Verstappen expecting strong Mercedes rebound in Baku

Max Verstappen is bracing for a strong reaction from his Mercedes rivals next week in Baku in the wake of the Brackley squad’s Monaco setback.

Verstappen clinched a dominant win in the Principality that allowed him to overhaul Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ standings while Red Bull also moved ahead of Mercedes in the Constructors’ championship by a single point.

Although the Dutchman was delighted to lead the pack after five rounds, the 12-time Grand Prix winner insisted he needed “to be there” at the end of the year when he crosses the finish line in Abu Dhabi.

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“It was a very good weekend and of course I’ve never stood on the podium there before so it was very nice to get the win,” said the 23-year-old.

“Taking the lead in the championship feels good but we need to be there at the end of the final race, that’s all that matters.

“Where we are now feels good and of course it shows that we had a decent start to the year but we have to keep on pushing because we still need to improve and do better.

“Nobody is ever perfect or standing still in this sport. So far we have made the smallest mistakes but nothing major and that is why we are first at the moment but we all know it can change very quickly.”

    Read also: Red Bull on top thanks to making ‘less mistakes’ – Verstappen

Looking ahead at next weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Verstappen admitted that Baku – where Mercedes has won two of the three F1races that have taken place along the shores of the Caspian Sea – isn’t among his favorite venues.

“The track is okay but probably not a favourite of mine if I’m honest,” he said.

“I’ve never been on the podium there so it’s time to change that. Let’s see how competitive we are, I do expect Mercedes to come back strong there though.”

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