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Every time Max Verstappen returns to this racetrack, he remembers one of the most emotional moments of his career.

Almost exactly five years ago, when Verstappen was only 18 years and 228 days old, he became the youngest Formula 1 driver to win his first race.

"I don't get emotional that quickly, but I was close to tears that day, just like my father," said the Red Bull driver on his triumph in May 2016. This is where the 23-year-old wants to take part in the Spanish Grand Prix take another step towards the title on Sunday (3 p.m. / Sky) in his car that is obviously capable of being world champion.

In contrast to previous years, the reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) seems to be facing competition from a team other than his own for the first time.

"I'm enjoying the fights with Max. It's great to see him in this form," said Hamilton.

Nevertheless, Hamilton would like to spoil the racing anniversary for his Red Bull colleague.

For the 100th time, Max Verstappen will take to the track in the Austrian team's racing car for a Grand Prix on Sunday.

"I enjoy the fights with Max," says Lewis Hamilton (l.)

Source: Formula 1 via Getty Images / Mario Renzi - Formula 1

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Most recently, the Briton threatened at most danger from his team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

In the last race in Portugal, Bottas took pole, but only finished third on race Sunday.

In addition, the Finn has come under pressure off the track lately.

According to rumors from England, he could lose his place at the wheel of the Mercedes to George Russel in the near future.

Possibly, it is said, even in the current season.

Nevertheless, Valtteri Bottas is not worried about his job with the Silver Arrows, which are again painted black this year.

“I know I won't be replaced in the middle of the season.

I have a contract and don't see myself under pressure, ”said Bottas in Barcelona.

There is currently “a lot of bullshit” being talked about in the area.

Bottas set the fastest time in the first practice session before the Spanish Grand Prix.

In his Mercedes, the 31-year-old ousted the Dutchman Max Verstappen in the Red Bull on Friday at the gates of Barcelona with 0.033 seconds ahead of second place.

In the second free practice, Hamilton pushed himself in front of him again, but Bottas set the second best time.

The Finn is fighting for his place.

Max Verstappen did not land at the very front after a driving mistake.

Vettel finally wants to get into the points

Neither Mick Schumacher nor Sebastian Vettel have to seriously fear for their job at the moment.

However, they did not compete for race wins or at least points - at least not in the first three Grand Prix.

Vettel, who has not been able to score any points with his new Aston Martin team after difficult years at Ferrari, still does not regret his move.

“I'm very happy where I am.

Even if the performance is not yet as we wanted, ”said the four-time world champion.

Sebastian Vettel has been driving for the Aston Martin team since this season

Source: Getty Images / Mark Thompson

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Things should now run better in Barcelona, ​​after six years at Ferrari, the Heppenheimer had wanted a different start in 2021. "It's no secret that we wanted to be stronger than we are," said Vettel, who was only 13th in Portugal last Sunday. Previously, it was only 15th in Bahrain and Imola. The only bright spot: In Portugal he made it into the top ten starting positions for the first time since August 2020.

The 33-year-old Vettel should finally get his first points on the race weekend, and he showed a good performance in free practice on Friday.

He narrowly missed the top ten and finished eleventh in the Aston Martin.

At the end of the field of 20 drivers, Mick Schumacher came 19th in the defeated Haas racing car. The 22-year-old newcomer was more than two seconds behind Hamilton, with Schumacher's team-mate Nikita Masepin from Russia taking the last place.

Rookie Schumacher remains more modest.

"I'm optimistic, but I don't want to say we're going for points," said the 22-year-old.

All in all, it is a matter of “always setting the goal a little higher,” said the newcomer: “Hopefully on Friday we can set a specific goal of who is within reach and who is not.

Schumacher significantly better than his teammate

Last Sunday, Schumacher finished 17th in Portugal and was able to overtake a competitor, the Canadian Nicholas Latifi in the Williams, for the first time in his defeated car.

He also left his Russian team-mate Nikita Masepin behind again.

But there is still a long way to go before the first World Cup points, only the top ten take countable items with them.

"We have to work hard on ourselves and make the best of what we have," said Schumacher, taking himself to the task: "I want to improve myself, get to the limit faster."

Mick Schumacher waited for his chance behind Nicholas Latifi for several laps

Source: Getty Images / Lars Baron

However, Schumacher again warned against excessive expectations. "We can be very positive, but we have to be realistic," said the youngster. It is “always difficult” to always pinpoint progress directly in terms of numbers and placements. Striving for bit by bit improvements, learning something new in the season in the losing car and attacking next season remains the goal of the son of Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher. Schumacher junior said he was well on the way to "getting the perfect lap" for himself in the near future.

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