Formula 1: Max Verstappen ends longest win drought in 14 months

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka Circuit, Formula 1 (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka Circuit, Formula 1 (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) /

Max Verstappen’s uncharacteristic Formula 1 “cold streak” came to an end in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit.

Prior to Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit, it had been a whopping 21 days and two races since Max Verstappen most recently stood atop the podium, an unfathomable amount of time in this era of Formula 1.

The victory of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. — and Verstappen’s lackluster weekend as a whole — at Marina Bay Street Circuit last Sunday ended the 25-year-old Dutchman’s record-breaking 10-race winning streak and Red Bull’s record-breakinig 15-race winning streak.

Verstappen’s fifth place finish in the Singapore Grand Prix was his first non-win since April, and his one-race losing “streak” was tied for his longest since he lost two races in a row in early July 2022 in Great Britain and Austria. Since then, he has gone on five one-race losing “streaks”.

But at long last, Max Verstappen ended his one-race Formula 1 losing streak on Sunday at Suzuka Circuit.

It was back to business as usual, with the two-time reigning world champion dominating the entire race weekend.

He took the pole position for the 53-lap race around the 18-turn, 3.609-mile (5.808-kilometer)  road course in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, Japan by more than a half second over McLaren’s Lando Norris, and his only threat from Norris during the race came in turn one at the start.

After a lonely race which culminated with him 19 seconds ahead of Norris in second place, Verstappen secured his 11th win in the last 12 races and his 13th win of the season, a mark that trails only his record-breaking mark of 15 from last season.

He now leads teammate Sergio Perez by 177 points in the driver standings with 180 points still on the table. Having already clinched the tiebreaker over his teammate due to having more wins, he needs to score just two points in the season’s final six races to secure the title no matter what else happens.

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The 17th race on the 2023 Formula 1 schedule is the Qatar Grand Prix, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 8. Will Verstappen clinch his third consecutive world championship in this race — or perhaps even in the preceding sprint race? The main event is set to be broadcast live on ESPN2 from Lusail International Circuit starting at 12:55 p.m. ET. Begin a free trial of FuboTV and don’t miss it!