Sunday, July 21, 2024

Sprint Race Weekends ‘More Hectic and Complex’ than Normal Weekends – Verstappen

Max Verstappen is hoping to extend his remarkable start to the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season this weekend in Austria as he bids to extend his advantage at the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings.

The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver has taken six victories in the opening eight races and took second place in the other two, and he holds a significant sixty-nine point advantage at the top of the standings heading to the Red Bull Ring.

This weekend will see the second of six sprint races across the season, and Verstappen acknowledges it is a more hectic schedule as a result, and with the weather potentially looking unsettled, he says it could mix everything up.

“This is the second Sprint race of the season, they are always more hectic and complex compared to a normal race,” said Verstappen.  “The weather looks a bit unpredictable too so it will definitely mix things up a little bit.

“Of course Austria is a home race for us. I’m looking forward to seeing all the support again at the track, hopefully we’ll put on a good show for everyone in the grandstands.

“We always enjoy coming back to Austria and I’m excited to try to add another trophy to the collection for the Team. We’ve had some good results there already so let’s see what we can do.” 

On the run up to the weekend, Verstappen took some time out with Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda to drive some mega trucks in a quarry, and he said it was an enjoyable and fun experience.

“I had some fun in the lead up to the race with Yuki too,” Verstappen added.  “We drove some mega trucks in a quarry, we had a fun day together and it’s always nice to see Red Bull coming up with crazy things for us to do!”

“I know how important it is for me to have a consistent weekend” – Sergio Pérez

Team-mate Sergio Pérez has seen his own form drop away in recent races, with his last podium visit coming in the Miami Grand Prix back at the beginning of May.

The Mexican is focusing on turning around his disappointing form and seeing a return to the kind of results he began the season with, with two wins and two second places coming in the opening five races that saw him sitting extremely closely to Verstappen in the championship.

Pérez knows what he is capable of and is looking to maximise his potential this weekend at the Red Bull Ring, and he says the Sprint race format could open up some opportunities, as he did back in Azerbaijan earlier in the year.

“It’s always a great race in Austria, it’s obviously the home of Red Bull and that makes it extra special for all of us in the Team,” Pérez said.  “I also can’t believe how many Mexican fans make the trip, every year on the green carpet arriving into the circuit I see the Mexico flag, which makes me smile.

“For me my focus will be on track though because I know how important it is for me to have a consistent weekend and really produce a result, I know I am capable of.

“The weather looks like it could be tricky and it’s a Sprint weekend so time in the car to set-up will be minimal and critical, we must maximise every moment we have to prepare.

“I had fun at the last Sprint weekend in Baku and it was a very successful time but at a very different circuit. I want to achieve the same again but know I need to step up to achieve that.”

Sergio Pérez has failed to finish on the podium in any of the past three races – Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images