Max Verstappen believes that the Formula One drivers will “try and put on a good show for everyone watching at home on TV” when the 2020 season finally gets underway with the Austrian GP at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s home track this weekend in Spielberg.
The Dutchman has won the last two races at the Red Bull Ring and he is looking forward to getting back on the track alongside teammate Alexander Albon with team principal Christian Horner directing tactics from the pit wall.
The last time you were in the RB16 was in February at winter testing in Barcelona. Is this the longest you haven’t raced for since you were karting?
It has been really weird that I haven’t been able to drive in such a long time and it’s the longest it’s been since I started karting. Luckily, I have a simulator at home and as you’ve probably seen, I have been using that a lot during the shutdown period. I’m glad we can get back to racing now but this time has been very challenging for so many people, so we have nothing to complain about at all.
How much will you miss the “orange army”, especially in Austria?
Of course, it is going to be very different without the orange army and it’s going to feel a little strange. There are usually so many great Dutch fans in Austria. I have lots of good memories from that track, I remember looking up at the fans at the end of the race last year and they were all standing up and cheering, it was crazy. It gave me an even bigger smile after the win. It’s a shame we don’t have that this year but we will try and put on a good show for everyone watching at home on TV.
What would a hattrick at the Red Bull Ring mean to you and do you consider yourself as a favourite?
I would prefer to win a Championship! I don’t really think about a hattrick, the most important thing for me is to have a competitive car and perform at my best. I never consider myself the favourite because actually when you look at the track it’s not even our best track, but last year, of course, it was very warm. We were really good with keeping the engine cooling down. So I don’t expect it to be an easy win, I think Mercedes again will be very strong. Who knows where Ferrari will be as well, so no, it will be a very hard and tough battle again to win that race, but we’re going to try.
There are a lot of races in a short time frame this season. Do you like that and is the intensity of that pressure good for you?
You are away a lot of course and you can’t go home in between races, which is going to be difficult especially for the team members with families. I don’t really think about it as pressure though as it is what we love and what we are here for.
PHOTO CREDIT: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing looks on from the garage during the Red Bull Racing RB16 launch at Silverstone Circuit on February 12, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)