2022 Austrian Grand Prix Predictions & Race Preview
Track Preview – Red Bull Ring
Austrian city Spielberg will host the 11th race in Formula 1 this season. After 10 years of absence, this race returned to the calendar back in 2014, and since then, only Red Bull and Mercedes have won.
Given that the founder and owner of Red Bull is Austrian Dieter Mateschitz, this track is considered the home race for the mentioned team. Max Verstappen has won three times in the last four years and he will be the favorite to do it again.
The circuit length is 4,318 kilometers and the scheduled distance is 71 laps. The track has only eleven corners, and it’s one of the shortest on the calendar.
Still, this circuit has everything. Two very long straights, but also a few demanding changes of direction and three DRS zones. The First will be on the main straight, the second DRS zone is from turns 1 to 3, and the last one starts after turn 3.
Leclerc 🆚 Verstappen for victory? 🤩@Charles_Leclerc and @Max33Verstappen had one of their most famous duels in Austria back in 2019… who wants to see that again?!#AustrianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/8hRzRQtKs7— Formula 1 (@F1) July 5, 2022
The second sprint race of the season is scheduled for Saturday
Last year, Formula 1 introduced sprint races. Instead of a regular weekend, qualifying is scheduled on Friday, the sprint race is run on Saturday, and the main spectacle remains on Sunday.
This season, the sprint race was held only at Imola. After Austria, it will be on the program once more this year and it will be at the penultimate race of the season in Brazil.
The result from the qualifying is used as the starting order for the sprint race, while the placing in the sprint race determines the starting order for the race on Sunday.
In addition, the best eight drivers in the sprint race get points. The first place gets eight points, the second place seven, and so on. In this way, one driver can score a maximum of 34 points during one weekend (25 for winning the race, 8 for winning the sprint race, and 1 point for the fastest lap in the race).
Carlos Sainz won at Silverstone, but Ferrari is shaken
Past weekend, Carlos Sainz took the first victory of his career. However, such an outcome did not please all the fans and not even all members of Ferrari. According to some rumors, few of them refused to take team pictures after the event.
The reason for this is another compromised race for Charles Leclerc. Before Silverstone, Leclerc was 24 points ahead of Sainz and everyone thought that Ferrari would make every effort to help him in fighting for the world championship. That didn’t happen.
In Silverstone, due to problems with the car, Verstappen quickly fell out of the fight for the podium, which gave Leclerc a chance to get even closer to him in the championship. When that happened, Sainz was first and Leclerc second, but Ferrari didn’t immediately give the order to the Spaniard to let his teammate in front of him.
Leclerc managed to overtake Sainz a few laps later, but when the safety car came out 13 laps before the end of the race, Ferrari did not bring Leclerc in for a tire change as everyone else did. Although they asked Sainz via team radio to allow Leclerc to make the gap, he didn’t agree to it, overtook his teammate, and won the race. Due to old tires, Leclerc was also overtaken by Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton, and he finished only fourth.
Leclerc looks like he’s getting a telling off from Mattia Binotto 👆 pic.twitter.com/qlLy8IbZny— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) July 3, 2022
How will this affect the race in Austria?
Unlike Red Bull where it is absolutely clear that Verstappen is the number one driver and Perez is driver number two, Ferrari doesn’t have that division. Leclerc and Sainz can compete against each other and that certainly won’t change.
Sainz is confident after the victory in Silverstone and will surely want to repeat it in Spielberg. Ferrari got a little closer to Red Bull, and a possible win for the Italian team this weekend would make the championship even more interesting.
Mercedes had the best pace in Great Britain since the start of the season and it remains to be seen whether they will carry their good form to Austria. If they are able to do that, they will be competitive with Red Bull and Ferrari again.
Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris are in the best form of the rest of the grid and they will surely compete for another top 8 finish. Mick Schumacher scored the first points of his career in Silverstone, while Daniel Ricciardo was again disastrous.
Pick: Max Verstappen to win the race in Austria – NO
After a terrible weekend in Silverstone, Verstappen will do everything he can to win in Spielberg. Another failure would bring Ferrari even closer to the championship, which means the Dutchman will be under some pressure.