F1 Styrian Grand Prix Preview: Will Lewis Hamilton be back on the podium?
Odds and the latest news ahead of Sunday’s race
This weekend brings the second installment of F1’s Austrian double-bill, with the inaugural Styrian Grand Prix.
While it may be a new name, it’ll still be familiar to fans and drivers – it’s the same race as last week’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, just named after the mountainous region surrounding the circuit.
Valtteri Bottas took the chequered flag last week. Can he deliver a repeat performance on Sunday? Here’s what to look out for…
Could Valtteri Bottas be Lewis Hamilton’s main rival this year?
Valtteri Bottas won last week’s curtain raiser, though there were question marks over whether his decision to slow down at the end was to help keep his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton out of the podium places.
Hamilton has dismissed those concerns, but Bottas could be a serious contender for the Drivers Championship. We’ve still got Hamilton as 8/15 favourite to seal a seventh title, but Bottas has been shortened to 13/8 after his win last time out.
Is Max Verstappen out to prove a point?
There was plenty of focus on Max Verstappen in the build-up to last week’s season opener. He’s been spoken of as a potential champion this year. And having won the Austrian Grand Prix in 2018 and 2019, he was expected to be right in the mix.
However, it was an awful day for Red Bull. Verstappen was in second when an electrical failure forced him to retire after just 11 laps. Teammate Alexander Albon was also unable to finish.
Red Bull believe there was an issue with the engine’s flywheel and they’re confident they’ve got to the bottom of it ahead of the next race. Verstappen is 10/3 to win on Sunday – he’ll want to make up for lost time.
How will the new Ferrari perform?
Charles Leclerc may have finished second last week, but his car looked well off the pace during qualifying.
Ferrari aren’t wasting any time – they’re going to bring forward changes that were initially planned for next week’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Prancing Horse had expected a lack of pace in Austria, having discovered a problem during pre-season. But the car performed much slower than anticipated – losing 0.7 seconds per lap to Mercedes.
Leclerc’s podium finish was largely a result of retirements ahead of him during the final laps and two bold overtaking moves on Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez. It was a great drive, but he’ll hope the car is a help rather than a hindrance this week – our traders have him out at 40/1 to take first.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication