Maybe beating Max Verstappen is the wrong goal now. Maybe the objective for the world’s (second-best) drivers needs to pivot to something more modest, more achievable, in the short term.
Maybe, just maybe, if everything goes right and the car is fast and the nerves hold, another Formula 1 driver will find a way to lead a lap.
Just one would now qualify as a moment worthy of celebration.
Verstappen won yet another Formula 1 race on Sunday, finishing comfortably ahead of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. It was Verstappen’s third straight wire-to-wire victory, his fourth win in a row and his sixth win in eight races this season. (He was second in the other two.)
What might be more impressive, though, is the sheer dominance he has shown in recent weeks. Verstappen, the two-time world champion and the fastest car on the grid all season, now has led every lap run in Formula 1 since the late stages of the Miami Grand Prix on May 7 — 224 in a row and counting.
It is the longest such streak in the series since Nigel Mansell led for 235 consecutive laps in 1992, and it has drawn the Formula 1 record of 304 — set in 1952 by Alberto Ascari — into view.
Can Verstappen get there? Until someone gets in front of him, even for a lap, there’s no reason to think he cannot.
Red Bull by the Numbers
Verstappen’s win, and a welcome strong day by his teammate Sergio Pérez, who finished sixth, made it a memorable day for Red Bull Racing. Here are some of the numbers:
4 Consecutive wins this season by Max Verstappen.
6 Verstappen’s 2023 win total.
8 Wins for Red Bull, in eight races.
41 Verstappen’s career victory total, which tied him for fifth with Ayrton Senna. Lewis Hamilton’s record (103) is still out of reach.
100 Wins in Formula 1 by Red Bull.
224 Consecutive laps led by Verstappen this season, the fifth-longest such streak in Formula 1 history.
Sunday’s Race in Photos
Close finish Alonso, Hamilton and the rest of the field — beaten again — might be able to take heart in one statistic: Verstappen’s margin of victory was only 9.57 seconds, the smallest gap of a race completed at speed all season. Maybe Verstappen eased up at the end. (Unlikely.) Maybe his rivals are seeing some good signs from the upgrades they’ve been making. (More likely.) But in a season when Red Bull has won every race, that shrinking margin of victory must feel like an omen.
Tough defense Alex Albon was seventh for Williams, a brave defensive performance during which he drove more than 50 laps on the same set of aging tires. It was his best finish of the season.
Salvage job Charles Leclerc (fourth) and Carlos Sainz (fifth) saved Ferrari’s day on a miserable weekend that featured a grid penalty by Sainz and a diatribe by Leclerc in which he suggested on Saturday that the team was stumbling around in the dark looking for solutions on how to make up ground.
What They’re Saying
“I’m very happy right now.” — Verstappen, pretty much every week.
“We hoped to challenge a bit more, but we lost a place to Lewis at the start and then battled all race. It was like 70 qualifying laps.” — Alonso, on playing catch-up all day.
“It’s been a great weekend for us. We’re constantly chipping away.” — Hamilton, who was loving the Mercedes upgrades entering the weekend and wound up on the podium for the second race in a row.
Drivers’ Championship Standings
Verstappen’s lead is now 69 points over Pérez and 78 over Alonso. Except for Hamilton, every other driver is more than 100 points behind through eight races.