Calling Max Verstappen’s new F1 record for the most successive wins a “Wikipedia” stat which “nobody reads”, Damon Hill says that’s a “bit churlish” of the usually sporting Toto Wolff.
Verstappen made Formula 1 history at the Italian Grand Prix when the Dutchman led home his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to secure his 10th successive grand prix victory.
That broke Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 record of nine, with Verstappen doing what Mercedes in their heyday could not do with Nico Rosberg’s longest streak a run of seven wins, while Lewis Hamilton twice achieved five.
Toto Wolff throws shade on Max Verstappen’s latest F1 record
But in a season in which several rival team bosses accept Verstappen doesn’t get the recognition he deserves for what he’s achieving, Wolff seemed to throw shade on the 25-year-old’s newest record.
“It is not something that would be important for me, those numbers, it is for Wikipedia and nobody reads that anyway,” he told Sky Sports at Monza.
He added: “Our situation was a little bit different because we had two guys fighting against each other within the team.”
Wolff’s comments, which come on the back of Hamilton claiming his teammates have always been “stronger” than Verstappen’s have been, raised eyebrows with Hill who says it’s out of character for the Austrian to be dismissive.
“It sounded a bit churlish and not very gracious, and unlike Toto, because he’s usually very sporting,” 1996 World Champion Hill told Sky Sports News.
He puts it down to the pain of losing and losing so emphatically to Red Bull who have now claimed 14 wins from 14 races for this season.
“I think he’s hurting a bit now,” Hill continued. “They know what it’s like to be dominated and they didn’t even get on the podium.
“They seem to be a bit stymied and can’t seem to work out what to do, but who can? Ferrari did a great job in Monza – it suited their car, I think – but it seems like everywhere we go, the Red Bull has got the upper hand and we’ve just got to sit and watch this unfold.
“Can Red Bull win every race in the season? That’s not beyond the realms of possibility.”
Damon Hill weighs in on car versus driver debate
Although it has been said several times this season, and is likely to be said a great deal more before the year is out, that the RB19 is one of the best cars ever designed for Formula 1, Hill says one cannot detract from what Verstappen is achieving.
The car may be superior to the rest of the field, but so too is the driver who has 12 wins for this season compared to his teammate Sergio Perez’s two and leads the standings by 145 points.
He’s on course to set new records for the most points scored, the biggest winning margin, and break his 2022 record for the most wins in a single season.
“He has achieved something no one else has ever done, and the Red Bull team has won 24 out of 25 grand prix,” Hill said.
“They’ve won 14 races this year and it’s an incredible record, but you can’t just put it down to the car. This guy is special.
“Throughout his career, from the moment he arrived in F1, he has done things no one has done before, and he continues to polish off this season.
“He had some challenges from Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc as well, so there was definitely a bit of a race on.”