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As rivals face a “brutal” reality, reigning world champion Max Verstappen looks forward to his fourth Formula One title

<p>As the longest-running Formula One season comes to an end in Bahrain, Max Verstappen seems certain to win the drivers’ championship for a record fourth time, with Red Bull once again emerging as the victorious team.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-443940″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/theindiaprint.com-as-rivals-face-a-brutal-reality-reigning-world-champion-max-verstappen-looks-forwa.jpg” alt=”theindiaprint.com as rivals face a brutal reality reigning world champion max verstappen looks forwa” width=”1004″ height=”669″ title=”As rivals face a "brutal" reality, reigning world champion Max Verstappen looks forward to his fourth Formula One title 9″ srcset=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/theindiaprint.com-as-rivals-face-a-brutal-reality-reigning-world-champion-max-verstappen-looks-forwa.jpg 510w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/theindiaprint.com-as-rivals-face-a-brutal-reality-reigning-world-champion-max-verstappen-looks-forwa-150×100.jpg 150w” sizes=”(max-width: 1004px) 100vw, 1004px” /></p>
<p>Regardless of the findings of an impartial inquiry into claims of dominating conduct by team leader Christian Horner, Red Bull has amassed an incredible amount of momentum and produced a breathtaking vehicle that exuded promise throughout preseason testing.</p>
<p>As the F1 circus begins an arduous and unprecedented run of 24 race weekends lasting to early December, a year of déjà vu is likely with steady, unchanging rules and no changes to the driver lineups.</p>
<p>A leadership change is unlikely to have an impact on Verstappen’s mental toughness, the team’s well-honed winning habit, Adrian Newey’s creative brilliance, or his general sense of drive and thirst for greater success.</p>
<p>Red Bull had every reason to think they can maintain their position at the top after storming to a record 21 victories in 22 races the previous year, with Verstappen taking home a record 19, along with 12 pole positions and nine fastest laps, as he amassed an incredible 575 points.</p>
<p>If Verstappen and his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez are to aspire for a clean sweep this time around, a lot will rely on Perez’s form, who won twice last year before faltering.</p>
<p>The 26-year-old Dutchman has every right to start this season with a swagger after his dominant play in 2023, but he will need the Mexican’s assistance if the squad is to shatter all of its own records in an unbeatable campaign.</p>
<p>Pre-season testing has shown that all of their competitor teams have made improvements to their vehicles, but none of them showed up to shine last week with as many upgrades and changes as Red Bull’s RB20, a car that symbolizes the team’s 20th anniversary.</p>
<p>Former Red Bull race winner Daniel Ricciardo, who has rejected the Alpha Tauri moniker and is still with the renamed Red Bull junior squad, said of the team, “It’s a team that operates at its best when they are winning.”</p>
<p>It seems as if their only goal while they’re winning is to utterly destroy the opposition. It’s not like, “Okay, we’re winning, let’s take a vacation.” It is as if to say, “Let’s really dig in.”</p>
<p>Ferrari will be looking to build on their one victory from the previous season as they begin their second campaign under the direction of team director Frederic Vasseur. Vasseur has signed seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton to succeed Carlos Sainz in 2025.</p>
<p>They think they have a more dependable vehicle that will translate qualifying pace into race performance, but they still have some work to do to catch up to the dominant Red Bulls, as Charles Leclerc acknowledged after topping the timings on the last testing day.</p>
<p>George Russell, Hamilton’s teammate, and the Mercedes crew both commented on how much better their vehicle is now and how much more “driveable” and pleasant it is.</p>
<p>He said, “It’s not the ‘diva’ that it has been for the past two years.”</p>
<p>Similar to Ferrari, McLaren expressed optimism during testing, although Lando Norris claims that the team is still much behind Red Bull and Ferrari, while Aston Martin is not holding out much hope among the pursuing group.</p>
<p>The 42-year-old, two-time winner Fernando Alonso stated, “I don’t have a crystal ball.”</p>
<p>However, Red Bull is prevailing and Max is the global champion. It seems that 19 drivers in the paddock believe they will not win. For the first 99 percent of your career, things go like that. It’s an intense sport.</p>

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