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Jun.28 (GMM) Max Verstappen could be even more dominant as Red Bull’s own Formula 1 circuit hosts yet another grand prix this weekend.
On Sunday, the Dutchman extended his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton to 18 points, as Mercedes admits that Red Bull has pulled ahead in the development race.
“I don’t worry about everything Mercedes says,” Verstappen told De Telegraaf.
“Maybe they did more in the winter and we’ve done more in the season. But the focus is on this year and we know we have a good chance.
“I support our approach 100 percent.”
Indeed, Toto Wolff admits that Mercedes’ decision to completely cease development of its 2021 car in order to focus on the new 2022 rules is now having its impact on-track.
“We knew this day would come, and now it’s here,” said the Mercedes team boss.
“But we’re not nowhere – we’re fighting for both championships. Still, everyone is amazed that we aren’t driving off into the sunset.
“We are 100 percent focused on 2022. The more Red Bull develops now, the greater the gap. So we fight knowing that we have this deficit.
“But Red Bull can’t keep bringing new parts until September, otherwise they will be two seconds behind next year,” Wolff insisted.
His Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner, however, says he “can’t quite believe” that Mercedes has totally stopped developing the 2021 car.
“What they do is their business,” he said. “But it’s obviously a balancing act.
“If it means that we all have to work a little harder here, then we’re ready to do that.”
Wolff says whether the Mercedes or Red Bull approach is best will only become clear “in a few years”.
Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko said: “We don’t want to make the same mistake as BMW in 2008.
“Kubica had a realistic chance of winning the championship, but the business plan said that you switch to the next season at an early stage.”
When told that Red Bull’s strategy to keep pushing in 2021 is risky, the 78-year-old Austrian smiled: “No risk, no fun.”
So for now, it appears that the energy drink owned team has stolen a clear march.
“The track and the cars are the same, but the tyres are changing to softer compounds,” Dr Marko told Servus TV when asked about this weekend’s second-consecutive race in Austria.
“I assume this will only suit us even more. I think with even softer tyres we can be at least as dominant,” he added.
“When Hamilton pitted, we calculated that we could have done another 10 laps on the same tyre. So we could be even better,” the Red Bull official said.