After the conclusion of the recent Azerbaijan Grand Prix, it was very much advantage Max Verstappen and with a four-point lead in the Drivers’ standings, the objective was to enlarge that by the end of the French Grand Prix.
With Formula One’s racing circus descending on the legendary Paul Ricard circuit, it played host to an incredible end to the race and when it looked like Lewis Hamilton would return to the top step of the points ladder with a win in France, Verstappen had other things in mind.
Although the Dutchman placed his Red Bull on pole position for the race, he would also run wide early on and when you offer a gift like that to someone of Hamilton’s ilk, it is one that he rarely refuses to take advantage of.
However, a mistake on the first lap does at least give you plenty of time to rectify your error and it does not matter what you do at the start of the proceedings, it is more a case of what you eventually do at the end.
A mantra that the son of Jos Verstappen can certainly get on board with and with a daring move being carried out on the penultimate lap of this year’s French Grand Prix, the 23-year-old would find himself back in first place.
A position he would not give up in the handful of miles that were left and by taking the chequered flag first, not only did it leave the Mercedes team stunned but it also meant that the championship leader extended his advantage to 12 points.
Admittedly that is not a huge margin in the grand scheme of things, but the manner in which Red Bull’s number one pilot came out on top, is something that could give the whole team a huge psychological boost.
Not only that, but it will further tilt the sportsbooks in the favour of the current championship leader and after such a confident late display in France, there is also a greater deal of confidence being shown by punters all around the world.
As always, sports betting sites will offer daily lines and picks and one of the shrewder bets you can place at present, is Verstappen coming out on top when the next stop of Formula One’s busy schedule arrives in Austria.
Not only that, but it will be the first of two back-to-back stops in the country, as the Styrian Grand Prix makes a return after a successful staging in 2020 and then, the same track will be used for the Austrian Grand Prix soon after.
While of course, there is one hugely important point to highlight with the next two rounds of the championship and that is the location. A location that will give the Red Bull team a monumental advantage over their rivals.
That’s because both the Styrian and Austrian Grand Prix will be held at the Red Bull Ring, a track that acts as home to the energy drink backed team and such a prospect, will be a rather scary one for Mercedes.
With a now 12-point advantage between the two main title protagonists, there is every chance that becomes far greater by the time they both say goodbye to Austria and if the gap extends to more than 26, the defending champion will then be in serious problems.
At that point, it comes down to mechanical failures more than overtaking and with more than a win’s worth in terms of points buffer, Mercedes may find themselves in a situation that they rarely find themselves in.
A situation where they will be playing catchup and although the Stevenage-born Hamilton has been tested in the past, this is certainly his most genuine of the past few years. Which also raises a question of his own aptitude for the latter half of this year’s calendar.
Quite simply, the British racing ace has been here all before and won the championship seven times and if there is something to be said for experience, he certainly has it in spades. Then again, the naivety of relative youth, could be the one thing that finally outfoxes him this year.
Whichever way the championship quest plays out, it is fair to say that the sport has needed a titanic clash to decide it and not just an in-house within Mercedes. Which means, with the way things are shaping up, racing fans across the globe are going to be in for one almighty treat in 2021.