By News Team
2nd July 2020
The Formula One season gets under way this week as we head for Austria for the first of back-to-back Grands Prix from the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
The calendar will see eight races across Europe, including back-to-back weekends at Silverstone, with more races to be announced in due course.
The focus of this season for Lewis Hamilton will be to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven World Championship crowns.
Red Bulls right at home
The short but fast lap of the Red Bull Ring is unsurprisingly well-suited to the Red Bull cars of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon.
With several fast corners, traction and late breaking will be essential for success in qualifying and on race day on Sunday, something which suits the Red Bull set-up nicely. Red Bull to be the winning constructor in the race is available at 2/1.
Verstappen has won the last two races held in Austria, including a thrilling race last season where he took the lead with just two laps to go despite dropping from second to eighth before the second corner.
More Mercedes magic?
While world champion Hamilton will be the centre of attention in the Mercedes garage ahead of a potentially history-making season, team-mate Valtteri Bottas may be happy to go under the radar for a few races at least.
Bottas made an impressive start last season, winning two of the first four races, and taking pole position in three of the first five. The Finn was also on pole at the Red Bull Ring in both 2017 and 2018 but failed to turn either of those into a winning weekend. He’ll undoubtedly be keen to prove that there is more than one Mercedes driver with title-winning potential and is 11/2 to triumph.
Hamilton, meanwhile, turned his pole position into a win in 2016, but has since failed to finish on the podium in Austria. He’ll be looking for another ferocious start after winning seven of the first 10 rounds last season and is 2/1 for the victory, while Mercedes are Evens to be the winning constructor in the race.
Ferrari looking for a fast start
As one of the sport’s rising stars, Charles Leclerc will be looking to press home his title claims with a strong opening weekend. Leclerc impressed many during his debut season for Ferrari, taking more pole positions (seven) than any other driver. However, he’ll need to improve his conversion rate if he is to mount a challenge this campaign, after converting just two of those poles into wins. Leclerc is 6/1 to win on Sunday.
Ferrari seem prepared to make him their lead driver after announcing that Sebastian Vettel will leave at the end of this season. Vettel’s time at Ferrari has been somewhat of a disappointment, having failed to ever look like adding a fifth world title to his glittering CV. The German won just one race last season and will be desperate to remind everyone of his ability in what could be his final Formula One campaign. He’s 15/2 to triumph, with Ferrari 5/2 to be the winning constructor this weekend.
More McLaren progress expected
After finishing a disappointing sixth in the constructors’ standings in 2018, McLaren made exciting progress in 2019. Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz enjoyed an excellent campaign, finishing one better than the ‘best of the rest’ by claiming sixth place in the drivers’ standings.
With Daniel Ricciardo due to make the move to McLaren in 2021, and the exciting Lando Norris set to continue his development, this season will a key measuring stick as to whether they can begin to compete for race wins and championships once again. They haven’t finished on the top step of an F1 podium since Jenson Button won the final race of the 2012 season.