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Verstappen, Perez expecting 'hectic' home Austrian GP weekend

The World Champion is looking for a fifth win on the trot and seventh from nine races to start 2023.

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are expecting a "hectic" and "tricky" Formula 1 weekend at Red Bull's home Austrian Grand Prix. F1 heads to Spielberg this weekend for Round 9 of the season, with Verstappen having won the last four races, leading every lap in Monaco, Spain and Canada. That form, coupled with a blip for Sergio Perez has seen the points lead balloon to 69 points heading into a track Verstappen has won at four times while Perez only has a best finish of sixth. It is also the second Sprint weekend of the season, with Verstappen vocal in his dislike of the format, but the Red Bull driver is expecting to put on a good show for the huge swaths of Dutch fans who make the trip to Austria.

Verstappen in bullish mood

"This is the second Sprint race of the season, they are always more hectic and complex compared to a normal race, and the weather looks a bit unpredictable too so it will definitely mix things up a little bit," explained Verstappen. "Of course Austria is a home race for us, and I'm looking forward to seeing all the support again at the track, hopefully we’ll put on a good show for everyone in the grandstands. "We always enjoy coming back to Austria and I’m excited to try to add another trophy to the collection for the team. "We’ve had some good results there already so let’s see what we can do."

Perez must produce

After winning two of the first four races, Perez only has one podium in the last four Grands Prix, and has failed to make Q3 in the last three events. The blip in form has allowed the likes of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton to close in on him in second in the standings, but the Mexican remains firm in his belief of producing a result what he is "capable of." "My focus will be on track because I know how important it is for me to have a consistent weekend and really produce a result, I know I am capable of," he said with Alonso nine and Hamilton 24 points behind his tally of 126. "The weather looks like it could be tricky and it’s a Sprint weekend so time in the car to set-up will be minimal and critical, we must maximise every moment we have to prepare. "I had fun at the last Sprint weekend in Baku and it was a very successful time but at a very different circuit. I want to achieve the same again but know I need to step up to achieve that." Can Red Bull win every race in the 2023 season and make F1 history? Let us know in the comments and by voting in the poll below!

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