Surprise winner tipped for US Grand Prix as Red Bull weakness identified

Sam Cooper
Red Bull and McLaren battle on track.

Red Bull and McLaren battle.

Damon Hill has predicted Lando Norris could win the Austin Sprint while suggesting Red Bull will struggle with the shorter race.

It is the second of two consecutive sprint weekends as Formula 1 heads Stateside for the United States Grand Prix in Austin.

And with Red Bull having missed out on Sprint victory in Qatar to McLaren, Hill has predicted something similar to happen this weekend.

Lando Norris ‘due a win’ says Damon Hill

Oscar Piastri pipped Max Verstappen in the Qatar sprint, one of just three men to deny Verstappen victory this year, and it also saw the young McLaren rookie achieve something his team-mate has yet to do, win an F1 race.

Granted it was only a sprint but it will no doubt have bugged Norris a little. Hill though reckons that will be rectified this weekend.

“I think Lando has got to win,” the 1996 World Champion said. “He’s due [a win] isn’t he Lando? Sprint Lando, race is going to be Max.

“I just think it’s a question of who else is on the podium. Checo has got to turn the wick up. The Mexican Grand Prix is coming up. He’s got to do something. Find that thing, whatever it is or not try too hard or something. I don’t know what it is.”

On Red Bull in particular, Hill believes he has seen enough to suggest that over a short distance such as a Sprint, the RB19 is not quite as dominant as it usually is.

“I like Austin, it’s a good venue. So I’m excited to go and of course you get two for the price of one with the Sprint. So that’s good, you get an extra bit.

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“But the thing that is interesting was the weak point, the Achilles’ heel if you can call it that at all, with this Red Bull and Max is when drivers are on their flat-out pace. And it seems to be evident that while their car is particularly good at saving tyres over a long stint, the shorter the race, I think the more vulnerable the Red Bull is.”

While Red Bull have both titles sewn up, there are plenty of records left to achieve including most points in a single season. The current record is held by Mercedes who achieved 765 in 2016 but with five races and two Sprints left to go, Red Bull have every chance of beating that.

The Milton Keynes team are currently on 657, 102 points fewer than their 2022 tally.

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