Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen will be chasing his fourth Austrian Grand Prix victory in five years on Sunday as the Red Bulls try to get back to the top of the podium in their home race.
The team, which is affiliated with the Austrian energy drinks manufacturer, also owns the Red Bull Ring, with Ferrari’s Carlos Senz winning six in a row at the British Grand Prix last weekend.
It was the first win for the Spaniard, with Verstappen only seventh when his car was damaged by a pile of sister team Alfatouri. That Dutch driver, who took the lead early on, would have been the seventh win of the year, but Spielberg is the ideal place to bounce back.
In our home race in Austria we will keep trying to get strong again, can’t wait to see the support of the Orange Army pic.twitter.com/utOk8ukC6m
– Max Verstappen (33 Max33Verstappen) July 3, 2022
He has won four times in Austria – three in the Austrian Grand Prix and a fourth in last year’s Styrian Grand Prix on the same track.
Worstappen is 34 points ahead of Mexican teammate Sergio Perez and 43 points ahead of Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc, with Austria half the points of the 22-race season.
Stimulated by an army of fans dressed in his orange, the 24-year-old would love to win again in an undulating layout while running the weekend in the sprint format. This means a maximum of 34 points available on the weekend instead of the usual Saturday race and the usual 26 to set the starting grid.
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Worstapen won the only sprint so far this year at the Emola in Italy in April.
Leclerc, Ferrari erupted after he was put on old tires behind a safety car at Silverstone which took him from first place to fourth place, especially as he would be fired for beating Verstappen.
He lost a wheel-banging battle to take the lead against the Dutchman in the final round of the 2019 race and needed a win to rein in his opponent.
“Three more challenging races are coming up ahead of the summer holidays, and as Silverstone has shown again, every race this year is completely unpredictable,” said Ferrari team boss Matia Binotto. “We will make sure we have our vehicles ready for the challenge and present ourselves as a strong team and a strong unit.”
Mercedes has won the Red Bull ring five times since returning to the calendar in 2014. At Silverstone, where he appeared to make major improvements to his challenging 2022 car, Lewis Hamilton hunted Ferraris in search of a record-breaking 104th victory.
Britain finished third and, while the Red Bull and Ferrari are still holding straight edges, Mercedes will be hoping to get their car into the fight once again.
“Overall it was a pleasant result for us,” said Andrew Shovlin, the team’s trackside engineering director. “But we need to increase this performance because we know we’re not fast enough yet.”
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