With 8 races already behind us, the 2019 Formula One season is racing full steam ahead. There was a lot of chatter that Ferrari finally plans to deliver a competitive car for Vettel and new driver Charles Leclerc in the offseason. However, Ferrari has yet to win a race and things are going fully in Lewis Hamilton’s favour. If the Italian manufacturer doesn’t turn things around soon, Hamilton and Mercedes could already be well on their way to a new title.
The Austrian GP has been on the F1 calendar for quite a long time. Its history stretches back to 1963, when the first race was held at the Zeltweg Airfield. The track changed frequently over the years, now being held at the exciting Red Bull Ring. Since coming back to the F1 calendar in 2014, the Austrian Grand Prix is dominated by Mercedes. The only other team to win this GP is Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer after Max Verstappen showcased his amazing driving skills last year. Surprisingly, this is one of the races Lewis Hamilton hasn’t won multiple times. His only win here came in 2016.
This year, the Austrian GP will take place on June 30 with qualifications held the day before. Drivers will try to best each other over 71 laps in the hope of passing the finish line first. This year’s Austrian Grand Prix is will give us an answer to the question if Hamilton is well on his way to a new title. Thanks to his French Grand Prix win, Hamilton is already locked on the top spot, with Vettel trailing quite far behind. If Hamilton wins the Austrian GP this weekend as well, it will be quite hard for Ferrari to play catch up.
If Vettel wins and closes a bit of the huge gap, he may possibly go on a streak which might put Ferrari back in title contention.
Austrian Grand Prix History
The first Austrian Grand Prix was held in 1963. Held on a race track near the military Zeltweg Airfield it was won by the legendary Jack Brabham. At the time, the track was considered far too dangerous, so the FIA took it off the calendar from 1965 to 1969.
In the meantime, a new track was built. The Austrian Grand Prix was brought back on the calendar in 1970 at the Österreichring circuit. It was held there until 1987 when it was taken off the calendar again. The FIA determined that the circuit was pretty narrow and had too many high-speed corners which put the drivers in danger. There were many tries to bring back the race, but it ultimately disappeared off the F1 map for a decade.
In 1997, the Austrian GP was headed back to Formula One, this time with a refurbished Österreichring. The so-called A1-Ring was a modern race track redesigned by legendary German engineer Hermann Tilke. The races were held there until 2003, when the last Austrian GP took place (won by Michael Schumacher).
The race was reintroduced to the F1 calendar in 2014 after a decade of absence. Now held at the Red Bull Ring, it is one of the most thrilling races on the F1 calendar. Many legends have won the Austrian GP more than one time. Alain Prost tops the list with 3 wins, while Schumacher, Hakkinen, and 2016 champion Nico Rosberg winning it twice. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have won it only once, while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has yet to record a win at the Austrian Grand Prix.
Mercedes is also ahead of Ferrari when it comes to manufacturer wins, with 7 compared to the Maranello team’s 5. This year, however, Ferrari and Vettel must do everything they can to win the race and put pressure on Hamilton who is shaping up for another championship season.
2019 Austrian Grand Prix Predictions
Although many experts think that Lewis Hamilton has another title already in his bag, a Vettel win at the Austrian GP might be the turning point this season. Mercedes’ dominance this season is out of this world, with Hamilton and Bottas the only drivers to win a race. Vettel has appeared on the podium four times until now, and has been among the top 5 drivers in each race. Still, he’s a long way to the top, but that could all change beginning with the Austria Grand Prix.
At the moment, bookies aren’t looking past Lewis Hamilton for the Austrian GP. However, we’d not rush with the decision. Since Hamilton doesn’t have a stellar track record at the Red Bull Ring, other drivers should be considered as well. The favourite doesn’t always win and that may very well be the case with this year’s Austrian Grand Prix.
Last year, Max Verstappen finished first ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton had to retire after 62 laps after securing the second spot in qualifications. Once again, Hamilton failed his Austrian fans, and since history has a tendency to repeat itself, it could happen again this year. Of course, his brilliant form is the only thing that’s stopping bookies from bravely giving the favourite nod to another driver.
Apart from race winner, punters can bet on who who wins the fastest lap. For those unaware, an extra point is added to the driver with the fastest lap in each F1 race this year. If things go down to the line in the final races this season, every point could be worth it.
How Will Mercedes Do?
Since the revival of the Austrian GP, Mercedes and its drivers have been doing great. As a matter of fact, Red Bull’s Verstappen is the only player from another team to win the race apart from Mercedes. Nico Rosberg won it in 2014 and 2015, Hamilton won in 2017, while Valtteri Bottas was fastest in 2017. If bookies are to be believed, Mercedes’ dominance in Austria will continue in 2019 as well.
The German team is already having a brilliant season. Sitting comfortably ahead of Ferrari, Mercedes’ drivers have won all 8 races so far. Hamilton has 6 wins, while Bottas has 2. Up until now, Mercedes’ fiercest rival Ferrari hasn’t lived up to expectations, but in Formula One, things change as fast as the cars go.
A win in Austria will most likely cement Hamilton’s bid for a new title. Even if Bottas wins, it would mean a greater lead for Mercedes in the manufacturer’s standings. Thanks to the German’ team’s recent dominance at Red Bull Ring, everything points in their direction.
A Ferrari Win on the Cards?
Ferrari hasn’t won the Austrian GP since the glorious days of the legendary Michael Schumacher. He won the race in 2002 and 2003 right before it went dormant for a decade. With a total of 5 wins at the Austrian GP, Ferrari is right behind Mercedes with 7 and the undisputed ruler Ford with 9 (now a defunct team). Things haven’t been great for Ferrari since the race made it back to the F1 calendar, especially for Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel has never won the Austrian GP, yet he came close on several occasions. Still, it’s one of the Grand Prix’s he doesn’t have in his trophy cabinet and that could prove the ultimate motivation. Ferrari has been dreaming of an Austrian GP for nearly two decades and it’ll certainly try its best this year. After all, Ferrari and Vettel have nothing to lose at all. Hamilton is in the driving seat once again, but a string of wins will give Vettel the self-confidence he needs to get back to his best form.
With Hamilton winning the French Grand Prix, it’s clear that Vettel won’t be a bookie favourite. However, this also means he may be the punter’s favourite. After all, a Vettel win will bring you a nicer return which is what we’re all hoping for.
Who Are the Favourites of Austrian GP 2019?
When it comes to the favourites, bookies have identified Lewis Hamilton as the top driver to win the race. It’s not that surprising considering his form, but to be honest, his odds are quite low at 4/6. This, along with the fact that Hamilton has only one win in Austria, should make you consider another driver.
Bottas and Vettel would be the obvious other choices. Their odds should look much better (3/1 and 5/1 respectively), with Charles Leclerc (6/1) nearby as well. Leclerc is a very talented driver which translated to 3 podiums this year as a Ferrari rookie. The young Monegasque racer is yet to win an F1 race, but as he continues to improve, wins will come soon enough.
Who Are the Outsiders of Austrian GP 2019?
Max Verstappen won the Austrian GP last year, but his performance this year leaves a lot to be desired. Yet to record a win, Verstappen is trailing far behind the first four favourites for the Austrian GP. His odds are 28/1 which is a far cry from a favourite and more in line with an outsider.
Of course, if he does and you’ve placed even a small bet on him, you stand to earn a fortune. The absolute outsider this year is Robert Kubica (4000/1). The returning Pole is not having a great season, having won none points so far, so it’s kind of expected that he’s stuck to the bottom of the list.
Verstappen to win - odds 34|Robert Kubica to win - odds 4001