Max Verstappen is chasing recovery in Baku: ‘Even if the speed is still lacking’ | formula 1

Max Verstappen still has an important matter to deal with next weekend during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, says the reigning world champion in Formula 1. Last year he missed the victory due to bad luck.

Verstappen was heading for victory in Baku last year when one of his tires burst five laps before the end and his race was over. This year he wants to make up for that with the win. ,,It is a difficult circuit”, the Dutchman knows. “It will be difficult to find the best set-up for the car and the right height of the wing.”

The street circuit in Baku is treacherous. It has a long straight where overtaking is possible, but also narrow bends that go right through the city center. ,,I am especially curious if we can improve the speed of the car for qualifying, because that is still lacking this season,” said the championship leader.

Starting times of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix:

Friday June 10
• First free practice: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
• Second free practice: 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Saturday 11 June:
• Third free practice: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
• Qualification: 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Sunday 12 June:
• Race start: 1 p.m.

Verstappen’s biggest competitor in Baku is arguably his teammate Sergio Perez, who won in Baku last year and is in the shape of his life this season. The Mexican also triumphed in the Monaco Grand Prix ten days ago and he extended his contract with Red Bull in the principality. “My goal is to win races and fight for the world title,” he says plainly. “I’m a fan of street circuits, because that’s where the driver can really make a difference.”

Battle Red Bull and Ferrari

Red Bull and Ferrari have been in charge in Formula 1 so far this year, with the Italian racing stable especially excelling in qualifying. Charles Leclerc, the number 2 in the World Cup standings, has already conquered pole position five times. In the races, Red Bull has the upper hand so far; Verstappen has already won four grands prix (Saudi Arabia, Emilia-Romagna, Miami and Spain).

Charles Leclerc (left) and Max Verstappen greet each other. The battle this season is still between Ferrari and Red Bull. © AP

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner emphasized after the Monaco Grand Prix that Verstappen and Pérez have equal opportunities when it comes to the world title. ,,It is clear that Checo is in top form. The difference with Max has really become smaller. It’s a long season and that’s why it’s good to have two drivers who can compete with Ferrari.”

Verstappen said he is happy that Pérez has re-signed. The Mexican often sacrificed himself last year to help the Dutchman to his first title. ,,It’s good to have continuity in the team and besides, I get on very well with him.”

View the standings of the world championship below: