Max Verstappen’s jibe at Lewis Hamilton as he racks up career win 44

Thomas Maher
Max Verstappen overtakes Lewis Hamilton. Hungary July 2023

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen overtakes Lewis Hamilton. Hungary July 2023

Max Verstappen is eager to quickly add to his F1 career win tally, after scoring his 44th victory at the Hungaroring.

The Dutch driver claimed his seventh consecutive F1 victory by taking the win at the Hungarian Grand Prix, after getting the better of Lewis Hamilton on the run down to Turn 1 as the former title rivals lined up beside each other on the front row.

Verstappen’s win was the 12th in a row for Red Bull as a constructor, taking them one clear of the record set by McLaren back in 1988.

Max Verstappen: 44 wins would be terrible!

With Verstappen and Red Bull unstoppable en route to a third consecutive world title, he couldn’t resist a little dig at Hamilton’s expense as he spoke to the media after the win.

Having racked up his 44th career win, the number made famous by Hamilton’s use of it as his F1 career number, Verstappen said he wants to move on from that tally as quickly as possible.

“Hopefully, I don’t stay on 44. That would be terrible!” he smiled, as his comment was met with laughter in the press conference.

“Yeah, I need to get to 45 quickly!”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Explained: How the budget cap rules are enforced by the FIA

Max Verstappen car collection: What supercars does the F1 World Champion own?

Having got the better of the Mercedes driver on the launch off the starting grid, Verstappen explained the decisive start from his perspective.

“I think as soon as I released the clutch, immediately I felt like I had good bite, no wheelspin like in Silverstone,” he said.

“Good run, then I knew of course I had the inside and that was going to be my corner in Turn 1. We braked quite late but then yeah, did my thing through Turn 2 as well, and from then onwards, I could just build up the pace slowly.”

There was further numbers-related japery later in the press conference, as Verstappen and Lando Norris were asked to rate each other’s season out of 10.

“You weren’t on pole yesterday, so I’ll give you a seven,” Norris said. “That let down… five. I mean, you’re 4.4!”

Verstappen responded with: “I was expecting 6.9”, to which Norris replied: “9.69 for Max.”

What changed for Max Verstappen between Qualifying and the Grand Prix?

Having been unhappy with the handling of his RB19 for most of the weekend, only for the Dutch driver to unleash a 34-second victory on Sunday, Verstappen was asked why there was such a difference between single-lap handling and that of the race.

“We tried a few different things with the car in terms of set-up in qualifying, which probably worked very well for today,” he said.

“But I mean, we tried so many things throughout the whole weekend, and it never worked on one lap.

“So it might have also been that we just didn’t make our tyres work well over one lap. Because you know, in the race, everything heats up and it runs hotter for a long period of time.

“So yeah, you need probably very different balance for that and basically yesterday it was understeering a lot, today it’s warmer, ambient and track, so probably it all came to me anyway. And that’s why I probably had such a nice balance today.”

Read More: Renault receive Red Bull support on engine equalisation ahead of crucial F1 meeting