Max Verstappen felt he made only one glaring error in F1 2023, an “embarrassing” one at that as he drove into the Silverstone pit wall.
Verstappen is now free to reflect on a Formula 1 season like nothing seen before, where he set a standard that perhaps only he can beat in the years to come.
On his way to winning a third World Championship in succession, Verstappen claimed a record 19 grand prix wins out of 22 including a record-breaking 10-race winning streak. His final points tally of 575 was more than double that of Red Bull team-mate and closest challenger Sergio Perez.
Silverstone pit-lane botch only Max Verstappen error
Verstappen by his own admission is a driver who does not believe in perfection, telling Blick: “You can always do better. Sometimes you’re just less far away from perfection than usual.”
And such an example was when Verstappen hit the pit wall during qualifying for the British Grand Prix, damaging his front wing in the process.
That, Verstappen said, was his only and rather “embarrassing” major error of the season.
“I’ve only made one big mistake this year,” he said. “I drove into the pit wall at Silverstone. That’s rather embarrassing.”
Verstappen also referenced Singapore, the scene of Red Bull’s only grand prix defeat in F1 2023 as Carlos Sainz took the chequered flag for Ferrari.
There Verstappen said he made an error with the set-up on his Red Bull RB19, damage which could not be undone across the race as he crossed the line P5.
“But not everything went perfectly in Singapore either,” Verstappen added. “Unfortunately, I made a mistake with the set-up – and that’s what happened. Our only defeat in 2023 was perfect.”
Often getting out in front in a race, not to be seen again by his rivals, question marks were raised over how often Verstappen was actually pushed to the limit in F1 2023.
There were times when Red Bull indeed wanted him some way below said limit, orders not to chase the fastest lap bonus point causing some tension on the pit wall a couple of times when Verstappen took no notice.
The Spanish GP was one such example as Verstappen sat one warning away from a track limits time penalty, yet chased fastest lap anyway.
He said: “Normally everything is controlled from my side.
“I think even in Barcelona, when I already had three cautions for these track limits. Nevertheless, I said to myself, I have to have this fastest race lap, so don’t make another mistake.”
Verstappen goes into F1 2024 as overwhelming favourite to become a four-time World Champion, which would see him match Sebastian Vettel’s streak of four titles in a row with Red Bull between 2010-13.