Verstappen confident of turning ‘competitive’ Red Bull COTA form into first US Grand Prix win
Max Verstappen has finished fourth, third and even second at the Circuit of The Americas in the past, but the Dutchman is targeting nothing less than his first United States Grand Prix victory this weekend when he faces off against title rival Lewis Hamilton, with six races remaining in 2021.
Hamilton is statistically the dominant driver at COTA, having won five out of the eight editions of the race here. But it’s a circuit where Verstappen has always performed well too, taking a P4 with Toro Rosso in 2015, while 2018 saw him hold off Hamilton to claim P2 behind Kimi Raikkonen.
And Verstappen – who sits six points clear of Hamilton in the drivers’ standings – said it was exciting to be heading back to the track with a realistic chance of victory this weekend.
“We have always been competitive in the US and have got close to some good results,” he said, “so it's about converting that into a win now. We go to every track now knowing that we can fight at least for a podium now, but also a win and that is different to past years.
“We are focussed on doing the best we can and always trying to win the race, and that will be no different in Austin. It will be another close battle this weekend and I am looking forward to that.”
Verstappen’s team mate Sergio Perez found his way back onto the podium at the Turkish Grand Prix last time out for the first time since his P3 at Paul Ricard. And although Perez conceded that Mercedes had enjoyed a strong run of races recently – with two wins to Red Bull’s one (and McLaren’s one) in the previous four Grands Prix – Perez predicted a renaissance in form from Red Bull in the coming races.
“I feel great at the moment,” said Perez. “I cannot wait to get back in the car again and I am massively looking forward to the weekend.
“Going into the season run-in, we know we must maximise everything from our side. I think Mercedes have been very strong in the last four or five races and we haven't been able to match them for speed. But I believe that Austin and Mexico are going to be good tracks for us, and you will see us producing stronger performances.”
Red Bull currently sit 36 points adrift of Mercedes in the constructors’ standings, with just six races to run this year.