F1 Corner
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F1 Corner

Can Verstappen repeat his come-from-behind heroics? — Austrian Grand Prix Race Preview

Charles Leclerc leads the field away at the start of the Austrian Grand Prix last year, but his struggling Ferrari team is unlikely to be in contention for victory this time round. (Image credits: AP)
  • Whether Verstappen can avoid losing places at the start — with the medium tyres offering less grip off the start line, Verstappen may be vulnerable to cars immediately behind him like Norris, and should he be stuck behind them, may face difficulty passing them especially given the tyre deficit. However, Verstappen generally starts well and aggressively, and barring any clutch problems like last year, I personally think that it’s more likely than not that he will retain his position. Starting on the clean side of the grid, he may even get a jump on Hamilton which would significantly increase his chances of winning as he would be directly in range of the lead Mercedes, which is related to my next point:
  • The relative pace of the two Mercedes cars — should Mercedes remain 1–2 after the first lap, and the 2nd Merc driver being consistently slower than the 1st on track, the leading Merc may comfortably extend the lead in the opening gaps to become out of range to Verstappen, especially since Verstappen may find it difficult to pass the Mercedes on-track. This would make the win out of the question for Red Bull, though it makes it more likely that he can overhaul the 2nd Mercedes for 2nd place by the end of the race.
  • The level of tyre degradation — given that the soft tyres wear out faster than the mediums, it will all depend on how rapidly they degrade, compared to how fast the Mercedes cars can extend their lead. If tyre wear is less than expected, or if Mercedes is extremely fast in the opening stint, then the Mercedes cars extend their lead past the 20+ seconds needed to pit and emerge ahead of yet-to-pit traffic, and not be afraid of losing time to Verstappen in traffic. But if they’re forced to pit earlier than expected, it would compromise their 2nd stint and make it challenging to make the end of the race without pitting again.
  1. Bottas
  2. Hamilton
  3. Verstappen
  4. Albon
  5. Perez
  6. Norris
  7. Leclerc
  8. Sainz
  9. Vettel
  10. Ricciardo

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Isaac Tham

economics enthusiast, data science devotee, f1 fanatic, son of God