For Max Verstappen, the second Grand Prix after the summer break is something very special: Zandvoort is the world champion’s home race. Can anyone spoil the party for the Dutchman?

World champion Max Verstappen is expecting a crazy time at Zandvoort. Because the Red Bull driver is contesting his home Grand Prix again on Sunday in front of tens of thousands of Orange fans and wants to get even closer to defending his title.

Will Verstappen continue his winning streak in the dunes?

Max Verstappen has already won nine of 14 races this season – with no end in sight for the world champion. “It’s an ease with which he’s performing at the moment, it’s indescribable,” Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko said of his youngster. The all-time record of 13 wins in one year, still shared by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, could fall this season. Verstappen is also the clear favourite at Zandvoort. “It will be great to have my family supporting me,” said the Dutchman. “It’s going to be pretty crazy.” Verstappen already had his home fans cheering in 2021 when he made his comeback in the dunes after 36 years.

Is Schumacher’s Formula One future clearing up?

Many parties stress that they have time. First, there is Mick Schumacher’s current Haas team. The US racing team has secured the Dane Kevin Magnussen for 2023. The Italian Antonio Giovinazzi is considered a possible successor to Schumacher if the German retires after two years at the end of this season. Ferrari, whose protégé is the son of record world champion Michael Schumacher, stressed that it was still too early to make a final judgement. The Scuderia has influence with Haas as an engine partner. However, Mick Schumacher’s contract as a junior driver at Ferrari reportedly expires at the end of this year. That could increase his room for manoeuvre in negotiations with other teams like Alpine or Williams.

Can Ferrari get out of the slump again?

The Tifosi and the Scuderia hope so. The declassification in Spa at the first Grand Prix after the summer break hurts the traditional racing team. “We have to try to improve,” announced team boss Mattia Binotto, on whom the pressure is mounting. “I don’t think there will be any miracles next week, that we will be very close to Red Bull,” said Charles Leclerc, on the other hand, who has fallen to third in the world championship, disillusioned. At the beginning of the season, the Monegasque was still considered a promising challenger for the world championship. In the development race, however, Red Bull is gaining ground. “I expect Ferrari to be strong here,” said world champion Max Verstappen. The warm words sounded like pity for Ferrari.