Verstappen: Past F1 success in Austria no guarantee of 2021 wins

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F1 will stage back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring over the next two weekends, starting with the Styrian Grand Prix on 27 June before the Austrian Grand Prix on 4 July.

PLUS: Can Red Bull really win anywhere after toppling a Mercedes stronghold?

Red Bull has traditionally fared well at its home race, with Verstappen taking victory in both the 2018 and 2019 editions.

The Dutchman currently leads Lewis Hamilton by 12 points at the top of the drivers’ championship, winning two of the last three races, including a late victory at Paul Ricard – a track where Mercedes has traditionally excelled.

It has given Red Bull a boost as it fights to win its first F1 titles since 2013, and serves as a chance to build on its leads in the next two races.

But Verstappen remained wary of the threat that Mercedes would pose in Austria, saying Red Bull’s past victories counted for nothing this time around.

“I’m looking forward to it, first of all, of course because it’s like a home grand prix,” Verstappen said.

“We’ve had good results in the past but it’s not a guarantee. We have to again set up the car well there and read the conditions well.

“I don’t know what the weather is going to be like, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m for sure expecting it to be close again but yeah, we’ll find out when we are there.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Mercedes won both races in Austria last year as Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton took one victory apiece to open the delayed 2020 season.

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But the team returns to the Red Bull Ring after a narrow defeat at Paul Ricard that saw Red Bull appear to make a big step forward with its straight-line performance.

Hamilton felt that Mercedes had to make the most of the short break between France and Styria to try and understand the speed deficit, so it could be in a better position to take the fight to Red Bull.

“It’s a power-hungry circuit, it’s got those long, long straights so we could see something similar to this weekend, obviously with the straight-line speed of the Red Bull,” Hamilton said after the race.

“But we’ve got three days to try and see if we can make any adjustments and improvements, and maybe if we maximise absolutely everything, maybe we can give them a run for their money.”

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