Mercedes team boss Wolff described the 1.3 second gap between polesitter Verstappen and seventh-placed Perez in qualifying at the Dutch Grand Prix as “odd” and “bizarre”, insinuating that the two-time world champion is very good at getting a car to be built to suit him. 

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“I mean, Checo is not an idiot,” Wolff said at Zandvoort. “We have seen in all these years. Checo is a grand prix winner, a multiple grand prix winner. And he was [already a winner] at Racing Point. So I cannot comprehend.

“I mean, we’ve seen Max has destroyed every single team-mate that was with him, whether it’s his ability to create a car around himself that is just very tricky to control – but fast if you can [control it] – and that makes those gaps.

“The 1.3s. I haven’t heard any obvious explanations. But… odd.”

Verstappen was far from impressed when he was asked about Wolff’s comments ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix. 

“Bullshit comments!” he said. “It’s not like that.

“I just drive the car the fastest way possible. I’m not there to tell the guys to give me more because that’s how I like it.

“I just say ‘Design me the fastest car and I’ll drive around that’ because every single year, every car drives a little bit differently.

“People ask ‘What is your driving style?’ My driving style is not something particular. I adapt to what I need for the car to go quick.

“For me, what is very important is that you are able to adapt your driving style to what the car needs.”

After matching Sebastian Vettel’s all-time feat last time out at his home race, Verstappen has the chance to set a new outright record for most successive wins in F1 with a 10th successive victory at Monza. 

“I never thought that I would win nine in a row, first of all,” he said. 

“Now that we are here, of course, I try to win 10 but it’s more about I want to just win. It’s not about the number 10 in my head.

“Also that just helps a lot to focus on the weekend. It’s already difficult enough different with the different tyre choices we have to deal with. We’ll just get on with it and we’ll see what happens.”