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Verstappen reflects on ‘crazy year’ as reigning champion looks to surpass Vettel’s race win tally

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Max Verstappen has taken a moment to reflect on his and Red Bull’s “crazy, crazy year” that could end with more F1 history being made, should the Dutchman secure victory at this weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Thanks to his 18th win of the campaign in Las Vegas last time out, Verstappen drew level with Sebastian Vettel on a whopping 53 Grand Prix victories, the pair behind only Michael Schumacher (91) and Lewis Hamilton (103) in the all-time list.

LIVE COVERAGE: Follow all the build-up ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend

A win at the Yas Marina Circuit would see the reigning triple world champion move into third position outright, adding yet another layer of success to what has been a remarkable term.

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Verstappen and Red Bull have racked up the silverware across the 2023 season

Asked in Thursday’s drivers’ press conference if he finds himself wishing the run would never end, he smiled: “Well yeah, of course, but it will at one point! Hopefully not too soon…”

Immediately pushed on the potential to jump four-time world champion Vettel in the all-time victory list, he continued: “It’s quite a crazy number, but we’ve also had a crazy, crazy year.

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“It would be very nice, but at the same time I’m very focused on what’s ahead of me, and hopefully also next year we have a competitive car again, and we can really continue that momentum [and] win more races.”

Max Verstappen: The DNA of a Champion

Verstappen was then asked to rank the best of the many wins he has taken across the season so far, having only failed to finish on the top step of the podium three times in 21 races.

“I think the comeback race in Miami was great, that was an important one,” he said, before adding that “winning at home at Zandvoort was a very nice one, and I think winning at Suzuka, after the tough weekend we had in Singapore.”

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Victory or not at Yas Marina, Verstappen’s 2023 season will go down as the most successful in F1 history in terms of race wins, with his current tally giving him an 85.71% success rate, 10% more than the next-best set by Alberto Ascari back in 1952 (six triumphs across eight races).

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