Verstappen could equal Vettel’s Red Bull record in Baku

Max Verstappen is set to draw level with Sebastian Vettel on 66 podiums this year.

Max Verstappen is one podium away from equalling Sebastian Vettel’s record at the team between 2009 and 2014.

Vettel’s first Red Bull podium was also a victory at the Chinese Grand Prix in 2009, much like Verstappen’s when he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

The German added another 65 podiums to his tally over the course of the following five seasons as he claimed four consecutive world championships for the Austrian side.

READ: Double F1 champion tears into Ferrari after Monaco debacle

The 34-year-old’s final podium with Red Bull arrived at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix when he was 27 years of age, while the Dutchman is set to equal his record of 66 podiums at 24.

The reigning champion needs another 15 victories to equal Vettel’s tally of 39, but does not place any unnecessary emphasis on doing so, preferring to prioritise having a car that can perform well, knowing that results will come with that.

“I think it doesn’t really matter where you are in the championship versus second it’s more about what [performance] you have in the car,” he said ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

“If your car is good and you know that you can win races in the future then it’s not so much pressure.

“I think as Formula One drivers, we’ve been in the sport for a while and we know what we can do. At least from my experience, it doesn’t really make a difference. 

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“I just want to have a good car because that gives you the confidence to do well.”

Verstappen finished third in Monaco having started fourth after a red flag caused by team-mate Sergio Perez that cost him a final run in qualifying.

An excellent strategy from Red Bull put him ahead of polesitter Charles Leclerc, who had suffered from terrible strategic errors from Ferrari, while Perez won the race ahead of Carlos Sainz.

Verstappen took the positives away from what had been a tough weekend.

“You always have to look at what’s possible right?” he said after the race.

“Especially after yesterday where you get compromised on your final run by the red flag, that’s how it goes, that’s Monaco, these things can happen.

“But I think as a team today we did a really good job executing that strategy and basically of course guide Checo to the win and me to the podium.

“So I’m pleased with that and if you would have told me yesterday that I would finish in front of Charles, I would have told you you were crazy.”

At a track where Red Bull seemed to carry a deficit to Ferrari, the 24-year-old is delighted to extend his and Red Bull’s championship lead.

READ: Lewis Hamilton could be forced to miss British GP

“Yeah, especially also where it looks like we don’t have the fastest car at the moment and we’re still maximising the results so it was an incredible team effort,” explained Verstappen.

The Red Bull driver now has a nine-point championship lead over Leclerc, while Red Bull lead Ferrari by 36 points.