Motor Sports

Roger Diez: Is Verstappen reverting to ‘Mad Max’ form?

Roger Diez

Roger Diez

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen looked to be on his way to another victory in the Austrian Grand Prix, having won Saturday’s sprint and qualified on pole for Sunday’s race. But a slow pit stop dropped him back into the clutches of McLaren’s Lando Norris. Then on Norris’s third passing attempt, Verstappen caused a collision, sending both cars to the pits with punctures.

Mercedes driver George Russell surged into the lead and took the win while Norris retired, and Verstappen rejoined in fifth. Verstappen received a 10-second penalty, but it was moot since he was 27 seconds in front of sixth-place Kevin Magnussen at the checker.

The incident raises the question, now that he’s being challenged for wins, will Verstappen revert to his earlier persona of “Mad Max,” wrecking the competition if he can’t beat them?

The British Grand Prix is up this weekend, the third of a triple-header string of races. Lewis Hamilton is the all-time British GP winner with eight victories, the last in 2021. Fernando Alonso has a pair of wins while Carlos Sainz and 2023 winner Verstappen have one each. Will Hamilton win his ninth, or will fellow Britons Russell and Norris take the checker in their home race?

Qualifying will air at 7 a.m. Saturday with the race the same time Sunday, both on ESPN2.


Last Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race in Nashville turned into an endurance race. First, there was a rain delay of an hour and 21 minutes in the middle of stage two. When the race restarted, Christopher Bell added the second stage win to his stage one checker, apparently on his way to a sweep. But when stage three turned into a high-speed demolition derby, Bell was one of the 13 drivers who fell victim to the carnage.

The marathon continued with not one, not two, but a record five overtime restarts as drivers ran low on fuel. Somehow Joey Logano managed to stretch his fuel for 111 laps (148 miles), running dry after a very short burnout. Zane Smith had his best Cup finish in second with Tyler Reddick, Ryan Preece, and Chris Buescher in the top five.

Kyle Larson broke the tie for the points lead, now 20 points ahead of Chase Elliott with Denny Hamlin, Reddick, and Martin Truex Jr. third through fifth.

This weekend NASCAR returns to the streets of Chicago, the scene of its first-ever street race. Last year’s surprise winner Shane Van Gisbergen is back in the No. 13 Kaulig Chevy. Also joining the 40-car field are sports car ace Joey Hand in the No. 69 RFK Racing Ford, A.J. Allmendinger and Xfinity star Austin Hill in the No. 33 RCR Chevy.

The Xfinity series qualifies Saturday at 8 a.m. and Cup cars at 10:30 a.m., both on Peacock. NBC will broadcast Saturday’s The Loop 110 at 12:30 p.m. and the Grant Park 165 at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.


The NTT IndyCar series is back in action this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Points leader Alex Palou is the defending winner of the Honda Indy 200, but Scott Dixon is the undisputed king of Mid-Ohio with six wins, most recently in 2020. Josef Newgarden has won twice while Scott McLaughlin, Colton Herta, Will Power, Alexander Rossi, and Graham Rahal have one win apiece.

Of the 18 races since the NTT IndyCar series began racing there, Chip Ganassi Racing has won nine, Team Penske six, Andretti two, and RLL one. Pit stop strategy and tire choice are both extremely critical at Mid-Ohio, as is avoiding the frequent accidents.

Qualifying airs at noon Saturday on Peacock with Sunday’s race at 10:30 a.m. on NBC.


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