“Because Max was in first place after three corners, he was able to control the race, manage his tyres and manage the gap with Hamilton. I think that was the key.”
He added: “I also think that as a driver when you first take the Drivers’ title, then the Constructors’ title and now the record, you’re in a flow and have so much confidence that everything will go smoothly.”
Red Bull drivers hold the 1-2 in the standings after Mexico with Sergio Perez’s third place on the day putting him five points ahead of Charles Leclerc.
“I think they’ve maxed out, especially if you look at Ferrari who were nowhere at all,” he said.
“If you can still score extra points, and you now have Perez second in the championship, it’s nice to go into those last races like this.”
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