Mercedes has tasted success in each of the three Austrian Grand Prix editions since the race returned to the Formula One calendar in 2014 and there is a strong case for backing Lewis Hamilton to win it for the second time on Sunday.
The raw result of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix two weeks ago do not tell the true story about that particular race that will go down in Formula One history as one of the craziest and most entertaining. Hamilton dominated all three Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying sessions and the gap between Valtteri Bottas and the rest of the field was even greater than the margin between the two Mercedes drivers. Hamilton was well on track for his fourth victory of the Formula One season before the headrest on his Mercedes car became loose and, due to race regulations, he had to make an unscheduled pit stop on the 31st lap of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Hamilton ended up finishing fifth in an Azerbaijan Grand Prix that he should have won by the length of the straight, with the first four drivers to take the chequered flag being Daniel Ricciardo, Bottas, Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel.
One’s take out from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend was that Mercedes has established itself as the best team in Formula One this term, with a theory doing the rounds that Ferrari has lost ground on the Silver Arrows following the clamp down on marques burning engine oil as fuel.
The Red Bull Ring home of the Austrian Grand Prix is a power circuit that, because of its layout, makes it challenging for cars to generate battery energy. One thinks that it is no coincidence that Mercedes, clearly the most powerful team of the last three Formula One seasons, has bossed the three editions of the Austrian Grand Prix since it was revived – Nico Rosberg and Hamilton were first and second respectively in 2014, it was the same story in 2015 and Hamilton defeated Max Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen and Rosberg in 2016.
Hamilton trails Vettel by 14 points in this term’s Formula One championship but he is a worthy favourite for Sunday’s Austriam Grand Prix at odds of -111 with Bwin. The state of the Formula One title race means that, if Mercedes has the Austrian Grand Prix at its mercy, the Silver Arrows bosses are likely to instruct Bottas to give way to Hamilton if the Finn somehow finds himself ahead of the Briton. Hamilton has not finished worse than second in his three Austrian Grand Prix appearances, whereas Vettel has placed fourth once and failed to be classified twice. Hamilton has to be the bet.
With regards to Austrian Grand Prix exotics, one likes the Bwin markets on the number of cars to be classified. The Austrian Grand Prix is a tough race on tyres and one has already mentioned the challenges that power units face racing around the Red Bull Ring. Bwin is offering odds of +750 that none of the Toro Rosso cars is classified in the Austrian Grand Prix and the same bookmaker is quoting odds of +165 that one of that marque’s vehicles makes it to the end, generating odds of +102 about at least one failure. Toro Rosso has had five failures to be classified in this season’s eight Formula One races, three of those flops in the most recent two events. Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz are the drivers whom one will be opposing in the Austrian Grand Prix because one has little faith in Toro Rosso.
Lewis Hamilton to win the Austrian Grand Prix
Sunday 9th July, 13:00 GMT
At least one Toro Rosso retirement in the Austrian Grand Prix
Sunday 9th July, 13:00 GMT