After Max Verstappen's next jaunt through the Royal Park of Monza, something unique even seems possible in Formula 1.
For the first time in the history of the World Championship, which has been held since 1950, a racing team could win all Grand Prix in one season. Verstappen's Red Bull with the almost overwhelming superiority has even survived the tricky patch of Autodromo Nazionale Monza, which once cost Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost at McLaren in 1988 a perfect balance sheet.
"I didn't think at the beginning of the season that something like this was possible," said Verstappen after his tenth Grand Prix success in a row, overtaking Sebastian Vettel. "What we're doing right now, which is winning every race this year, is something we're definitely enjoying because I don't think seasons like that come around very often."
After Stage 14 there was no other winner than Verstappen, who raced to first place 12 times, and his teammate Sergio Perez, who climbed to the top of the podium the other two times. Across the seasons, Red Bull has won 24 of the past 25 races. In November last year in São Paulo, George Russell had the audacity to simply decide a Grand Prix for Mercedes.
Glock: "It's unbelievable what you deliver"
"It's scary to see this perfection. I've rarely seen a season like this from a team that's currently clearing everything and has everything under control," said Sky expert Timo Glock, a former Formula 1 driver himself, almost in awe . The Red Bull works "on any type of race track. It's incredible what you deliver, how you implement it, also in terms of strategy, it's flawless."
There have always been dominant Formula 1 teams. Mercedes has owned a car of its own for the past decade that has been the pinnacle of the industry. In retrospect, the Silver Arrows could have won all 21 races in 2016. A crash between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in Spain and Hamilton's engine failure in Malaysia destroyed an impeccable record.
"Our situation was a bit different because we had two guys fighting each other within the team," Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff recalled on the English TV channel Sky Sports F1 of that season, which Rosberg finally won before Hamilton. Wolff added smugly that Verstappen was not at all interested in records. "It's not something that matters to me. These numbers are for Wikipedia and nobody reads them anyway."
In 1988, when the Chancellor in Germany was still called Helmut Kohl, McLaren was very close to the perfect season and 16 Grand Prix successes - until Monza was on the calendar. Prost retired there with an engine failure, while his teammate Senna, who was in the lead, collided shortly before the end while trying to overtake the Williams of a certain Jean-Louis Schlesser. Gerhard Berger in the Ferrari was the beneficiary.
The best driver sits in the best car
Red Bull, with its racing car, christened the RB19, has now even survived Monza. Eight Grand Prix follow. "The 2023 season will result in the undisputed dominance of Max Verstappen and his Red Bull racing team," said "L'Équipe" in France. If everything goes perfectly, Verstappen can become world champion in the race after next in Japan. "The debate about who is the greatest racing driver of his time has yet to be decided, but at the moment Verstappen is the best on the planet," said the English "Daily Mail".
Probably the best driver in what is currently the undisputed best car - a combination that can only be stopped by accidents or defects. Or is there maybe something else? "Max was relatively nervous before this tenth victory, which he usually isn't, already on Friday in the vote. I know him well enough, I know how he ticks," said Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko, the Verstappens way closely accompanied in Formula 1. "I hope that's resolved now."
If so, then this "incredible success story", as Marko called it, just continues. Maybe even until the finale in Abu Dhabi at the end of November.