‘Only’ one thing can stop Max Verstappen, and Mark Webber says it’s not his rivals

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen stands on his RB19 and celebrates. Canada June 2023

Max Verstappen stands on his RB19 and celebrates after taking Red Bull's 100th F1 race win. Canada June 2023

There’s good news and bad news for Max Verstappen’s rivals with Mark Webber saying he can be stopped, but chances are only his RB19’s reliability can do that.

Verstappen will be chasing yet another record as he vies for his ninth win on the trot when Formula 1 returns from the summer break with the Dutch Grand Prix.

He’s won 10 grands prix already this season, eight of those coming in a run that started at the beginning of May at the Miami Grand Prix and continued through to late July’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Mark Webber applauds ‘top drawer’ Max Verstappen

At Zandvoort, he’ll not only be chasing a third successive home win but Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine wins on the trot.

Former Red Bull driver Webber reckons such is Verstappen’s form of late, the only thing that can stop him from matching Vettel’s tally, and probably breaking it in Italy, is the reliability of his RB19.

“It’s only reliability [problems] that will stop it, I think,” Webber told Formula1.com.

“I think the world would like to see him win his home race. To do the business there would be extraordinary. He should win that one and then he’s equal.”

Racing out to a 125-point lead over his teammate Sergio Perez in the Drivers’ Championship, Verstappen is on course for a third successive World title.

“He’s the one out there executing, he’s dancing when the curtains go back, and he goes out on stage and does it,” Webber continued.

“We know the level of intensity he brings – he’s top drawer. For the opposition, of course, he’s now well-established in his career, he’s got an immense amount of experience.

“He’s going to come back refreshed, and I think because there’s even no pressure on him, it’s even more of an advantage for him.”

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Red Bull’s RB19, despite being labelled an “average” car by technical director Pierre Waché, has been in a league of its own this season with the team winning all 12 races.

With their run beginning back at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the team is on to 13 in total, breaking McLaren’s 1988 record of 11 on the trot.

“I think it’s really hard for people to understand this level of domination, how much work and effort goes into it,” said the nine-time grand prix winner.

“That’s the big thing, you’ve got to give credit, people have to give credit where it’s due.

“To get that level of advantage with the depth of competition in F1… There’s so many, so many opportunities to make mistakes, whether it’s pit stops, reliability, presentation of the car, driver errors, but it’s just been a run for the ages, and obviously [McLaren in] 1988 was the last time it happened.”

Red Bull are leading the Constructors’ Championship with 503 points to Mercedes’ 247.

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