Max Verstappen reveals what is next after record-breaking 16th win of the season

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen smiling as he pulls off his fireproofs.

Max Verstappen smiles under his balaclava.

After Max Verstappen claimed a record-breaking 16th win of his F1 2023 campaign in Mexico, will the distant competition get some respite? Of course not, he wants “17, 18.”

When Verstappen set a new bar by claiming 15 wins across the 2022 season, already it seemed like a benchmark which would be near-impossible to challenge, but one year on, Verstappen has already set a higher standard.

Taking the chequered flag in Mexico to complete a fresh dominant display, that marked victory number 16 of the season.

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Red Bull set themselves up for a two-stop race by pitting Verstappen earlier than the chasing pack, though the red flag period, following Kevin Magnussen’s heavy crash, meant that strategy did not play out on the track.

Nonetheless, Verstappen had the pace on the hard tyres to re-establish control when the race resumed, securing a win which never felt in doubt.

Asked post-race by 2009 World Champion Jenson Button how it feels to secure victory number 16 of the season, Verstappen replied: “I mean, to be honest, we are of course experiencing an incredible season.

“And again today as well, of course we had to start P3, but I think the pace of the car was very, very good.

“We tried to do a different strategy to everyone else and unfortunately with a red flag, we couldn’t really show it basically.

“But nevertheless, on those hard tyres at the end, I think we were very, very strong.”

So, with a third World title in the bag and a new record for most wins in a season, where does Verstappen go from here?

Worryingly for the already beaten and battered rivals, he is set on boosting his victory tally even further.

“17, 18, I don’t know,” said Verstappen on his goals moving forward.

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Verstappen, like in 2021, found himself in a three-wide situation on the run down to Turn 1, but rather than the Mercedes duo, this time he was alongside Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez and polesitter Charles Leclerc.

Perez and Leclerc would collide though, ending Perez’s race in front of his home crowd, though Verstappen said there were never any nerves from his end about getting caught up in the chaos.

“No, not nervous at all,” he told media post-race. “I mean, it’s not the first time that I’ve been two wide or three wide into Turn 1 here.

“But also we all trust each other. And of course we’re all on the limit braking into the corner, but it was all fine I think.

“But then yeah, of course I saw on my outside that something happened. But luckily we on the inside, we could stay out of trouble.”

One possible scare avoided then, while another potential stumbling block was the race restart on hard tyres.

No problem for Verstappen though, who aced said restart and proceeded to drive off into the distance.

“Well, we had to do the last stint on that hard tyre,” he said. “Luckily, it had only done one lap, so that helped.

“But of course in the start normally the hard tyre is a bit more difficult to get off the line, but we actually had quite a decent start on that tyre as well.”

A final victory total of 19 remains possible for Verstappen with three rounds of F1 2023 remaining, his sensational form throughout the campaign making it very likely that he will pull off that achievement.

Read next: Christian Horner issues latest Sergio Perez verdict after disastrous DNF in Mexico