[F1 2019 VIDEO FEATURE] MAX VERSTAPPEN: WAITING TO WIN

Max Verstappen is Formula 1’s real deal. At just 21, in his fifth season in the sport, the Dutchman is the perfect mix of aggression and maturity. His razor-sharp reflexes and instinct tempered with experience, a crash-strewn early 2018 behind him.

And his influence in the sport is exploding… the return of the Dutch Grand Prix next year, pushed through on the back of his popularity represented by his huge and fanatical, travelling “orange army”.

… one that has forced an Olympics-style ticket ballot for the event to be held at the iconic Zandvoort circuit, with more than 600,000 registrations logged, 150,000 after two days.

SOUNDBITE (English) MAX VERSTAPPEN,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“The track itself is challenging. There are not many run-off areas and for the track to come back on the calendar next year will be amazing because you will see a lot of orange in the dunes. So they will fill it up.”

Zandvoort, therefore, can’t come soon enough…but Austria this weekend is another Verstappen-dominated festival.

One that was rocked by celebrations last year when the 21-year-old won for Red Bull at the brand’s home track… its first-ever, and his first for the season, in front of a writhing sea of orange.

SOUNDBITE (English) MAX VERSTAPPEN,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“We all dreamed of this scenario to win at our home Grand Prix, and it's of course an amazing feeling. It was a bit unexpected as well, but the car has been handling well in the race, so I'm really happy.”

Of course, the Dutchman knew the ultimate value of the home win… with Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz watching from the garage.

SOUNDBITE (English) MAX VERSTAPPEN,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“I think it's always important to win, but to win at the Red Bull Ring, as a team with the Red Bull car, it was amazing and I think it was the best one to win in the season for me, so really happy, the big boss Dietrich [Mateschitz] was also here, everyone was here, to see the podium, so very happy with that.”

Verstappen took his second victory for the season in Mexico last year, for his fifth career win, but is yet to get close in 2019. Instead just two podiums, part of the 24 he has scored in F1. 

But that’s not for lack of trying… with Mercedes absolutely dominant, and controlling the championship with an iron fist.

Verstappen trying everything to get past Lewis Hamilton in Monaco, even chancing a desperate lunge at the Nouvelle Chicane, but to no avail.

Regardless, the Dutchman is enjoying his best season start in F1, with at least fourth place in all but one of the first eight races, and podiums in Australia and Spain. Verstappen’s low point, a fifth in Canada.

All solid results as Honda perfects its powerplant and seeks to close the gap to its rivals. But wins cannot come soon enough.

The orange army screaming for the dawn of the Verstappen era , but it’s just not possible right now at Red Bull.

The team has high expectations of a competitive package, however, with the Dutchman hopeful, at the start of the season, of a top car for Honda’s home race in Japan.

SOUNDBITE (English) MAX VERSTAPPEN,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“Probably we’ll do some doughnuts if we win the race. But let’s see if we are able to do that. But I think a lot of races in front of that where we will try to do our best all the time. Hopefully by Suzuka we’ll have a very competitive package.”

So, a top result in Austria this weekend is important to keep everyone on the right path, excited for the future.

… as Red Bull ups its game with Honda.