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Verstappen believes rivals catching Red Bull shouldn’t be classed as “normal”

Written By Carl Hilliard


Three-time Red Bull World Champion Max Verstappen admitted that his team shouldn’t accept being caught by their rivals, ahead of the 2024 Austrian Grand Prix weekend. 


Image credit: Red Bull

After a record-breaking 2022 and 2023 season respectively, and a fairly straightforward start in 2024, Red Bull and their RB20 have lost the edge they once had in spades. McLaren have made significant strides with the development of their car, with Lando Norris claiming his first race win at the 2024 Miami Grand Prix.


While the RB20 is arguably a slight cut above the rest still, with Verstappen winning seven out of the ten races so far, it is, however, the three races he didn’t win that is the concerning aspect for the Dutchman, as both Ferrari and McLaren have clinched those, showing that the gap to RB is as close as ever, if not completely closed. 


Speaking ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, Verstappen shared his thoughts on the gap being reduced, and why RB simply shouldn’t accept this as the new norm.


“In general, everybody has come closer,” Verstappen stated. “Of course we had a hugely dominant year last year, even until the last race. And yes, at the moment it’s all just a bit more difficult and I think we just have to be honest about that.


“We could say: ‘Yes, it’s normal’. I don’t think it’s normal. We always want to be better, and that’s why I bring that up. I could also say: ‘Yes, we won so it’s fine’. But of course, I don’t look at it that way. 


“We do have to keep working hard,” Verstappen continued. “If we think this is normal, people are going to overtake us.”


“At the moment, it is clear that others have made bigger steps than us.”


Image credit: Red Bull

It is clear McLaren, Ferrari, and Mercedes have all made significant upgrades to their car, and while the RB20 still pips those cars to the race win more often than not, there seems to be only one key factor separating the pack: Max Verstappen himself. 


While the RB20 has been caught up to in terms of pure performance, Verstappen as a driver, however, has not. The Dutchman is the only thing in the way of other teams clinching more wins, time and time again proving he can dig deep and find performance when it always matters most, along with his champion mindset of simply wanting to win at all costs, all of the time. 


While he missed out on victory in Austria, Verstappen looks to claim more victories heading into the European leg, as he eyes up the most championship points to claim his fourth successive crown at the end of this season. 


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