(Reuters) – While Max Verstappen welcomed the 44th win of his career in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, it was a number he wanted also to be rid of as soon as possible.
Seven-time world champion and rival Lewis Hamilton races with 44 on his Mercedes and it is closely associated with the Briton.
“Hopefully, I don’t stay on 44. That would be terrible,” the Red Bull driver told the post-race press conference for the top three finishers.
There is every chance that the double world champion will have moved on to 45 by the end of next weekend, with Belgium following immediately on from Hungary and Verstappen on a run of seven wins in a row and nine from 11.
Last year Verstappen won in Belgium from 14th on the starting grid.
The Formula One record is nine in a row, with Sebastian Vettel doing that in 2013 with Red Bull on his way to a fourth title.
Red Bull have now won a record 12 in a row — 11 this season and last year’s finale in Abu Dhabi — and brought upgrades to Hungary where Verstappen won with the sport’s biggest margin since 2021.
“Hopefully we can keep this momentum going for a long time,” said Verstappen, whose win on Sunday was his 24th since the start of last season.
“I think it was a pretty perfect day.
“Of course, it’s really enjoyable to work with the whole team and to have this kind of success. I think people probably forget how tough it is to win 12 in a row. Even when you have the fastest car,” he added.
“It’s easy to make mistakes, or have an off weekend.”
Verstappen has not had many of those, having finished off the podium only twice in his last 23 races. This season he has finished second on the two occasions when he has not won.
Red Bull had previously shared the record of 11 successive wins with McLaren, who achieved it in 1988 with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna in a season of almost complete dominance with 15 wins from 16 races.
“They were an incredible team, Ron Dennis was an incredible team principal and to think that we’ve now bettered that is something the whole team here in Budapest, in Milton Keynes, everybody behind the scenes has worked so hard for,” said team boss Christian Horner.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ken Ferris)