2019 Austrian GP Preview
Lewis Hamilton’s lead at the top of the World Championship standings is now 36 points and it is starting to look ominous for the chasing pack. With six Grand Prix wins in eight races so far this season, Hamilton looks destined to claim his sixth world title – barring a miraculous comeback from teammate Valtteri Bottas of course.
Focus and attention now turns to this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix at Red Bull Ring. One of the more unforgiving tracks on the Formula One calendar, we could see Mercedes romp home once again. Prior to the 2018 race, Mercedes had won this race in four consecutive campaigns and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see either Hamilton or Bottas sitting pretty at the top of the podium.
Surprise surprise, Hamilton heads the Austrian Grand Prix 2019 betting at 8/11 with William Hill. The Mercedes man has been simply sublime this season and it would take a brave man to back against him on current form. Hamilton has been a class above his peers in 2019 and Mercedes have developed a car that is superior to the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull.
If there was controversy surrounding Hamilton’s success at the Canadian Grand Prix, his win at the French Grand Prix last time out couldn’t have been more straightforward. He led from start to finish, securing pole position in qualifying and his spot at the front was never really under threat. Formula One fans will expect Hamilton to move another step closer to his sixth world title…
Hamilton’s rivals will take confidence from the fact that he has won this race just once in his illustrious Formula One career. In fact, the last Mercedes driver to emerge victorious at Red Bull Ring was Bottas in 2017 and plenty of punters will fancy the upset this weekend. Priced at 100/30 with Betway, Bottas is the value bet given his record in this race.
Mercedes had a nightmare at the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix – both drivers had to retire after car troubles. This time around, Bottas can secure his second win in the last three editions of the race with a positive drive. Hamilton may be the main man at Mercedes but Bottas is one of the most competent drivers in the sport and he is capable of holding his spot on the team.
We certainly won’t be seeing a repeat of Ferrari’s infamous team orders in the early 2000s. In back-to-back years, the team instructed Rubens Barrichello to let Michael Schumacher through in order to enhance his chances of winning the world title. Reluctantly, Barrichello moved aside but there was a frosty atmosphere in the aftermath of both races.
Mercedes have usually allowed their drivers compete against each other and there is no major feud between Bottas and Hamilton. Expect the two Mercedes stars to be prominent as per usual and Formula One neutrals will be hoping that Bottas can sneak a victory to keep the world championship battle interesting as we approach the mid-stage of the campaign.
Away from the two Mercedes men, we have Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. Vettel is currently ‘best of the rest’ in the drivers’ standings ahead of Austria and Ferrari supporters will have fingers crossed for a first win of the campaign. Ahead of this weekend’s big race, Vettel is out at 11/2 with 888sport to emerge victorious at Red Bull Ring.
With five Austrian Grand Prix victories, Ferrari have been relatively successful over the years but their last success came back in 2003. Since then, Ferrari drivers have regularly finished on the podium – with Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel himself finishing second and third in 2018. At first glance, this circuit should suit Ferrari and punters should consider backing the four-time world champion to emerge victorious this weekend.
Leclerc finished clear of his teammate at the French Grand Prix and a changing of the guard is expected at some point in the future. The future is bright for one of Formula One’s rising stars and he could finish ahead of Vettel for the second race in a row. The 4/5 available with Sporting Bet for Leclerc to finish in the top three is a price worth taking…
Looking away from the outright race winner odds, Formula One fans will be keeping a close eye on the battle to finish in the points. Nico Hulkenberg is usually on the cusp of finishing in the top 10 but consistency remains a huge issue for Renault. The German has secured a top 10 finish in the last two Grand Prix events and 4/6 with Betfred is a reasonable price.
Hulkenberg is experienced and that knowledge could prove decisive at such a tricky circuit. The Red Bull Ring is unforgiving and it takes no prisoners – experience driving at this venue is very important and Hulkenberg has completed this race four times in five attempts. As a novelty wager, he is worth a small punt.
Meanwhile, Verstappen probably won’t win the race for the second year in a row but he is always worth backing in the fastest lap market. Although Pierre Gasly has attracted plenty of attention in this betting category for most of 2019, Verstappen has incredible race speed and the 4/1 available for the Dutchman to finish with the quickest lap is worth snapping up.
With perfect racing conditions expected for this weekend’s race, the ‘no’ for a safety car to be deployed comes into play. At the time of writing, Betway are going 5/4 for a safe race this weekend and punters will be hoping for excitement and entertainment but without the need for any yellow or red flags.
