Red Bull recently won three races in a row – Verstappen won in Monaco and last Sunday at Le Castelli, while teammate Sergio Perez in Baku was between them. The racing team hasn’t had a streak like this since 2013. At the time, Sebastian Vettel had won the final nine races of the season – something that only Alberto Ascari had achieved in the 1950s. In 2014, new engine regulations introduced the turbo-hybrid engine, which kicked off the Mercedes team’s dominance.
In 2014, Spielberg’s racetrack also returned, formerly known as Österreichring (until 1987) and A1-Ring (1997 to 2003). Mercedes’ Silver Arrows’ superiority can be seen in the fact that the team surrounding Team Principal Toto Wolff has won six of the eight editions at the Red Bull Circuit so far. In July of the previous year, Finn Valtteri Bottas took first place, and a week later later world champion Lewis Hamilton won.
Spielberg’s first race is imminent
The first two Formula 1 races of the season will take place this weekend in Spielberg, Styria. Red Bull wants to show off their races at home and prove themselves against the Mercedes competition.
“Like a home race” by Verstappen
The only two exceptions to Mercedes’ track record came from Verstappen, who – admired by thousands of Dutch fans – won in 2018 and 2019. “Of course it’s like racing home, and the fact that there are two races makes it all better,” said the 23-year-old. “It’s always good to drive here, and we’ve had good results at the Red Bull Ring in the past.” However, the championship leader does not expect a sure success.
“We have to optimize the car again, as we did before, properly assess the conditions and react to them. I don’t know what the weather will be like either. Anyway, I suppose it will be tight again,” stressed the Dutchman. Of course there is no guarantee of the weather – as has often been the case lately in Spielberg. From bright sunshine to rain in qualifying and in the race, anything is possible.
Honda provides more power
As for the Mercedes boss Wolff, Red Bull is a bit of a favourite. Mainly because Honda seems to have had a hit with the expansion phase of the engine that was recently used for the first time. “Obviously, they made a big leap. Bigger than we did. Now you can see it on the strait, there is no passing right now,” Alfien explained. Full throttle is higher only in Monza than in Spielberg.
In any case, there will be excitement ahead of the Styria Grand Prix. If Verstappen – 12 points ahead of Hamilton in the World Cup – had managed to get another win here, he would have been able to catch record holder Alain Prost with, say, three wins. The same goes for Hamilton and Bottas, who could also overtake the four-time world champion from France and even overtake them a week later.
Full ranks in the second race
Spielberg II on July 4 (live on ORF1) should be the starting signal for a return to similar conditions as they were before the time of CoV. There will be no spectator restrictions on the ninth weekend of the Grand Prix. The stands will be full and the Formula 1 Field Club will be back in business for the first time.
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