Formula One has swiftly said Au Revoir to France and say Hallo to Austria for the next stop on this season’s calendar, as we enter the Austrian Grand Prix weekend.
With this being the second stop in F1’s triple header, this weekend promises to be exciting as Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton seek to stretch their legs in the championships.
There are also some special milestones this weekend as we arrive at Red Bull’s home race.
Circuit: Red Bull Ring
Race Distance: 306.452km
Tyre Compounds: Softs, Supersofts and Ultrasofts
Being a power track, Mercedes will be firm favourites this weekend to record back to back victories.
In fact, no team without Mercedes power have taken pole nor victory here so the Silver Arrows really will be tough to beat here.
Hamilton however sees Red Bull as his nearest rivals this weekend, telling Daily Express that they “have been particularly quick there” owing to their impressive performances on circuits with low downforce.
They however lack straight-line speed which will benefit Hamilton greatly here so expect another impressive weekend in the Alps for Mercedes.
This weekend will see two teams reach major milestones as Force India compete in their 200th Grand Prix, whilst Haas be racing in their 50th.
Force India’s Sergio Perez feels that this “is a very special moment” for everyone associated with the team, having been part of their recent surge since joining in 2014 and taking their five podiums in that time.
Esteban Ocon and Team Principal, Vijay Mallya meanwhile just want a solid result to mark the occasion.
Mallya also discussed how far the team has come in a decade, saying; “It’s been a long journey since 2008 and I’m very proud of the results we have achieved, especially in 2016 and 2017.
Haas meanwhile has managed to reach 50th Grand Prix in just two and a half years and Team Principal, Gunther Steiner is “proud of what we’ve achieved.”
He however is focused on being “best of the rest” come end of season and it is clearly reflected in the lack of mention from both drivers during their thoughts on this weekend.
Either way, this is a weekend for both teams to enjoy no matter what their priorities are.
Whilst several midfield teams have points on board for both drivers, Haas’ Romain Grosjean is yet to score a top ten finish.
He however has recorded two top ten results here since signing for Haas in 2016, so has reason to be hopeful of a “big points” finish around here.
The weather however is looking like it could be testing with Friday practice set to be a washout ahead of a dry weekend. That would make FP3 crucial to nailing the car set-up given how much faster the cars are compared to this time last season.
If Grosjean can manage that without any issues, expect him to finish in the points and leave Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin as only driver without a point as Williams enter their home race next weekend.