Three talking points from the Italian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen pictured celebrating his record 10 straight wins, from Miami in May to Monza on Sunday (Marco BERTORELLO)
Max Verstappen pictured celebrating his record 10 straight wins, from Miami in May to Monza on Sunday (Marco BERTORELLO)

Max Verstappen foiled Ferrari and silenced the tifosi at Monza on Sunday as he made Formula One history with a record-breaking 10th consecutive win.

Here, AFP Sport looks at three storylines to emerge from the Italian Grand Prix:


After the latest display of Red Bull dominance it's now more than ever a question of when, not if, Verstappen wins the 2023 title. It becomes mathematically possible from the Japan Grand Prix onwards, with the clever money on Qatar's sprint weekend in early October. Ahead of the next race in Singapore in less than a fortnight's time, Verstappen is 145 points clear of his teammate Sergio Perez. A third consecutive world championship will give Verstappen entry to a select club of only four other drivers to achieve the feat -- Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. While the man of the moment seems pretty nonplussed about breaking records there are plenty more he can smash before this season's over. Already on 364 points with eight races and 232 points left on the table he is on target to comfortably top last season's record points haul of 454. At Monza he took his total wins this season to 12, and looks odds-on to better last season's record win haul of 15. Monza was his 15th consecutive podium - only four shy of Schumacher's record of 19 between 2001 and 2002.

'Icing on the cake'

Pole-sitter Carlos Sainz may have been thwarted by the Red Bulls but he still enjoyed his Sunday drive around Monza's beautiful parkland circuit, picking up his first podium of 2023. "To celebrate a podium with the tifosi is the perfect icing on the cake!" said the Spaniard, who was hard-pressed by Charles Leclerc in a no-holds barred entertaining feud between the two Ferraris. "It was a great race and the result was the best we could do, finishing on the podium in front of our fans and bringing home 27 points which sees us get ahead of Aston Martin and close on Mercedes," reflected Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur. "In two weeks we start from scratch again in Singapore, but we can be happy with what we have done here. We knew our car would be more competitive on this sort of track and the SF-23 lived up to our expectations."

Mercedes set sights on Singapore

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell failed to celebrate signing new contracts with Mercedes in the way they would have wished, finishing a hard fought fifth and sixth. "We know that these low-downforce circuits are not our strong suit," said team boss Toto Wolff. Hunting second to the unbeatable Red Bulls is not where the former serial world champions want to be, and they are already setting their sights on round 15 of another trying season. "We've been some way off threatening the podium positions here so we're looking forward to Singapore where hopefully we'll be able to fight for the bigger points positions," said the team's trackside engineer Andrew Shovlin.