Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia is not really one of the favorites of Formula 1 drivers. The start of the Formula 1 season is not very popular with pilots who love challenges. However, there is a big fan of the 5.3 kilometers long tracks in Down Under: Max Verstappen.
The 22-year-old has contested five Formula 1 races in Albert Park so far. His best result is a third place from 2019. But why is the course one of the favorite routes of the Dutchman? Verstappen divides the assessment into two areas: the course itself and the event.
Nine out of ten points for the event
The route gets eight out of ten points from Verstappen. “I like the track, even if it’s a street circuit where it’s difficult to overtake,” he says. “There is no perfect track, but Albert Park has a lot of fast 90-degree turns that are demanding. The fast chicane is a pleasure in qualifying if a driver hits it correctly.”
The Dutchman rates the event with nine out of ten points: “It is one of the best races on the calendar. It is the start of the season and everyone starts from zero, which is why it is so exciting when it comes to qualifying. Then we find out where we are really standing. There is a great atmosphere because there are so many fans supporting the event. The weather is good too, which makes it a great week overall. ”
In his fifth attempt, Verstappen made it onto the Melbourne podium for the first time last year: “It was a good start for us. Honda was right on the podium and it gave us a boost in confidence. It was the first time for me on the podium in Australia, which made it even more special. ”
His former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo celebrates his home race right at the beginning of the season. He also gave a rating for the track: “Because of the fast and medium-fast corners, it is fun to drive in Albert Park. Because the circuit is not known for many overtaking maneuvers, qualifying is very important. My favorite curve is curve 9 because There are a lot of fans there. When I overtake there, there are always great reactions. ”
A look at the start of the 2020 season
The Formula 1 season starts in Melbourne on March 15. The pre-season test is on the books, but the first race weekend will only show where the teams really stand. Verstappen says: “I feel good and we give everything in the team. To be successful, we have to understand the car completely. We did a lot of laps and are satisfied with the test in Barcelona.”
The Dutchman is satisfied with the work of the engine supplier. He attests Honda “strong performance”. “We always want to improve and they have done a lot since last year,” he explains. “The real bonus is that they keep the promises they make in development. I think we’ll take the next step.”
This is why Verstappen is looking forward to the start of the season next Sunday: “I want to start the season strongly. But we don’t know exactly where we are on Saturday until Q2 and Q3. That is when winter work really counts.”