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Austrian Grand Prix Tips and Preview by James Punt

June 27, 2019

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Austrian Grand Prix Tips

The venue changed but the formula remained the same in France. The French GP saw Mercedes fill the first two places, with Hamilton getting the win. Ferrari could only manage 3rd with Leclerc, Vettel trailing home in 5th. James Punt has produced yet another extensive preview for this week’s race. Check out his free Austrian Grand Prix tips below…

Austrian Grand Prix Tips

Austrian GP Preview

The first thing to say is that we have hit ‘the penalty season’. Already some drivers have used up their allowance of three power units for the season. With manufacturers bringing upgrades drivers may have to decide when and where they will take the pain. Kvyat took his in France and his teammate Albon is taking his here. Hulkenberg didn’t take the new Renault PU for their home race last week. So, he may decide to take it here. Carlos Sainz is in the same boat but so far there has been no news from either McLaren or Renault.

It is a very unsatisfactory state of affairs and one more thing on the ‘what’s wrong with Formula 1’ list. It may be prudent to be patient this weekend and wait until we know the make up of the grid on Sunday but there are a few bets which look fairly safe from the threat of grid penalties.

Anti-Climax In France

The French GP was a bit of snooze fest but we might get a more interesting race, in the midfield at least. Since the Red Bull Ring re-joined the Formula 1 calendar in 2014 Mercedes has dominated the event.

Four consecutive wins for the Silver Arrows from 2014 to 2017 ended last year when both Hamilton and Bottas retired with mechanical problems, a very rare occurrence. There has been a Mercedes on pole position for all five years and with their complete dominance in 2019 expect that to continue.

Bottas’ challenge seems to have tamely fallen away and the remainder of the season looks like being a coronation for Hamilton. However, this hasn’t been a great track for Hamilton and he has just the one win here despite Mercedes excellent record.

Austrian Grand Prix Tips: Bottas Worth Backing

He often played second fiddle to Nico Rosberg here and he lost out to Bottas in 2017. So perhaps there is some hope that the Finn will mount a challenge come Sunday.

That said he had his chance in France but he just couldn’t live with Hamilton and in the end he was defending his 2nd place form Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. He looks a little crestfallen after Hamilton won six of the last seven races.

However, on a track on which Hamilton hasn’t dominated his Mercedes teammates, Bottas must have an above average chance of getting the better of Hamilton for the third time this year.

Austrian Grand Prix Tips: 1 point Valtteri Bottas to win the Austrian GP @ 4.00 generally available

The circuit is very short but does produce some good racing. It is more of a go-kart track than a modern F1 track but it does reward power. In 2014 in was an all Williams front row as they had the power advantage thanks to their Mercedes power units being the class of the field. Bottas finished 3rd in the end as Rosberg won the race and Hamilton recovered from 9th place on the grid to come 2nd. Seven of the top 10 were powered by Mercedes.

Hamilton was on pole in 2015 but lost out to Rosberg in the race. In 2016 Hamilton got his sole win but it was a hard-fought affair as he and Rosberg collided on the last lap. Rosberg was leading the race but his car was badly damaged while Hamilton escaped unharmed and took a controversial win.

In 2017 Bottas qualified on pole and won the race while Hamilton had to change his gearbox and started from 8th place.

Ferrarri Possess Power

Ferrari have the most powerful engine this year so they should be reasonably competitive. There are only ten corners in the short lap but there are 71 laps so they will have to spend a considerable time not going in a straight line and that is the only thing their car does well. There are long straights as well and overall this should be one of the more Ferrari friendly tracks on the calendar.

Vettel has never won here and he is starting to look very disinterested by this season. He was second best to Leclerc all weekend in France and perhaps it is time for Leclerc to start upping his game and put an end to Vettel once and for all.

Leclerc Has Failed To Deliver

Leclerc has been a bit disappointing and there will be a few punters sitting with ante post bets on him to win a race in 2019 and thinking that they would have had a pay out by this stage. His performance in qualifying is a problem that Ferrari are trying to help him with although it is largely a result of his lack of experience of adapting to changing track conditions and so on.

