A triumphant Max Verstappen delivered another perfect performance in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix as Red Bull saluted their founder on ‘home’ turf at the Red Bull Ring.
In the first race in Austria since the death last year of Dietrich Mateschitz, the man who created Red Bull and the modern Red Bull Ring track, defending double world champion Verstappen came home 5.155 seconds clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez third to complete a memorable podium.
Team chief Christian Horner beamed as he recalled Verstappen’s successful late decision to risk a pit-stop and steal fastest lap from Perez.
“No risk, no fun!” he said. “That’s what Dietrich always said and I think he would have enjoyed that race today.
“He was our leader, our founder—he created all this and he was Red Bull!
“And despite him not being here, and his presence, you feel him here and I think, hopefully watching down, he would have enjoyed that one.”
He added that Red Bull had “strategically” executed a perfect race.
“We got all our tools right, staying out at the first VSC (Virtual Safety Car) was crucial, particularly for Checo – and we had great pace.
“Of course, there was a risk in that last bit, but he’s been on form all weekend and we thought it was worth the risk.”
Verstappen’s 42nd career victory lifted him one clear of Ayrton Senna into fifth on the list of all-time winners and took him 81 points ahead of Perez in the drivers’ championship.
It was his fifth consecutive win, his fifth at the Red Bull Ring circuit and a record fourth in an Austrian Grand Prix – and extended the team’s run to nine out of nine this year and 10 in a row overall, one short of McLaren’s 11 straight wins in 1988, a record they can equal at the British Grand Prix next weekend.
Verstappen, however, was reluctant to be drawn into talk of titles and records despite half of his 42 wins coming in the last 14 months.
“Most important to me, of course was to stay in front so after that we could do our own race. So, of course, we opted not to box during the VSC and just followed our normal strategy. I think that worked out really well.
“The tyre life was not that high around here and I think our stints were perfect so it is a great day. I enjoyed it a lot.”
Asked about winning another title, he said: “I don’t like to think about that yet – I’m just enjoying the moment, driving this car, working with the team. I think the whole weekend we have done a really good job.
“The sprint weekend is always very hectic and a lot of things can go wrong and luckily a lot of things went right for us this weekend.”
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