Formula 1. Verstappen alone against all at the British GP
The 24-year-old Dutchman approaches the 10th round of the season (out of 22) with 46 points ahead of his teammate at Red Bull, the Mexican Sergio Pérez, in the driver standings.
A lead that he will obviously want to consolidate, even if he has had a frustrated relationship with the circuit since his arrival in F1 in 2015, alternating between podiums and retirements.
Last year he was forced to retire after being thrown into the wall by Lewis Hamilton, an incident that came to the fore this week when an interview with former Brazilian champion Nelson Piquet was unearthed in which he had called the Briton a « little black ».
In 2020, Verstappen finished 2nd, then clinched victory the following week at the F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on the same track.
When he did not give up, the Batavian signed fifth place as the worst ranking in 2019.
« The performance this weekend will depend on our ability to find the right balance and we will also need a good tire strategy, because the degradation will be high there », analysis at the dawn of the Verstappen round, in search of of his 7th victory of the season. Already…
And to warn: « There are a lot of things that we have to settle this weekend, it will not be a walk in the park ».
After a mixed start to the season mainly due to reliability problems, « Mad Max » is now in pole position for his own succession to the title of world champion. His display in Canada and Azerbaijan in June — two races he dominated head and shoulders — is testament to that.
» Fill the gap «
Behind, Charles Leclerc and Ferrari, who dominated the championship at the start of the season, are now well behind Red Bull: 76 points separate the two teams and Leclerc, relegated to third place in the championship, is 49 points behind Verstappen. Almost two jokers in advance knowing that a victory is worth 25 points.
Failed strategy, questionable reliability… in recent weeks, the Scuderia has let its Austrian rival fly away in the championship and today no longer has room for error if it wants to hold its own against the competition.
« We weren’t euphoric at the start of the season, so we’re not going to be down now, » Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto said in mid-June.
On the historic English track, Mercedes, modest third in the championship, is still waiting for its comeback while its drivers, the British George Russell and the seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, are 4th and 6th in the championship.
The team based in Brackley, very close to Silverstone, will therefore try to put on a good figure at home, driven by a series of modifications made to the W13 and thus (finally) tame its single-seater with its original aerodynamics.
“We know the top two teams have a huge advantage, so our challenge is to close that gap. Silverstone has been successful for us in the past, we have improvements to come, and it’s a smoother track,” assured his boss, Toto Wolff. Enough to see “Sir Lewis” and “Mister George” return to center stage?