Verstappen Eyes Perfect 10 at Albert Park Amid Red Bull Discord

As Red Bull tries to get past the off-track issue, Formula One champion Max Verstappen will try to win back-to-back Australian Grands Prix on Sunday and tie his record of 10 consecutive race wins.

With another victory at Albert Park, the Dutchman would tie his record of ten victories from Miami to the Italian Grand Prix from the previous year and further distance himself from his competitors.

Though the early season victories have been tempered by team turmoil and accusations against manager Christian Horner, Verstappen led a Red Bull 1-2 with Sergio Perez at both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The woman, whose complaint was dismissed, filed an appeal after Horner was found not guilty of any wrongdoing toward a Red Bull employee, according to British media.

Red Bull GmbH, the Formula One champions’ Austria-based parent company, has not commented on the reports but said before the season that the accuser had a right of appeal.

While the saga has had no perceivable impact on Verstappen’s performance, the driver’s father, Jos Verstappen, said after the Bahrain Grand Prix that the team risked being torn apart if Horner stayed in charge.

Those comments triggered fears Verstappen may look elsewhere from 2025 but the triple world champion, contracted to 2028, said things would have to “go really crazy” for that to happen.

Verstappen is already 15 points clear of team mate Perez and 23 ahead of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, raising the prospect that both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships may end up a repeat of last year’s procession.

With Red Bull’s RB20 performing at a different level to rival cars, the intrigue so far has focused on which team will emerge “best of the rest”.

Leclerc finished more than 18 seconds adrift of Verstappen at Jeddah and Ferrari will be eager to close the gap at Albert Park where the Red Bull driver won a chaotic race laden with crashes and three red flags last year.

Ferrari were cheered in Saudi Arabia by the performance of British reserve driver Oliver Bearman, who finished seventh as a late replacement for Carlos Sainz, though the Spaniard is expected back in the race seat this week after appendicitis surgery.

Mercedes, touted as a potential destination for Verstappen in 2025 to replace Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton, have yet to perform at a level that would impress the Dutch champion.

Hamilton finished ninth in Jeddah and lamented three years’ of stagnation for the team’s car, saying big changes were needed.

Team boss Toto Wolff said the W15 car had not delivered on expectations but insisted it has potential.

“The chasing pack is so close, which means you don’t have to be out by much to lose three or four places on the grid,” he said in a preview ahead of Albert Park.

“It also means you don’t have to find much to move up three or four positions. Maximising the potential of the car each weekend is key. Australia gives us another chance to show what we can do.”

Daniel Ricciardo may also feel pressure to perform as he gears up for his return to his home circuit for the first time since 2022, this time with the rebadged RB outfit.

Ricciardo was 16th at Jeddah, one place behind team mate Yuki Tsunoda, prompting Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko to warn him to raise his game.

Young compatriot Oscar Piastri is well placed to steal Ricciardo’s thunder in front of home fans, though, after finishing fourth for McLaren in Saudi Arabia.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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