The title fight is closer than ever and the midfield has been a constant back and forth. Here are my predictions for the upcoming Styrian Grand Prix.
Mercedes and Red Bull are neck in neck for both the drivers and constructor’s championships but after the French Grand Prix, Red Bull have made their lead a little more comfortable. Not so comfortable that they don’t have to look behind them because there is no way the Mercedes team are going to give up on the season so early.
Mercedes feel that what they are lacking most is morale. While Hamilton is still performing well, his teammate Valtteri Bottas has been underperforming this season. Not all of it has been his fault but even without the unfortunate events that knocked him out of some races, the races where he has managed to finish have been lacklustre. Bottas does mean business though, as evidenced by his outburst in France. Bottas said of it that, “We are not in a tea party, we are in an elite top sport.” He will still be going for it and is definitely not to be disregarded at the Styrian GP.
Hamilton said regarding the team’s review of France, Mercedes didn’t “necessarily get the answers we’re looking for, but we have more information coming here.” Their performance at France it seems hasn’t quite been fixed but that is understandable given that it has only been a week since France. They might not have done enough to beat the Red Bulls.
Overall, the Red Bulls have the confidence and the means to win this weekend. Max Verstappen has been just as reserved about the team’s prospects of winning as always saying that at the Styrian GP, “[We’ve] had a lot of good races here in the past but it’s not a guarantee that it’s going to happen again.”
Both teams are worried about the weather as it is forecasted to rain which could mean an exciting race for the viewers with plenty of chances for an upset.
France was terrible for Ferrari. They had a potent issue with front tyre degradation. Ferrari have stated that they were aware of the problems with their front tyres for a while now. They had been gambling with it the entire season so far and only in France did it catch up with them.
Carlos Sainz said of the issue, “It’s been only three full days since we had the issue and obviously you can imagine as a team, we were quite surprised by it. But also in some way we knew we were exposed to this kind of degradation in the front tyres for a while now.” He added, “we’ve definitely put together a plan for the short, medium, and long term to see if we can get it better.”
Ferrari still need to experiment with different set-ups, but they seem somewhat confident that they have addressed the issue. Let’s hope that France was a one-off for the team but only time will tell. I’m feeling confident that they can pull it back together, and at least finish in the points this time.
Ferrari will have a hard time competing for third in the constructors against McLaren, especially considering that the team over there have been on fire recently. I see no reason for the McLaren’s to underperform in Austria especially as it seems that Daniel Ricciardo has shown improvment in the new car. And Lando Norris? Well, he’s been killing it and he probably finish within the top 5 again.
The rest of the midfield will be vying for points but Aston Martin of all of them are going into the race with confidence. The team have reshuffled their technical structure and have claimed that “Everybody at [Aston Martin] aims to win Grand Prix and World Championships, and this new and improved structure we have created mirrors that of the most successful teams in Formula 1 today.”
Aston Martin are definitely a team to watch this weekend purely to see how they are adjusting to the new reshuffle.
It should be an interesting race week in Austria especially if it rains.