Had it not been for a Pirelli tire failure at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix earlier this month, Max Verstappen would have won four races in a row and would be leading the championship by at least 25 points.
His performances since a stinging defeat at the Spanish Grand Prix in early May have been sublime — to the point that seven-time Lewis Hamilton appears to be running out of answers.
Sunday’s triumph at the Styrian Grand Prix was no different.
It’s easy to underestimate the quality of a drive like Verstappen’s at the Red Bull Ring, but compare his performance to teammate Sergio Perez’s, 47 seconds behind in fourth place, and you start to build a picture.
Every time Hamilton pushed him, Verstappen had an answer, and even when his brake pedal went to the floor on two occasions between Turns 9 and 10, he kept his cool and kept the car on track.
The 2021 campaign is increasingly looking like Verstappen’s to lose, and he is already the clear favorite to win next weekend when F1 returns for a second race at the Red Bull Ring. Yet the Dutchman is taking nothing for granted.
“We do have a very good package but I want to see it every single weekend, because every track is different,” he said. “It’s still about finding the perfect setup on the car because it can be quite sensitive in some areas to make it work.
“It’s never good enough, so I always want to try and improve every single weekend. Even a weekend like this, it looks amazing, we won by a big margin, but it’s never good enough.
“So we just look into the details, what we can do better and when we go to other tracks again, I don’t expect it to be like today.
“We have to just keep being very focused in what we have to do. So far I’m very happy with how it’s been going, but like I said, it’s never good enough.”