Max Verstappen said he is refusing to dream about completing a hat-trick of world championships after he delivered another emphatic performance to win the Austrian Grand Prix.
The double world champion was made to work for his seventh victory from nine rounds after he passed Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz on track in Spielberg.
But after manoeuvring himself ahead of both Ferrari drivers, Verstappen raced off into the distance to the delight of his 70,000-strong travelling army from the Netherlands.
He leads Sergio Perez in the standings by 81 points – the equivalent of more than three victories – ahead of next weekend’s British Grand Prix.
However, when asked about the prospect of taking his third straight title, Verstappen said: “I don’t like to think about that yet.
“I am enjoying the moment, driving with this car, and working with this team. I am just very happy for this weekend and we will turn our focus to the next race at Silverstone.”
A day after taking the sprint race spoils, Verstappen was celebrating his fifth consecutive victory, and the 42nd of his career to move ahead of Ayrton Senna.
Verstappen fended off an aggressive Leclerc on the opening lap before he fell to third after the Ferrari drivers stopped early for tyres under the Virtual Safety Car.
It ended Verstappen’s remarkable run of 249 consecutive laps at the head of a race – a streak stretching back to the Miami Grand Prix on May 8 – however, the Dutchman required just 11 laps before he was back in charge.
After he left the pits on lap 25, Verstappen moved ahead of Sainz a couple of laps later, and then fought his way past Leclerc on lap 35 of 71.
From there, the Dutchman cruised to the flag – even stopping for tyres on the penultimate lap in order to set the fastest lap and take a bonus point.
“It was important to stay in front of Charles on lap one and after that we were able to do our own race,” added Verstappen.
“We chose not to box under the VSC and we followed our normal strategy and that worked out really well.
“I knew I would get them back eventually and following our own plan was the best way forward. To see all the orange in the grandstands and the flares at the end was incredible.”
Verstappen has won 16 of the last 20 races in F1, with Red Bull unbeaten this season as they bid to become F1’s first invincible team.
“We can only take it one race at a time,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “Can we [go unbeaten]? Yes. Will we? Who knows.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub