Dutch Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen has expressed his surprise at winning a record 14 races in a year and eclipsing the feats of Germany's Michael Schumacher (2004) and Sebastian Vettel (2013), who have 13 race wins in a year.
Verstappen made history as he beat Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton to claim his 14th victory of the 2022 season at the Mexican Grand Prix after an intriguing strategic battle at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez here on Sunday.
The Red Bull driver said he was "incredibly proud" to achieve the feat.
Verstappen took pole position by more than three-tenths as Mercedes' George Russell qualified on the front row and Lewis Hamilton qualified third on Saturday. Verstappen -- on soft tyres while the Mercedes chose mediums -- retained his lead in Sunday's race, and it soon became clear that he would be able to pull off a one-stop strategy and win, which he did by a margin of more than 15 seconds.
"Yeah, I mean another great race, I think. We knew that that first stint was going to be the crucial one for us to keep that soft tyre alive long enough, which seemed to work. I mean, I did struggle a bit towards the end, but luckily the gap was big enough to extend a few laps and yeah, once we put on the medium tyres, everything was working quite well," Verstappen told formula1.com.
"I think quite early on, we figured that we could make it to the end. Another great race but also, it's just an incredible season for us as a team. I never thought I would be able to win 14 races in a year, but of course, incredibly proud."
Not only has Verstappen taken a record-breaking 14th victory this season, he has also set a new record for points scored in a single season, with 416, according to the F1 website.
"We have a Sprint race in Brazil, and hopefully we can score a few more," he said. "But I mean, it's not about that. At the end of the day it's about trying to win a championship and it doesn't matter by how many points you do it -- but it does show we are having an incredible year."
Having taken his 34th career win, Verstappen heads to Brazil just seven victories off the tally of 41 set by Ayrton Senna. The Dutchman clearly enjoyed the atmosphere in Mexico City, as he said, "It's amazing. It's an incredible atmosphere and we love to come here.
"I mean, they put on a great show, the atmosphere in general is incredible with the fans, they are super passionate about Formula 1 -- but of course about Checo -- but it also helps a lot that you have that whole stadium. It makes it look incredible. It's a great atmosphere," he added.