Austrian Grand Prix

Austrian Grand Prix preview

Lewis Hamilton’s drive at the French Grand Prix proved to be a tour de force, as he reclaimed the advantage in the Drivers’ Championship with a start to finish victory. The Brit and the rest of the Formula 1 circus now heads to Austria, where Mercedes are expected to dominant once again.

Hamilton has only won once at the Red Bull Ring, his sole triumph coming in 2016, but it is a circuit that always has a Silver Arrow finish atop the podium since its return to the calendar in 2014.

Valtteri Bottas was the victor last year, controlling the race from start to finish having been on pole. It is a fair bet to say that whoever qualifies fastest is likely go on to win the race, with the track not the easiest for overtaking.

The last two races have been won by the driver starting from pole – Bottas and Hamilton – and it is 1.68 the victor comes from first place on the starting grid.

The other standout characteristic of the Spielberg venue is the lack of dominant victories. In three of the last four races, the winner has been less than six seconds ahead of the driver in second and you can get 3.55 on the winning margin being between three and six seconds on Sunday.

In terms of who might come out on top, Hamilton is the 2.00 favourite with Bethard for a second successive win and his credentials are tough to argue against, given the similarities the track shares with the French Grand Prix’s Paul Ricard Circuit. The 33-year-old also has an improved Mercedes power unit to call upon and that has helped to make his car officially the quickest, albeit by 0.001 seconds, in average fastest lap times.

Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel will be close though as they seek to trim Hamilton’s 14-point lead in the Drivers’ championship. The German was a close second last year and who knows where he would have ended up in France last weekend but for his stupid error on the opening lap.

The four-time world champion is 3.25 to get back to winning ways this weekend, while the in-form Max Verstappen is 8.75 to become the first Red Bull driver to win on their own track.

The Dutchman has been excellent in the last two races, finishing second in France and is getting the most out of his under-powered Red Bull, making him a good shout at 2.25 to be on the podium once more.

Away from the fight for a top-three finish, Charles Leclerc can continue his recent impressive form by recording another top-10 finish at 2.50.

The young Sauber driver has four points’ finishes in his last five starts, while he made it into Q3 for the French Grand Prix.

Leclerc’s stock can continue to rise this weekend at a track which should play to the strengths of both the driver and his car.