F1 Superstars Rev Up for the Second Race of the Season in Austria This Weekend

After a long delay, the 2020 Formula 1 season finally got underway last weekend with the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring. It was the first in a series of two events to be contested behind closed doors at the circuit, on consecutive weekends and it proved to be an eventful start to the new season for the teams and drivers.

The teams have been in situ for a week as they get ready for the second race of the season, the Styrian Grand Prix which takes place at the same venue this weekend. Getting off to a good start for drivers will be vital in what is likely to be a severely curtailed F1 season this year.

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We will start the preview of this weekend’s race in Austria, the Styrian Grand Prix, with a look back to last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, which also took place at the Red Bull Ring and was certainly packed with plenty of incident for TV viewers to enjoy.

Austrian Grand Prix – Results and Backdrop

Qualifying

The biggest shock in qualifying was Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel not qualifying for the final session and starting 11th on the grid. In that final session, Bottas took the pole by 0.012 of a second from his team mate Hamilton, both of whom were half a second clear of Verstappen in third while Lando Norris made a superb start in his McLaren to finish fourth on the grid ahead of the second Red Bull driver Alex Albon.

However, an appeal by Red Bull saw Lewis Hamilton penalised three places on the grid meaning he started fifth behind Norris and Albon but ahead of Sergio Perez.

The Race Results

  1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 25
  2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 18
  3. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 16
  4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 12
  5. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) – 10
  6. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) – 8
  7. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 7
  8. Esteban Ocon (Renault) – 4
  9. Antonio Giovanizzi (Alfa Romeo) – 2
  10. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) – 1
  11. Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 0

Alex Albon, Danil Kvyat, Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean, George Russell, Kevin Magnussen, Lance Stroll, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen all failed to finish the race.

Hamilton had initially finished in second place behind Bottas in the race, but the Englishman and current World Champion had been awarded a time penalty for an incident with Alex Albon, for which he was judged to be to blame. That 10-second penalty moved him down to fourth in the race promoting Leclerc to second and Lando Norris into third.

That finish for Norris set a new record for the youngest ever British driver to claim a podium finish in a Formula 1 race with 20-year old Norris beating the previous record held by compatriot Lewis Hamilton.

Styrian Grand Prix Preview and Tips

This coming weekend, it is a sense of Déjà vu for the drivers as it is the same track, the same number of laps but they will be officially competing in the Styrian Grand Prix, the second of the eight European-based races that gave been confirmed by FIA as being the first races of the 2020 season.

With Mercedes dominant last time out, it is likely that the German-based team will be expecting another solid display from both its drivers and it seems that Bottas’ and Hamilton’s main threat in the race will likely be each other. That said, in what is likely to be a curtailed F1 season, Hamilton will not want to let Bottas open up too big a lead on him in the Driver’s Championship, even at this early stage of the season.

Red Bull will be hoping for better after both their drivers failed to finish the race on what is effectively their home track, so I will expect much better from both Alex Albon and Max Verstappen, especially the latter who looked quick in qualifying for the race.

However, for me the two teams to watch are McLaren, who will be hoping Norris’ 3rd place finish and Sainz’s 5th spot in the race last week are a sign that their return from the F1 doldrums has been confirmed and they could back that up with another solid weekend here. Ferrari will be smarting from their poor qualifying performance but heartened by Charles Leclerc’s race performance, though it seems Vettel’s pace has dropped off markedly.

Ferrari are supposed to be making several improvements to their car for next weekend, which is always a gamble, so it will be interesting to see how they work out, or not.

Pole Position Tip – It’s a two horse race for me this, with both Mercedes drivers over half a second ahead of the rest last weekend. I’ll tip Lewis Hamilton to bounce back to claim pole this week at 4/6 with bet365 Sport.

Race Tip – Similar to my tip for qualifying, I feel Lewis Hamilton can control this race from the front as Bottas did last week. If he can avoid his team mate on the early laps and build a lead, I expect Hamilton to earn his first win of the season here at 5/6.

*All odds shown in this article were correct with bet365 as of Wednesday 8th July at 12.15pm.

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