Expect the unexpected at the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix. Mercedes and Ferrari will relish the straight-line sections of the track and we could see plenty of overtaking this weekend – an absolute blessing after an uneventful French Grand Prix. Hamilton is favourite but Bottas is the smart pick given his record and the Finnish driver is due a Grand Prix win sooner rather than later.
RACE WINNER: Valtteri Bottas (100/30 with Betway)
PODIUM FINISH: Charles Leclerc (4/5 with Sporting Bet)
FASTEST LAP: Max Verstappen (4/1 with Betfred)
About Austrian GP
It would be fair to state that the Austrian Grand Prix is not one of the more popular races on the Formula One calendar. First held in 1963, the Red Bull Ring will host only the 33rd Grand Prix on Austrian soil – the circuit itself has transformed over the years and the race could be back for good after returning to the sport in 2014.
With no Austrian Grand Prix for a decade prior to that, Formula One fans are still getting to grips with the Red Bull Ring circuit. Since making a return to the motorsport calendar, it has been one of the more predictable races in Formula One. A Mercedes driver has finished top of the podium in four of the last five seasons…
A regular feature on the Formula One calendar for over 30 years from 1970 onwards, older motorsport fans will be hoping that the Austrian Grand Prix holds its own for years to come. The traditional racing circuit appeals to Formula One aficionados and novices alike and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Austrian event grow in stature.
Alain Prost is the most successful driver in Austrian Grand Prix history with three victories to his name; winning the race in 1983, 1985 and 1986. Prost went on to lift the Formula One world title in two of those campaigns and 2019 Austrian Grand Prix favourite Lewis Hamilton (8/11 with William Hill) will be hoping that victory in this year’s race helps him do the same.
As previously mentioned, Mercedes have won this race in four of the last five years but it was Red Bull Racing star Max Verstappen who romped home in 2018. Unfortunately for Red Bull, Mercedes have won all eight races so far this season and it would be foolish to expect a repeat success this time around.
Red Bull sponsor the Austrian Grand Prix venue and that may give some encouragement to optimistic motorsport bettors. At the time of writing, Betway are offering 25/1 for any Red Bull driver to win the 2019 Austrian event. Verstappen and teammate Pierre Gasly will be looking to exploit any sign of weakness from Mercedes and Ferrari this weekend…
As shown in 2018, Ferrari are capable of finding excellent race pace at this venue and we could see Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc feature prominently on Sunday. It was former Ferrari man Kimi Raikkonen, now of Alfa Romeo Racing, who set the quickest lap at the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix and the motorsport giants will be quietly confident of an upset.
Raikkonen drives the Red Bull Ring particularly well and his incredible time of 1:06:957 is the lap to beat this year. As car design and technological advancements improve, Formula One fans almost expect fastest lap speeds to be shattered but Raikkonen’s effort from 2018 will take some beating.
It was a particularly bad race for Mercedes last year with Hamilton and Bottas both failing to complete the race. Expect both drivers to finish on the podium this time around and a 1-2 for the team wouldn’t be a huge surprise. As per usual, the Mercedes drivers are also worth considering in the fastest lap betting odds.
American driver Mark Donohue tragically lost his life on this circuit in 1975 and key changes were made to improve safety for competitors. In 1987, Nelson Piquet’s pole lap topped an average of 159 miles per hour – the Red Bull Ring circuit has always encouraged high octane speed, particularly on the straights.
Only one Austrian driver has won this Grand Prix – but can you guess who? Niki Lauda was victorious in 1984, the same year that he won his third and final world championship.
In addition, this is one of the shorter tracks on the Formula One calendar and qualifying tends to be very close indeed. In fact, four of the last six pole positions have been decided by less than one tenth of a second!
Bernie Ecclestone confirmed a seven-year agreement to bring the Austrian Grand Prix back to the sport in 2014 so we should be finding out more about the immediate future of this race in the coming months. European motorsport fans will be hoping that Austria maintains its spot on the calendar for the foreseeable future…
However, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Formula One bosses ditch the race at some point in the future. The Austrian Grand Prix lost its place in 2004 due to a lack of funds and controversy regarding sponsorship – if the finances are right, they could strike a deal but history tells us that we shouldn’t necessarily expect an agreement to be reached.
With a bit of luck, the Austrian Grand Prix can take centre stage on the F1 calendar for years to come. The Red Bull Ring is an exciting circuit and plenty of punters will be anticipating an entertaining race this weekend. Fingers crossed for a fun yet safe 2019 Austrian Grand Prix.