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Formula 1: everyone against Verstappen at the British GP

Max Verstappen in free practice for the British Grand Prix.Photo: CHRISTIAN BRUNAWinner of the last two Grand Prix, the Dutch Max Verstappen, solid


in free practice for the British Grand Prix.

Photo: CHRISTIAN BRUNA

Winner of the last two Grand Prix, the Dutch Max Verstappen, solid leader of the world championship, will seek his third consecutive victory this weekend at the Silverstone circuit, Great Britain, where he left last season after a touch with Lewis Hamilton.

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The 24-year-old enters the 10th round of the season (out of 22) 46 points clear of his teammate, Mexican Sergio Pérez in the drivers’ standings.

An advantage that he will want to keep, even if he maintains a love-hate relationship with the British circuit, in which he has alternated podiums and retirements since his arrival in F1 in 2015.

Last year, he had to retire after running off the track into the gravel, propelled by a touch with Lewis Hamilton. This incident was back in the news this week, after an October interview with three-time world champion Nelson Piquet went viral, in which he analyzed this touch and described the Briton as “little black” (“neguiho” in Brazilian). .

In 2020, Verstappen finished 2nd, and a week later he took victory during the F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, held on the same track.

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His worst result in the occasions in which he did not drop out was his fifth place in 2019.

“This weekend’s performance will depend on our ability to find the right balance and we will also need a good tire strategy, because degradation will be high,” he analyzed on the eve of the Verstappen test, which is seeking its 7th victory of the season.

He also warns: “There are many things that we have to solve this weekend, it will not be a walk”.

After a difficult start to the season, mainly due to reliability problems, “Mad Max” is now in pole position to win a second consecutive world title. His performances in Canada and Azerbaijan in June, two races dominated from start to finish, are arguments for that.

“Reduce the difference”

Behind, the Monegasque Charles Leclerc and the Ferrari team, who dominated the start of the season, are now far behind Red Bull: 76 points separate the two teams and Leclerc, relegated to third position, is 49 points behind Verstappen .

Strategy failures, questionable reliability… in recent days the ‘Scuderia’ has let its Austrian rival escape in the championship and is left with no room for error if it wants to keep up with the competition.

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“We weren’t euphoric at the start of the season, so we’re not going to be down now,” reassured ‘Scuderia’ boss Mattia Binotto in mid-June.

On the historic English track, Mercedes, occupying a modest third position in the championship, hopes to start its comeback, with its British drivers George Russell and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in 4th and 6th positions in the World Championship.

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The team based in Brackley, near Silverstone, will try to leave a good feeling, boosted by a series of improvements to its car and also finally tame its W13 aerodynamics.

“We know that the first two teams have a considerable advantage, so our challenge will then be to reduce that distance. Silverstone has given us successes in the past, improvements are coming and it is a smoother track”, said skipper Toto Wolff. Will it be enough for “Sir Lewis” and “Mister George” to return to the main stage?

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