RED BULL will be aiming to extend their lead in Formula One this weekend with a win in the Austrian Grand Prix.
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Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has warned Mercedes that they will experience bouncing at the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend ahead of a crucial race in the season – claiming that his team will have no problems themselves.
The Austrian side will take to home turf at the halfway mark in the season with a one-two in the Drivers’ Championship standings, with Max Verstappen currently 34 points ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez. They suffered a scare in the title race last week as Carlos Sainz took home his first ever win after 150 races, with Verstappen nursing a puncture at Silverstone and finishing seventh.
Nonetheless, they are expected to bounce back at the Red Bull Ring to edge further ahead in their hunt for a first Constructors’ Championship after eight years of Mercedes dominance. And in a bid to rile up a semi-resurgent Mercedes side of late, Marko has claimed that the Silver Arrows will suffer from porpoising problems in Austria and ultimately detriment Lewis Hamilton’s chances of catching the side in the standings.
“I think other teams will have more trouble with bouncing on this track,” said Marko. “So they’ll just have to raise the cars a little higher. We don’t have any problems with it ourselves.
Lewis Hamilton could suffer problems in Austria, according to Helmut Marko (Image: GETTY)
“We must not forget that the engine is a big part of our performance. Honda builds an engine that works well at higher altitudes. After all, our first victory with a Honda engine was in Austria.”
Verstappen has won the race in three of the previous four years, with Valtteri Bottas taking the spoils in 2020. He will be expected to be near the summit again on his return from last year’s comprehensive victory of over 17 seconds.
And Marko backed the star to impress with a contingency of Dutch fans jetting in to watch the race at his team’s home track. “Max (Verstappen) is of course supported by a lot of Dutch fans,” he continued.
Helmut Marko has backed Red Bull to continue their dominance in Spielberg (Image: GETTY)
“That makes it even more special. But we have to ensure that we curb the enthusiasm a little for him so that he gets enough rest before our race.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton will look to better his fourth-placed finish in last year’s race by taking a podium in Spielberg.