By Score More
Max Verstappen of Red Bull is on the verge of securing a remarkable 10th consecutive Formula One victory this Sunday. Despite his impressive streak, those hoping for a different winner at Monza can take solace in historical precedents.
Verstappen, the Dutch driver, has opened up a commanding lead of 138 points over his teammate Sergio Perez after completing 13 out of 22 races. He recently triumphed in his home race in Zandvoort, achieving a milestone by equaling Sebastian Vettel’s nine-race winning streak from 2013, also with Red Bull.
Last year, Verstappen defied the odds by winning the Italian Grand Prix from the seventh position on the starting grid, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc starting from pole position but finishing second.
Red Bull has maintained an unbroken winning streak this season, securing victory in all 14 races, including the 2022 season finale in Abu Dhabi. They are once again the favorites at Monza’s high-speed circuit. However, it’s worth noting that no team has ever gone undefeated in a season for more than 10 races.
Monza has proven to be a challenging circuit for some dominant teams in the past. In 1988, McLaren, who had won 15 out of 16 races that year, faced defeat at Monza when Austrian driver Gerhard Berger led Ferrari teammate Michele Alboreto to a one-two finish, just four weeks after the death of Enzo Ferrari.
Since Lewis Hamilton’s fifth Italian Grand Prix victory with Mercedes in 2018, no driver has managed to achieve back-to-back wins in the iconic Monza circuit located outside Milan.
Although talk of a ‘Monza jinx’ may be premature, this season has seen fans grasping at straws for any sign of change. Until last year, Max Verstappen had never stood on the Monza podium.
Ferrari faced disappointment at Zandvoort with only one car finishing, driven by Carlos Sainz, who secured a fifth-place finish. The team is eager to provide their passionate ‘tifosi’ fans with something to celebrate. Ferrari Principal Fred Vasseur expressed their determination to perform flawlessly during the weekend.
The upcoming race at Monza will be the second trial of the ‘Alternative Tyre Allocation’ format, where each driver is limited to 11 sets of tires, including three hard, and four each of the medium and soft compounds.
This European race marks the beginning of a series that includes stops in Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East. Monza takes on special significance as the first race in Italy this year after the cancellation of the Imola race in May due to flooding.
Behind Red Bull, a familiar battle is expected among teams like Aston Martin, McLaren, Mercedes, and Alpine to secure the title of ‘best of the rest.’
McLaren’s Lando Norris has a positive outlook on Monza, considering it a good track for his team in the past. For Pierre Gasly, who resides in Milan, this race holds particular significance as a de facto home race and one that is close to his heart. After finishing third in Zandvoort behind Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, Gasly is carrying confidence and momentum into the upcoming challenge.