Runaway leader and defending double world champion Max Verstappen bids to become the most successful driver in Austrian Grand Prix history this weekend as Red Bull plans a poignant ‘century’ celebration on home ground.
The 25-year-old Dutchman, who leads this year’s title race by 69 points ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez, shares the record of three Austrian wins with four-time champion Alain Prost.
Another win at the Red Bull Ring circuit would take him to four and be his seventh in nine races this year as well as the team’s 101st as they return to Austria for the first time since the death of owner Dietrich Mateschitz last October.
“It’s going to be a bit special this time,” said team boss Christian Horner amid celebrations of the team’s 100th triumph at the Canadian Grand Prix. It’s great to return to Austria with this run of form and results and with Max in such exceptional form.
“There will be a very big sell-out home crowd and a great atmosphere. They always put on a big show and this year will be the biggest of all.”
Verstappen has, in fact, won four times at Spielberg already as he won twice in 2021 when one of the two races staged during the restrictions caused by the Covid pandemic was called the Styrian Grand Prix.
“We always enjoy coming back to our home race in Austria,” said Verstappen. “And I’m excited to try to add another trophy to the collection for the team. It’s the second sprint race weekend too and they are always more hectic and complex.”
Rain has been forecast for much of the weekend, particularly Friday and Saturday, but it is unlikely to worry Verstappen who won the sprint race last year when rival Charles Leclerc fought back to take victory from him for Ferrari in the Grand Prix itself.
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