This weekend at the Mexican Grand Prix, Max Verstappen will try to ruin the celebrations for his rabid home supporters by beating his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez. The 25-year-old world champion is going for a historic 14th win of the season after his victory in Texas last Sunday sealed the constructors’ world championship for Red Bull only 24 hours after the death of team founder and co-owner Dieter Mateschitz.
As of now, he has tied seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel of Germany with 13 victories in a single calendar year, but he is aware that another triumph, particularly at Perez’s cost, may derail a celebratory event of some kind.
The fan favorite Mexican has already won twice for Red Bull this season, in Monaco and Singapore, and would want to add a third victory, his first on home soil, to his résumé. However, he knows it won’t be easy.
He believes that even if Red Bull’s two primary titles are already decided, Verstappen should and will race to win, and that the team’s own celebrations may be subdued when the penalty for their 2021 over-spend is ultimately published.
In other words, “I don’t want to be handed anything,” he said. As the years have passed, I have become used to succeeding without outside assistance.
“I have to do it. I’m keeping it in mind as I strive for perfection this weekend in pursuit of a win.
He shot off rumors that Verstappen may get even with him for keeping Lewis Hamilton behind on the last lap last year in Abu Dhabi, when Verstappen controversially won his maiden world championship.
Ultimately, I believe it is perfectly natural. “Everyone here is rooting for us to win,” Perez remarked.
I have no faith that he will do it exactly as I have done with him in the past if there is a case where it is different, that there is a different sort of aid.
Being in top form, Verstappen made it clear that this is just another race for him to win.
For second place, he must “well, he understands what he needs to do; he must finish ahead of Charles (Leclerc),” he remarked.
The team’s goal is always to finish in the top two positions, and my own goal as a driver is to win more races.
Competing for second place
Beyond the stakes of national pride and individual honor, Perez is also aiming to come second behind Verstappen in the drivers’ championship.
He’s now in third place, two points behind Ferrari’s Leclerc, going into Sunday’s hot race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, where he finished third in a close race last year behind Verstappen and Hamilton.
The thin air at a height of 2,240 meters challenges the cooling needs of the engines and brakes and affects the power output and downforce levels, resulting in races that are always exciting and unforgettable.
Mercedes is beginning to close the gap on Red Bull, and the team may debut and race a new design for its front wing this weekend after it made a fuss and prompted a “exchange of opinions” with the stewards last weekend.
Andrew Shovlin, the director of trackside engineering, said the team was only able to bring one vehicle to Austin because they did not have enough of the necessary components.
Those components are more readily accessible in Mexico, he added. At this point, the intention is to race with that wing, so we’ll do it a test drive on Friday to make sure everything is as it should be.
After being dethroned as champions by Red Bull for a record-setting eighth time in a row, the Silver Arrows are hoping to finish the season on a high note.
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Hamilton, who has a record 103 career wins, is presently winless in a season for the first time in his career.
A third victory in Mexico, where Verstappen has already won three times, would be pleasing, though not popular with the locals, but he will have two more possibilities in Brazil and Abu Dhabi before the season closes next month.