Sunday, April 21, 2024

Verstappen Continues Dominant Form with ‘Pretty Incredible’ Austria Weekend

Max Verstappen continued his amazing run of form on Sunday with a dominating victory in the Austrian Grand Prix, the Dutchman claiming his seventh win in nine races.

The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver was in a class of his own and was even able to make a late pit stop for fresh tyres in order to set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap to maximise his points tally from the Red Bull Ring.

Verstappen had been fastest in practice, both Qualifying sessions and won both races to score maximum points and extend his advantage in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship Drivers’ standings to eighty-one points.

“It’s been a pretty incredible weekend; it couldn’t have been any better to be honest,” said Verstappen.  “We did everything well as a Team, from the strategy through to the pit stops.

“Heading into the race we all had question marks around the tyres but we were all happy with how they performed compared to our competitors. I felt really comfortable in the car all weekend and we were able to do everything that we had planned.”

Verstappen admitted the pit stop at the end was a risk and was initially declined by his team, but he knew that he could pull the lap out when he needed it and he convinced the pit wall to allow it.

“The final pit stop was a risk of course, I think the Team could hear from my voice on the radio that I wanted to pit,” he laughed.  

“From the outside it might have looked crazy but I knew we could do it, I saw there was a gap and I wanted to make the most of it.”

“It has been nice to get back and have that pace and form” – Sergio Pérez

Team-mate Sergio Pérez also had an impressive race, with the Mexican recovering from his poor Qualifying display on Friday afternoon to rise from fifteenth on the grid to finish third.

Pérez continued to feel the effects of illness that had affected him prior to the weekend, making his climb through the field even more impressive, and he was happy to turn around his recent form and return to the podium for the first time since the Miami Grand Prix.

He was happy with his race and pleased to come out on top of some good on-track battles with the likes of Carlos Sainz Jr., who he caught and passed for the final podium spot late in the race.

“It was a really good race,” said Pérez.  “I think we had the pace this weekend: we showed it in the Sprint and we showed it today.

“It was a nice comeback and I feel really comfortable with the car, it has been really special. I think we were all racing quite hard and it is always a pleasure to battle with drivers like Carlos.

“We have had a tricky few races, so it has been nice to get back and have that pace and form. I am still not one hundred per cent physically, however, so now I need to look ahead and recover ahead in time for Silverstone.”

Sergio Pérez finished third despite starting fifteenth and having been ill across the weekend – Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images