Leclerc has selected five sets of the more durable medium compound tyres and with the temperatures expected to be very high this weekend that could pay dividends. Just as in France last weekend, the soft tyre will not be the best tyre for the race. He looks in a good position to be the leading Ferrari this weekend.

Desperate Measures

Ferrari will be bringing new parts after their upgrades in France last week didn’t work as anticipated. The new floor was a particularly big flop and it wasn’t even used in the race. It smacks of desperation and just throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at the car in terms of new parts suggest that Ferrari don’t understand their own car.

The basic plan is to get more downforce to help with both cornering performance and getting the tyres to work properly. That will involve sacrificing straight line speed but they have some margin in that department. How long will the changes take before being effective? The second half of the season seems more likely than before the summer break.

No Home Comforts For Red Bull

The circuit is owned by Red Bull but they have just the one ‘home win’ and was a very fortuitous win by Verstappen last year. He had qualified 4th, got past Raikkonen early on and picked up the win when both the Mercedes retired. Traditionally, in the turbo-hybrid era, Red Bull just have not had the power to compete on this track and this year looks to be no different.

Honda have made progress but so has the other power unit suppliers and Renault now look to have overtaken Honda. Verstappen was being very vocal in France that they didn’t have enough power and it hasn’t escaped his attention that McLaren now have a more powerful engine, certainly in qualifying.

Verstappen generally has gone well here and if Ferrari are off the boil he will be sniffing around for a podium finish. His teammate Gasly is looking increasingly desperate. He was promoted too soon and being Verstappen’s teammate is a very tough job.

Haas Not Delivering On Potential

Best of the rest this weekend? Haas has the potential, but they just can’t find it. Their performance in France was abysmal. Normally they are great in qualifying but poor in the race, last weekend they were poor in every session. The drivers are getting pissed off and it is hard to have any confidence in Haas having a good weekend.

They did just that here last year, finishing 4th and 5th, their best ever performance so they might stumble upon some form but if so it will be by accident. They simply have no idea of how to get the tyres into the correct operating window and the fact that we will see the same compounds here as we saw in France doesn’t bode well.

Austrian Grand Prix Tips: McClaren Trending In Right Direction

McLaren are on a good upward performance curve. They have now got all the right people in the right jobs and despite their dreadful form in the last few years they remain a well-resourced team so their recovery should move on at a pace. Sainz is driving better than ever and young Norris is doing a good job despite his inexperience.

Sainz has a couple of top 10’s here and he must be fancied to add another this Sunday. The Spaniard has now had two top 6 finishes in the last three races and with Gasly struggling he has the potential to get another. Norris was just 0.009 seconds off Verstappen’s pace in qualifying and while their race pace isn’t as good they are in a position to certainly beat Gasly on merit.

McLaren haven’t yet decided whether to use the upgraded Renault power unit which is available. This is a power circuit so having a more punchy power unit would be an advantage. However, Sainz would have to take a grid penalty if McLaren do decide to go with the upgrade. Sainz is very tempting for a top six finish but until it is known if he will take the power unit upgrade or not the bet cannot be struck.

Austrian Grand Prix Tips: Norris Has Track Form

Norris lacks the experience of Sainz but he has a good record on this track in the junior formula’s. In Formula 3 he had a 4th and a 2nd place here in 2017 and in Formula 2 he was 2nd in the feature race last year. It is a track he knows so his lack of experience isn’t such a handicap as it is on the fly away races.

With the Renault power unit now having an effective ‘party mode’ for qualifying I would expect at least one of the McLaren’s to out qualify the struggling Gasly who will be under huge pressure at Red Bulls home race. Norris all but equalled Verstappen in qualifying in France and both he and Sainz out qualified Gasly. The slippy McLaren will enjoy the straights and the fast corners and they should add to Gasly’s misery.

