Ax Verstappen has told Toto Wolff to focus on his own team after calling the Dutchman’s record winning streak “completely irrelevant” and “for Wikipedia”.
Red Bull’s Verstappen became the first driver in Formula 1’s 73-year history to win 10 consecutive races following his triumph at the Italian Grand Prix earlier this month.
But moments after Verstappen’s historic F1 victory, Mercedes team principal Wolff said: “For me, these kinds of records have absolutely no importance. These numbers are for Wikipedia and no one reads them anyway.
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton crossed the line fifth and sixth respectively for Mercedes at the Monza Cathedral of Speed.
And when asked ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix his reaction to Wolff’s unflattering assessment, Verstappen replied: “I mean, they had a pretty shitty race, so he was probably still crazy about their performance.”
Mocking what Verstappen perceives as an obsession with Red Bull, he continued: “It almost seems like he is an employee of our team, but fortunately that is not the case. It’s just important that you focus on your own team. That’s what we do and that’s what we’ve done in the past when we were behind them and when they were dominating. It worked as a kind of inspiration.
“You should be able to appreciate when a team is doing really well. Seeing someone that dominant – it was very impressive at the time – and we knew we just had to work harder, try to be better and try to reach that level. And now that we are here, we are very happy and we are enjoying the present moment.
Verstappen, now winner of 12 of 14 rounds so far, has not lost a race since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 30, while his Red Bull team remains undefeated this year.
But the Dutch driver has never won in Singapore and last season he only finished seventh. And Verstappen fears the high downforce, low-speed nature of the Marina Bay circuit could play into the hands of his rivals.
“We are not as competitive here as at other circuits,” Verstappen said. “The streets are a little more difficult for our car. We can do a good job, but it will be very tight.
“So I want to try to continue this streak, but I know there will be a day when it stops. Normally Singapore is a bit riskier and more chaotic, but we are here to win.
“I never really thought about winning eight or nine or ten races in a row. I just want to do my best. And every weekend is basically the same in terms of the pressure I put on myself to try and get the best result, so nothing really changes.