Venue: Red Bull Ring
Lewis Hamilton looks unstoppable in the drivers’ championship, but there are reasons to rate Valtteri Bottas as a value bet in our Austrian Grand Prix predictions.
Given Ferrari’s failure to build on their pre-season form, the onus is on Bottas to take the fight to Hamilton this year.
Bottas was a convincing winner here from pole position a couple of years ago and was again fastest in qualifying last season, before being hampered by a hydraulics problem in the race.
Some question whether Bottas has already been beaten into submission by Hamilton this term, but he insisted: “He is not unbeatable. I just need to work hard.”
Hamilton, who has won 14 the last 19 Formula One races, is showing no signs of taking his foot off the gas in his relentless pursuit of championship number six.
However, he has prevailed only once in five attempts at this venue, losing out to previous team-mate Nico Rosberg in 2014 and 2015 before finally coming good the following campaign.
He was only fourth in 2017, though, and was forced to retire due to a fuel pressure issue 12 months ago.
How the French Grand Prix finished:
1 Hamilton (Mercedes), 2 Bottas (Mercedes), 3 Leclerc (Ferrari), 4 Verstappen (Red Bull), 5 Vettel (Ferrari), 6 Sainz (McLaren), 7 Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), 8 Hulkenberg (Renault), 9 Norris (McLaren), 10 Gasly (Red Bull), 11 Ricciardo (Renault), 12 Perez (Racing Point), 13 Stroll (Racing Point), 14 Kvyat (Toro Rosso), 15 Albon (Toro Rosso), 16 Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), 17 Magnussen (Haas), 18 Kubica (Williams), 19 Russell (Williams), DNF Grosjean (Haas)
With plenty of other markets to go at, punters should note that after years of turmoil, McLaren are enjoying an encouraging campaign.
Lando Norris, the impressive British teenager, and Carlos Sainz qualified fifth and sixth respectively in France.
That represented McLaren’s best grid positions in five years, before the latter finished sixth on race day.
Norris’ afternoon was hampered by a hydraulics issue, but he still took two points for ninth.
McLaren are way off the top but, after a long decline, it looks as though Britain’s biggest team is finally getting its act together.
New principal Andreas Seidl said: “It’s been our best weekend of the season and it was encouraging to see our car performing well from the first practice session until the end of the race.
“This gives us good momentum to keep pushing flat out, as the pendulum of performance swings between teams from circuit to circuit.”
It is 9/10 for both McLaren drivers to score points again at the Red Bull Ring and that is added to our Austrian Grand Prix betting tips.
Past Austrian Grand Prix winners:
2018 Verstappen (Red Bull), Raikkonen, Vettel
2017 Bottas (Mercedes), Vettel, Ricciardo
2016 Hamilton (Mercedes), Verstappen, Raikkonen
2015 Rosberg (Mercedes), Hamilton, Massa
2014 Rosberg (Mercedes), Hamilton, Bottas
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