Max Verstappen won his 15th race of 2023 in Austin (Photo: Getty)
The three-time champion reached the remarkable milestone in Austin after a great drive from sixth on the grid, though he found himself under immense pressure from Sir Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages.
‘The whole race, I was struggling a lot with the brakes. Around here there are quite a few braking points,’ Verstappen said post-race.
‘I couldn’t really have the same feeling as yesterday [in the Sprint] so that definitely made my race a bit tougher out here today. It was very close at the end and also with the backmarkers, the tyres are already going so it makes it more difficult.
‘It’s incredible to win my 50th Grand Prix here. Very proud of course and we will keep on trying to push for more.’
Verstappen is only the fifth driver in history to reach a half-century of wins, after Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost.
With four races of the season remaining, the 26-year-old has the chance to surpass both Prost’s (51) and Vettel’s (53) tally before the year is out.
The Dutchman’s enjoyment of the win was dampened somewhat however, as fans booed as he walked onto the podium and received his trophy.
This can perhaps be attributed to the strong contingent of Mexican fans at the Circuit of the Americas, who support Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez, and there were plenty of chants of ‘Checo!’ (Perez’s nickname) after the chequered flag.
The 33-year-old has been under significant pressure this season, due to his largely underwhelming performances compared to his teammate.
Not helping matter is the constant criticism of Perez from Red Bull chief Helmut Marko, who was also forced to apologise after making xenophobic comments towards his own driver, an incident that has damaged the team’s reputation significantly.
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Not a great reception for the three-time champion.