F1 Styrian Grand Prix: Preview

Championship leader Max Verstappen will be looking to extend his lead further as the teams travel to Austria for the Styrian Grand Prix.

This will be the second official running of the race – Hamilton won the first race from pole – under this name, due to the rules set by FIA when it comes to naming races. 

No two races that take place in the same country are allowed to have the same name, so the race is named after the province (Styria) where the circuit is located. 

In 2020, the Styrian Grand Prix was added as a “one-off” race to replace one of the cancelled races due to the pandemic. 

Unfortunately, further cancellations this season has forced the organisers to add the Styrian Grand Prix in again. 

What is the circuit like?

The Red Bull Ring is the fourth shortest circuit on the calendar at 4.318km (Interlagos, Mexico City, and Monaco are shorter). 

With only 10 corners – three of which aren’t even worth speaking of – a formula one car is able to complete a lap in just over a minute – the fastest lap time on any track used.

This track always seems to provide some sort of excitement for the fans, whether it be a tight battle for the lead, or a major crash between turns one to three, especially if it rains.

From bad to worse

Ferrari, yet again, had great qualifying speed at the French Grand Prix, which they couldn’t transfer to race day.

The cause; extreme tyre degradation. Both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc suffered badly as they started the race in fifth and seventh, only to finish 11h and 16th. It was the first pointless race of the season. 

This result allowed McLaren to jump 16 points ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship. Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto does not sound confident of fixing the issue any time soon.  

“It is more important for us that we are at the stage where we can understand and try to address it for next year. In the meanwhile, this issue will happen again at some races but not all of the tracks”.

At the same time, Mclaren are going from strength to strength. Lando Norris has been consistent all season, and Daniel Ricciardo finally seems to have turned a corner with his sixth place finish at the French Grand Prix. 

Going for three

Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Vallteri Bottas have all won twice at the track, and will likely be the three that compete for victory again. Verstappen is likely to have the advantage over his rivals thanks to the straight line speed the Red Bull has. 

If either Mercedes driver is to win, they will definitely need to be smarter with their tactics, and be fully prepared to adjust their race plan.

More importantly, team principal Toto Wolff needs to make decisions and stick with them, rather than asking one driver what he wants to do, while ignoring the other. 

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