Verstappen not afraid of any tracks, 'open' about Sprint Quali format

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Max Verstappen doesn't feel "afraid" of any upcoming Formula 1 circuits after his recent run of success.

The Dutchman has won four of the last five races, a record that would have been perfect without his puncture in Baku, on a wide variety of layouts from the twisty streets of Monaco, to the technical turns of Circuit Paul Ricard.

At the Red Bull Ring, Verstappen's RB16B was at its most dominant yet, but is there any circuit he feels Red Bull couldn't match Mercedes?

"It is difficult to say," he said via GPFans.

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"I expected to struggle a bit in France, for example, and we still got away with a pole and a win so from now onwards I am just looking forward to every single track.

"There are no guarantees but there is not a single track where I think I am going to be too afraid."

Next up is Silverstone, a venue Mercedes has won at every year bar one with Lewis Hamilton since the hybrid era began.

And while Red Bull did win the second race in the UK last year with better tyre management, to be as fast as the W12 there this weekend would send a message.

“It’s a shame we don’t have more races [in Austria] because now we head to a track that has been very much a Mercedes stronghold for the last seven years,” team boss Christian Horner joked.

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“Silverstone is the next challenge on the calendar and I think it is a challenge with the sprint race as well, so it’s going to be fascinating to see if we can take this form into what is our next home race.

“We’ve certainly found a good working window with the car over the last few races, and hopefully we can work within that window in Silverstone.”

As Horner noted, F1 will also try a new weekend format with only one practice session before a traditional qualifying session on Friday, the results of which decide the grid for a new 17-lap sprint race on Saturday which determines the grid for Sunday.

"I'm very open about trying the sprint races and I quite like that we have a bit less practice before we head into qualifying, but let’s just wait, it’s difficult to say anything about it until we’ve tested it this weekend," Verstappen commented.

"Every race you take risks but controlled risks, especially when you are fighting for a championship, but this one race isn’t going to define the end result."