BUDAPEST (AFP) – World champion Max Verstappen conceded on Thursday (July 28) that he feels wary about his prospects at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix where Red Bull have not won since 2014.
Despite enjoying a lead of 63 points over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, the 24-year-old Dutchman said he was mindful of his team’s record at the twisty Hungaroring circuit in recent years.
Verstappen enjoyed a crushing victory after Leclerc crashed out of the lead at last weekend’s French Grand Prix.
“I really enjoy driving here as it’s a bit like driving on a go-kart track and it has a very technical second sector which I like,” he said.
“But it’s difficult to say how I think we will perform this weekend – it’s not our strongest track. Of course, I want a good result so we will try everything we can to win as a team.”
Daniel Ricciardo, now with McLaren, won the 2014 race when Sebastian Vettel, who started second on the grid, ended up finishing seventh for Red Bull.
On Thursday, four-time world champion Vettel announced his intention to retire at the end of this season, prompting warm tributes from his colleagues in the paddock and pit-lane.
Verstappen has not won in Hungary in five attempts – twice finishing second and once fifth.
He admitted he is looking forward to Formula One’s annual August holidays.
“I’m looking forward to the summer break and hopefully the team can get time to recover so we can make a strong start to the second half of the season,” he said.
He paid a rich tribute to four-time champion Vettel who won in Hungary for Ferrari in 2017, when Verstappen finished fifth.
“At the end of the day, he has achieved so much in this sport that it’s fully understandable for him to retire,” he said.
“I think he’s had an amazing career. He’s won a lot of races, a lot of championships as well. And of course he’s a great ambassador for the sport.
“So to see him go, it’s something you can see coming, everyone is getting older and whatever it is, retiring.
“And it’s, of course, never nice when that moment arrives, especially for Seb’s fans, but these things happen.
“Now, it’s important that he’s just got to enjoy his life with the family, because everyone has such a short period of time in your life that you work so hard to achieve all these things he has achieved.”