After being crowned winner of the French Grand Prix at the weekend, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has extended his lead at the top of the driver standings. Will he continue to perform at the highest level for the remainder of the season?
There’s no denying that Max Verstappen is one of the most exciting F1 drivers around today. The 23 year old is now 12 points ahead of rival Lewis Hamilton at the top of the driver standings. Following years of dominance by the British Mercedes driver, he now has his toughest challenger yet.
The French Grand Prix was extremely exciting for F1 fans, with an impressive performance from Red Bull ensuring that Verstappen was crowned victorious. Now, the battle at the top of the grid intensifies.
For those watching the French GP last Sunday, you will already know how exciting the end of the race was. After Verstappen claimed pole position from qualifying, it was the two Mercedes drivers – Hamilton and Bottas – lined up just behind the youngster. Then, it was fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez that took fourth place on the starting grid.
On lap 32 of the race (53 in total), Verstappen entered the pit for a 2.5 second tyre change, and headed to close the gap between him and Hamilton. The Brit was leading in the race as Mercedes and Red Bull took different approaches to the pits. Towards the end of the race, Hamilton’s tyres were wearying.
The Red Bull youngster passed his teammate in third, and found himself 8.5 seconds behind Hamilton with 15 laps to go. After passing Bottas with just nine laps remaining, Verstappen’s sights were set on the leader. And, on the penultimate lap, Verstappen made a fantastic overtake on the Mercedes, and cruised to victory.
After being overtaken by his teammate, Perez managed to take on Bottas to claim the last place on the podium. On top of that, the points he gained from the podium finish has now placed him third in the driver standings.
Meanwhile, Mercedes’ Bottas was annoyed by the result in France, and is now in fifth in the overall standings. It would have been fourth, but McLaren’s Lando Norris claimed fifth place in the latest race, giving him enough points to sit in fourth in the driver rankings.
Then, there’s a few drivers on the rankings who need points in the upcoming races in order to keep their chances of keeping up with Perez and Norris. That also includes Valtteri Bottas, who is the first in contention with a good amount of points. Both Ferrari drivers – Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz – are two names involved in the fight to stay within touching distance.
At the upcoming weekend, the Steiermark Grand Prix will be the second of three consecutive race weekends in the season. At the Red Bull Ring in Austria, drivers will battle it out on the fast-paced track, with plenty of stretches for speed.
We expect an extremely intense encounter at the weekend, especially at the top of the grid. With that said, it would be almost fitting if Verstappen or Perez were to be victorious at the Red Bull Ring – considering that’s who they drive for.
On the other hand, Mercedes will be looking to make sure that doesn’t happen, with Hamilton wanting a win to be back on track for his eighth F1 World Championship. We should also keep an eye on Hamilton’s teammate Bottas, who has become increasingly frustrated in the Mercedes camp.
With the Steiermark GP taking place this weekend, you may be looking to place a bet or two. Will Verstappen successfully extend his lead as the No.1 driver? Will it be Hamilton that wins in Austria? Is there anyone else that could be victorious at the Red Bull Ring?
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