Austrian Grand Prix Tips: 3 points Sainz or Norris to out qualify Gasly @ 1.67 with Betfred (pickyourpunts)

Renault were a bit disappointing on home soil last weekend. The much anticipated upgrades were only moderately successful. The disappointment was compounded by Ricciardo getting two time penalties for daring to entertain the fans with some racing. It seems that racing is now officially frowned on by the stewards which could be a problem for Ricciardo here. It is a track were the brave can overtake and he likes to throw one up the inside. If he brushes somebody’s wheel’s no doubt he will be penalised.

Ricciardo knows his way around this track. Also, he has finished the last three races this season in the top 10. The upgrades may not have worked wonders but both drivers were positive about the changes and said that the new tarmac on sections of the Paul Ricard circuit muddied the waters and that the full benefits of the upgrades have not been seen yet. It is often the case that it takes a race or two to maximise the performance of the new parts.

Austrian Grand Prix Tips: 3 points Ricciardo to finish in the points @ 1.67 with William Hill

Hulkenberg should get the upgraded power unit this weekend but the fact that he didn’t have it in France can’t hide the fact that he was poor in qualifying again. He recovered well in the race but he is now 1-7 vs. Ricciardo in qualifying. There is a certain French driver, Ocon, sitting on his hands at the moment. Hulkenberg will have to up his game to keep his seat at Renault. Hulkenberg is another driver who will have to take a grid penalty if he decides to take the new power unit upgrade.

Racing Point and Alfa Romeo are tied on 19 points. However, it is the Ferrari powered Alfa who might well overtake them this weekend. They had some new parts on the car which made a difference in France. Also, Kimi Raikkonen has had a couple of podiums here for Ferrari. The power unit will be very potent around this track and the Finn should be looking at more points. His qualifying pace hasn’t been great but if he can qualify 11th or 12th as he did in France, that might actually be better than starting in the top on tyres that may be too soft for the race. The team are sounding quite confident that they can score more points this weekend.

Austrian Grand Prix Tips: 3 points Kimi Raikkonen to finish in the points at 1.85 with Sportingbet

Racing Point are enduring a very lean spell. Other teams are improving at a faster rate and Racing Point are losing ground. They have scored just two points from the last four races. Stroll is having to start every race from near the back of the grid as his qualifying woes continue. Perez has had four top 10’s here and it has been a happy hunting ground for the team in the past. They have had double points finishes in four of the last five years.

Stroll is handicapped by his inability to get out of Q1. Perez isn’t doing much better since qualifying 5th in Azerbaijan. That was another power circuit and another good track for them historically. If we see the likes of Sainz and Hulkenberg taking grid penalties (and Albon definitely will), then things could open up for Perez.

Austrian Grand Prix Tips: Hot Conditions Likely

The weather forecast is for very hot conditions all weekend and tyre management will be an issue. Perez is something of a specialist when it comes to getting the most out of a set of tyres in difficult conditions. Racing Point have selected four sets of the medium compound tyres. This is more than anyone else bar Charles Leclerc, who has five sets.

With track temperatures going to be nudging 50 degrees the soft tyres will be useless for the race. Consequently, having fewer soft tyres will be an advantage. They also have two sets of the hard tyre and it could be that Racing point may choose to start on the hard tyre and then change to the medium, making just one stop. Others may be forced to make two stops if the tyres start to blister. Perez has finished the last three races in 12th place so he hasn’t been miles away from the top 10.

Austrian Grand Prix Tips: 1 point Sergio Perez to finish in the points @ 4.50 generally available

Toro Rosso missed out on more points in France. Kvyat had to take a grid penalty and was too far back to make it into the points. Albon had a horrible start dropping about 5 places on the opening lap and he was never able to recover. On a power circuit the Honda power unit is not ideal. Especially as Renault have made good progress with their PU. Albon will take a grid penalty as he is taking the Honda upgrade.

This might be a tricky race for Toro Rosso but the car is generally competitive on most tracks. Kvyat qualified 6th in Baku on a very power dependent circuit. They haven’t scored any points here in the last two years, however. With the competition looking strong at this track Toro Rosso may have to settle for a pointless weekend.

In 2014 Williams locked out the front row of the grid here. This year they will lock out the back row. That’s how far they have fallen.

-JamesPunt

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