Max Verstappen’s well-worked overtaking move at the death of the French Grand Prix last weekend gave Red Bull some much-needed breathing room at the top of the World Championship table.
They will be feeling confident heading into the next two races, with the Styrian Grand Prix and next week's Austrian Grand Prix considered home turf for Red Bull, and it will provide the team a great opportunity to further extend their lead ahead of Mercedes and Verstappen’s title rival Lewis Hamilton.
There is currently a 12-point gap between the two heading into the double races in Austria, which Red Bull know like the back of their hand. They will be expected to come away with victory in both races but the pressure and expectancy could lead to their downfall and Hamilton could pounce.
The Styrian Grand Prix is a race known for its speed and speed is what best suits Red Bull as Verstappen will look to add another dent to Hamilton’s record-chasing eighth Drivers’ Championship. The scenic track that goes through the Styrian mountains is sure to be a crucial point in the season for both Red Bull and Mercedes.
Hamilton, however, is renowned for thriving in races such as this where he needs to deliver a strong result. An example from when Hamilton excelled in a similar scenario was the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2008. He needed to ensure that he finished fifth to secure his first Formula One Drivers’ Championship and succeeded by placing fourth.
He has shown countless times that pressure does not faze him and he handles it with ease. It is in this race at the weekend we could see another Hamilton masterclass as he needs to make ground on the lead Verstappen holds after his agonisingly late defeat at Paul Ricard last weekend.
There is set to be a crowd of 140,000 to watch all of this undoubted action to unfold and they will be hoping to see another enthralling encounter between Hamilton and Verstappen in what is truly a battle for the ages. If Hamilton can deliver another one of his great performances against all the odds, it will swing the title back in his favour and it will also add more pressure on Verstappen and Red Bull who will be expected to cruise the next two races on their patch.
One thing is for certain, the way this season has shaped up so far means another intense weekend is in store. The battle for the Drivers’ Championship is hotter than it has been in a few years and fans are blessed with witnessing this great clash between Hamilton and Verstappen – which is looking like it could go all the way, especially if Hamilton can deal a blow to his rival this weekend.