Formula 1 barely has time to draw breath after the dramatic race in France this past Sunday, with teams and drivers already making their way to Spielberg for the Austrian Grand Prix.
Nestled in the hills, the Red Bull Ring is the modern-day version of the great Osterriechring and though it’s a lot more tame today, thanks to the incredible effort Red Bull put in to their home race the atmosphere as well as the action on the track is often among the best all year.
For Sebastian Vettel, the pressure is also on after his first-lap contact with Valtteri Bottas resulted in only a fifth place finish at Le Castellet, allowing Lewis Hamilton to open up a 14-point championship lead following his third win of the season.
About the race
Much like the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Paul Ricard before it, the Red Bull Ring is very much a power circuit with the first half characterised by long straights into tight corners and the second half by fast, sweeping corners.
The main action point is at Turn 2 at the top of the hill, as drivers brake from just shy of 200mph for a tight right-hander. This is where Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton famously came to blows on the final lap in 2016, with the latter going on to take victory while the German limped home in fourth.
This year there’s the added bonus of DRS along the straight, meaning even more action is likely into one of the most scenic turns on the calendar.
Despite just having nine corners in total, the Red Bull Ring is still one of the most challenging venues of the year, with every turn requiring precision and track limits often very strongly enforced.
Austria was also the site of one of F1’s biggest controversy in 2002, when Rubens Barrichello waited until just before the finish line to follow a Ferrari team order of letting Michael Schumacher through for the win. The result was uncomfortable scenes on the podium with fans booing from the grandstands.
Though that scenario is highly unlikely again this year, plenty can still happen so let’s see who’s hot and who’s not heading to Spielberg.
Top driver picks
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari ($28.4m)
Though Hamilton dominated last weekend in Paul Ricard, Ferrari and Vettel should be once again the team to beat at the Red Bull Ring.
The same three tyre compounds from France will be used but they will be without the thinner treads that have helped Mercedes both in Barcelona and at Le Castellet. Also, in qualifying, Ferrari remained faster than their German rivals on the straights even after the upgrade Mercedes brought last weekend. At all the key areas on this track, Vettel should have the advantage.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull ($20.3)
With three podiums in his past four races and confidence now back nearing its peak, Verstappen is a driver you always want in your team, particularly now as he appears to have the upper hand over teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
The Red Bull team will certainly be in the fight at the front for their home race, mostly because lap times are so low in Austria, under 1m05 for pole last year, so expect an eager Dutchman in front of many of his own countryman to keep Hamilton and Vettel very much on their toes.
Kevin Magnussen, Haas ($8.1m)
The Haas team showed signs of being back on form in France, with both cars making Q3, and last year the American outfit led the midfield comfortably at the Red Bull Ring.
Kevin Magnussen is their driver in form, as Romain Grosjean is still yet to score a point despite Haas’ competitiveness, therefore, the Dane is the midfield driver of choice for this weekend.
Worst driver picks
Fernando Alonso, McLaren ($10.4m)
The situation gets from bad to worse at McLaren, as the British team was the second slowest on the grid at Paul Ricard and now recent reports from within their Woking factory suggests improvements will be slow in coming.
Austria’s straights aren’t likely to improve their pace either, so the only categories Alonso is likely to have much success in is his performance against teammate Stoffel Vandoorne.
Sergio Perez, Force India ($11.7m)
Perhaps a driver that some would consider including based on his reputation, yet Perez doesn’t seem to be getting the job done compared to his teammate Esteban Ocon in the midfield.
With teams like Renault and Haas as well as drivers such as Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly forcing their way into the tight battle for the final points positions, the Mexican needs to up his game a little to remain in the fight.
Top team pick: Red Bull ($22.6m)
A home race, two drivers that can fight for victory and are arguably a more consistent line-up than the other top three teams, Red Bull remain the best value outfit on the grid, almost $7m less than Ferrari and $9.6m less than Mercedes. It’s almost crazy to put anyone else as your constructor.
These are our picks and preview for the Austrian Grand Prix. Now all you need to do is sign up and play! Check out the Official Daily Fantasy F1 games where you can win cash prizes, entries into the $20,000 guaranteed game, a VIP trip to a Grand Prix and more. Join a game now.