The second of a three week stretch of F1 races will take place this weekend in Austria. The Austrian Grand Prix (9 a.m. ET/ESPN2) should be another big factor in who takes home the 2018 championship.
Lewis Hamilton is coming off of a dominating win last weekend in France and is eyeing another victory this weekend at the Red Bull Ring.
Mercedes Dominating Team In Austria
Since F1 returned to Austria in 2014, Mercedes has won every race. In fact, both of the current drivers have each won a race on the track with Valtteri Bottas winning last year and Hamilton in 2016. Can they win again on Sunday?
In what should have been three of the four years since the return, Mercedes could have had 1-2 finishes.
We’re eight races into the 2018 season and Lewis Hamilton (3 wins), Sebastien Vettel (3 wins) and Daniel Ricciardo (2 wins) are the only ones to win a race this year. But, that could be changing this weekend.
This may be Valtteri Bottas’ chance to win.
Bottas has led more laps at the Red Bull Ring than any active driver (72 laps), and is seeking a third consecutive front-row start for the first time in his F1 career, having also been there in Canada and France.
He’s the defending race winner in Austria and has three top five finishes in four tries on the Red Bull Ring. Plus, if not for getting punted by Vettel last weekend, he was likely headed towards his second straight runner-up finish on the season and third in the last four races.
He’s actually been even with Hamilton in terms of race pace for much of the year. Look out for Bottas this weekend.
Hamilton And Vettel Haven’t Dominated Much
The top two drivers in F1 right now haven’t had a ton of success in Austria. Combined, they led a total of 30 laps with Hamilton taking 25 of those and Vettel five. With how much they’ve led in 2018, I suspect one of these drivers’ luck may be changing.
Red Bull Ring Not So Friendly To Red Bull Drivers
Red Bull has led just five total laps at their own venue. That’s shocking. Sergio Perez and his Force India entry has led more circuits there with 11 laps led by himself. Combined, Red Bull has scored just two podium finishes in four tries in Austria.
While Red Bull Racing hasn’t had the most success in Austria, maybe that changes this weekend. On power tracks, they’ve been strong. That could be good news for Daniel Ricciardo. He’s scored four straight top five finishes on the season and is hoping to become just the third driver to ever win on his birthday joining James Hunt (Netherlands 1976) and Jean Alesi (Montreal 1995).