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Red Bull Racing

Vettel and Verstappen's most dominant Red Bull wins

Max Verstappen has tied Sebastian Vettel's tally of 38 victories for Red Bull, and so RacingNews365 has picked out one dominant win apiece as well as a 'best drive'.

Vettel Verstappen
Analysis
To news overview © XPBimages

Red Bull's first great era in Formula 1 was between 2010 and 2013 as the blown-exhaust machines were driven by Sebastian Vettel to four straight title doubles as the energy drinks company bloodied the noses of 'proper' racing teams.

In the mid part of the 2010s, the inevitable slump and Vettel's departure for 2015 coinciding with Max Verstappen making his debut for the Toro Rosso junior squad. A little over a year later, Verstappen added win number one to his tally to set off in pursuit of Vettel's total of 38 wins for the team.

At the recent Miami Grand Prix, the now two-time World Champion equalled his predecessor as the Dutchman closes in on Ayrton Senna's career total of 41, and it is surely only a matter of time before he passes Senna, Alain Prost (51) and Vettel's overall score of 53 to leave only Lewis Hamilton (103 and counting) and Michael Schumacher (91) ahead.

And with the two all-time greats currently level on victories, RacingNews365 has decided to look at both drivers and come up with one dominant win apiece and one underrated drive from their stints with the Milton Keynes concern.

Vettel's most dominant win - India 2013

Looking at the cold hard numbers, Vettel's winning margin in Singapore 2013 actually exceeded that of India a couple of races later by about three seconds.

That night in Singapore, the then-triple champion obliterated the field and was nearly two seconds a lap faster at times - but India just nudges ahead owing to the manner in which the domination was achieved.

Starting on pole, Vettel actually pitted at the end of Lap 2 of 60 to exchange the brittle Soft compound tyres, dropping way down the pack to 17th but would scythe through the field as those also on the Soft Pirellis also pitted.

But the heart of the win was clinically dispatching the Medium shod runners through this stage of the race, climbing to the lead again by Lap 29, and not losing it after his second stop on Lap 32.

After that, the only time anyone saw him again was on the final lap as he guided the RB9 around to clinch that fourth championship.

This was Vettel at Red Bull in a nutshell: crushing pace, ruthless efficiency in dispatching those on a different strategy and being able to stroke the car home with reliability concerns thrown in after Mark Webber's alternator packed up.

The celebration on the grid also became iconic as he prayed to the mighty machine, something deeply respected by the crowds.

He would also be handed a reprimand and Red Bull fined €25k for not driving straight to parc ferme. Oh how the times change.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Verstappen's most dominant win - Japan 2022

In a way, the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix is unlucky on multiple accounts.

Firstly, it was a shortened race owing to the lengthy rain delay on the return to Suzuka after three years away, meaning only 28 of the planned 53 laps were run.

Secondly, it was not Verstappen's first great drive in the wet - that goes to the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix. Every great driver is remembered for at least one superb display in the wet (think Vettel Italy 2008, Hamilton Great Britain 2008, Schumacher Spain 1996) and Brazil 2016 was the race that Verstappen truly announced himself on the world stage.

The drive will also be overshadowed by the fact that he won his second world title in it after the rules confusion about whether full or half points would need to be awarded, and as the race was restarted after the red flag, it was to be a full share.

Even then, the championship would not be secure if Charles Leclerc finished second. He ran wide at the chicane on the final lap, being handed a 5s time penalty and promoting Sergio Perez to P2, and giving Verstappen exactly what he needed.

But the drive itself was an exquisite display of wet-weather racing and should hold its place among those mentioned above - even if it was cut short.

At the start, an extremely brave move to fend off the fast starting Leclerc in almost white-out conditions set the stall.

When the race finally resumed, it would be timed out with the green-flag racing effectively being a 40-minute sprint, with Verstappen taking the lead again after switching to the Inters with 33:50 left on the clock.

He'd pull out 26.7 seconds on Leclerc in that time, with the official winning margin over the unpenalised Perez being 27.066s.

This was a man in perfect harmony with the machine and rarely could a championship have been decided in such a cold, calculating, dominant manner.

Article continues below.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Vettel's best drive - Abu Dhabi 2012

It's through no fault of his own that some of Vettel's best drives at Red Bull were not actually victories.

And the best of his 113 race drives came in a race he finished third - but also arguably won him the 2012 title.

Having qualified third, he was told to stop on the in-lap as the RB8 was running low on fuel. However, the FIA could not extract the one litre sample required, and so he was kicked out of qualifying and would actually start from the pit-lane.

However, it would not be a smooth race as he suffered front wing damage after crashing into the DRS activation board to avoid Daniel Ricciardo behind a Safety Car and tapping the Williams of Bruno Senna.

This required a pitstop to replace the damaged wing, dropping him back down the order, but fortunately he was able to join the snake at the back.

With title rival Fernando Alonso in second and Vettel fourth, the six points the Ferrari was going to take out the lead would about half the deficit of 13 with two rounds to go after the race - and then came the slight bit of luck Vettel's race deserved.

Another Safety Car bunched up the field and with race leader Kimi Raikkonen knowing what he was doing up front (yes, this was that race for the Finn) and Alonso clearing off, Vettel was locked in a battle for third with Jenson Button.

On Lap 52 of 55, he went around the outside of the left-right-left chicane at the end of the back straight to grab third place and three precious points.

At the time, there were questions about why would he risk a DNF against Button for just three more points?

In the final standings - Vettel finished on 281, Alonso 278...

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Verstappen's best drive - United States 2021

Strong consideration was given here to Brazil 2016 and the masterclass in the Sao Paulo rain, but Verstappen had nothing metaphorically speaking riding on that race. It was a free hit to go out and just drive a Formula 1 car the quickest he could.

Instead, his best drive in his time with Red Bull was his 18th win for the team in the midst of his white hot championship battle with Hamilton in 2021.

Austin was firmly expected to be a 'Mercedes' track owing to the fact that they had taken five of the last six wins there, Hamilton four of them.

But Verstappen defied the odds and stuck it on pole with Hamilton riding shotgun alongside as more than one observer believed at least one of them would not emerge from the pinchpoint that is Turn 1 at CoTA.

They did, and so began a game of cat and mouse with Hamilton muscling past into the lead, meaning Verstappen would have the opportunity to successfully undercut the Mercedes at the first round of stops.

This is he did, and pitted for the final time on Lap 30 of 56 as Hamilton went long to try and build a tyre offset, finally coming in on Lap 38, leaving him 18 laps to hunt down and pass the Red Bull. A 14-point swing in the championship depended on it.

Hamilton closed in at a mighty rate, but cannily, Verstappen did not respond and push, saving crucial life in his tyres which he would need in the final laps.

Lapping Mick Schumacher just before starting the final lap allowed Verstappen a helping of DRS up the pit-straight, while crucially Hamilton didn't have any.

It was a firm examination of the Red Bull driver by the seven-time champion, one he passed with flying colours.

Being able to defeat your championship rival on a day and track where they, on paper, should have the advantage is a vital ingredient in emerging victorious at season's end.

This was not quite a knockout blow for Verstappen but was the nearest thing to it as his points lead went up to 12, seven days before he made it 19 with victory in Mexico having done a job on both Mercedes on the long run down to Turn 1 there from third place on the grid.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Also interesting:

Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the Miami Grand Prix.

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