Verstappen hopes for an Austrian GP repeat as pressure mounts on Gasly
Red Bull Racing are hoping for repeat fortunes when they return to the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend, but it will be a tough ask.
Last year, Max Verstappen stormed to a brilliant victory in front of a predominantly Dutch crowd as he claimed his fourth career victory at the circuit owned by Red Bull. But with Mercedes in dominant form this season, having won all of the races thus far, the team from Tilbrook will need a large dose of luck to spring a repeat.
"Winning at the Red Bull Ring in a Red Bull car was a very special moment and it was incredible with so many Austrian and Dutch fans in the crowd," said Verstappen. "We will of course do our best and it’s always good for the Team to be in Austria as it’s a home Grand Prix and there’s a really good energy.
"I think there will be a lot of adrenaline flowing this week!”
Verstappen raced to a lonely fourth spot in France last weekend, finishing ahead of Sebastian Vettel and closing the gap between the pair in the standings to 11 points. They are both a long way off Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton, who is chasing his sixth world title, and Valtteri Bottas.
While Verstappen keeps his stock high with consistent performances at the sharp end, pressure is mounting on Pierre Gasly on the other side of the garage. The Frenchman has struggled to adapt to life in the 'senior' Red Bull team having cut his teeth at Toro Rosso last term. Despite sitting sixth in the standings, Gasly's best finish of fifth is equal to Verstappen's worst of the season, and only picked up a point in his home race thanks to penalties dished out after the chequered flag to Daniel Ricciardo, who he replaced at Tilbrook.
Rumours are already rife about his future at the team, with both Toro Rosso drivers Alex Albon and Daniil Kvyat impressing. Kvyat was infamously ditched from Red Bull and replaced by Verstappen ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix in 2016 - a race the Dutchman went on to win on his debut for the team, while Kvyat struggled and dropped out of the sport in 2018.
Gasly though is looking forward to his team's home race, and hopes to get his season on track.
He said: "As a Red Bull driver, racing at the Austrian GP is something really special and I’m looking forward to seeing all the fans over the weekend. The track has been quite good for Red Bull in the past and we’re ready to push for the best result we can.