Max Verstappen anticipates a ‘tougher’ race. Lewis Hamilton prepares for the Austrian Grand Prix.

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Max Verstappen anticipates a ‘tougher’ race. Lewis Hamilton prepares for the Austrian Grand Prix.

At the Austrian Grand Prix, championship leader Max Verstappen is ready for a fight.

During the Styrian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen dominated the stage, finishing 35 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton at the Red Bull Ring; but, the Red Bull driver anticipates a “tougher” challenge this Sunday in the Austrian Grand Prix.

With his victory last time around, Verstappen extended his lead in the driver standings to 18 points over the seven-time world champion.

Red Bull has won the last four races in a row, including Sergio Perez’s maiden victory in Baku, and now leads the team standings by 40 points over Mercedes.

It’s a sharp contrast to the previous seven years, when Mercedes dominated the championship, winning double titles every year, with Hamilton taking six of them and Nico Rosberg taking the other.

Despite Red Bull’s excellent position, the Dutchman thought nothing was definite going into the ninth round.

“I anticipate a more difficult battle. In this sport, there are no guarantees, and we must continue to improve,” he stated on Thursday, ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

“Of course, it’s really fantastic to see so many fans again; I think everyone missed it a lot. It simply generates an atmosphere that we are all anticipating this weekend.”

“That weekend was a lot of fun, but there’s not a guarantee that it will happen again, you know?” he continued. We need to make sure that with the softer compounds, we have a good car with good balance again, and that everyone, of course, learn from their mistakes from last week.”

After the race last weekend, the FIA smacked Verstappen on the wrist for performing a burnout at the finish line.

Despite maintaining that he performed it safely, the Red Bull driver indicated that he would not do it again to avoid a potential FIA punishment.

“Next time, I’ll try a donut,” he joked. “OK, great, I won’t do that again,” he added. “At the time, I felt it was incredibly fun and safe, but I understand they don’t want to see something like this happen again, which is fine with me.”

Mercedes is still in the “battle” for the title this season, according to Hamilton, but Red Bull has a clear lead. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”

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