Motor racing-Verstappen passes Vettel with most wins for Red Bull

Formula One F1 - Monaco Grand Prix - Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco - May 28, 2023 Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates with champagne on the podium after winning the Monaco Grand Prix with second placed Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

MONACO (Reuters) - Max Verstappen wrote another piece of Red Bull history on Sunday with a 39th win that sent him past Germany's now-retired Sebastian Vettel as the driver with most victories for the Formula One team.

Vettel is still ahead of the Dutchman 4-2 on championships won but Verstappen, 25, has plenty of time on his side to match or surpass that mark with a third title surely on its way this season.

Verstappen is 39 points ahead of Mexican team mate and closest rival Sergio Perez after winning four of six rounds with 16 remaining to be raced.

"If you have a good car for a while you can break these kinds of numbers," the champion said when reminded about the team record.

"But yeah, it's great. I mean, I would have never thought that I would be in this position in my career. When I grew up I wanted to be a Formula One driver and winning these races is amazing.

"It's better than I could have ever imagined, for sure."

Verstappen joined Red Bull mid-season in 2016, after 23 races for sister team Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri), and took his first win on his debut in Barcelona.

Vettel won 53 races in total -- one of them with Toro Rosso and 14 with Ferrari.

Verstappen's victory on Sunday was his second in three years on the streets of Monaco and Red Bull's third in a row, but the seeds were sown with a qualifying lap on Saturday that will rank as one of the sport's greatest.

In the end, he led all the way -- a normal state of affairs in Monaco where overtaking is a rare feat -- and took the chequered flag 27.921 seconds clear of Aston Martin's second-placed Fernando Alonso.

"With that victory he becomes the most winningest Red Bull driver," said team boss Christian Horner. "He passes Sebastian's record which is an incredible achievement.

"He's obviously at the top of his game and driving incredibly well."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)

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