Formula 1 specialist Ben Issatt (@BenIssatt) previews the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix and provides us with his best bets for Sunday’s race.
- 2019 Profit & Loss: -0.25pts
2019 Austrian Grand Prix Betting Preview, Odds & Tips
- Date: 30/6
- Time: 14:10pm BST
- Venue: Red Bull Ring, Spielberg
- Channel: Sky Sports F1
The second leg of Formula 1’s first double-header of 2019 sees the teams and drivers in Spielberg for the Austrian Grand Prix.
Set in the Styrian Mountains, the Red Bull Ring is one of the sport’s most spectacular circuits and also one of the most challenging despite its deceptively simple design.
Officially, the layout has only 10 turns and the lap time is the shortest in terms of time, with the pole on Saturday a 1m03.003s
But the track is a high-speed thrill with three long straights into slow corners to start, followed by a flowing second half made up mostly of medium-speed curves.
Close finishes and controversial incidents seem to go hand-in-hand with the Austrian Grand Prix.
Perhaps the most infamous moment came in 2002 when Ferrari ordered Rubens Barrichello to give up the win to Michael Schumacher.
Unhappy, the Brazilian would wait until metres from the finish line to let the German by, creating one of the most awkward podium ceremonies in history.
Then in 2016, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg would clash on the final lap in another flashpoint during their tense rivalry.
The German would lose out in that battle, but would ultimately win the war claiming the title in Abu Dhabi.
Fast forward to 2019 where Hamilton is on a red-hot streak with six wins in eight races, including the last four in a row.
After qualifying in Spielberg on Saturday however, both his and Mercedes’ winning streak appear in major peril after Charles Leclerc dominated to claim pole position.
Hamilton had claimed second but a penalty for blocking will see him drop down to fourth, meaning Max Verstappen has joined the Ferrari driver on the front row.
There was trouble for Sebastian Vettel too, as a car problem in Q3 leaves the German ninth on the grid.
With a mixed up grid comes a great opportunity to bet though, so here are my picks for Sunday’s race.
Key Stats & Facts
- Mercedes had won every race in Austria since 2014 until Max Verstappen’s success last year
- Mercedes could match McLaren’s 1988 record for 11 straight wins in Austria
- No Mercedes will start on the front row for a race for the first time since Mexico last year
- Only two drivers (Leclerc and Grosjean) start where they qualified after six drivers took penalties
Austrian GP winner:
- Charles Leclerc – 8/11 (SkyBet)
- Lewis Hamilton – 7/2 (Ladbrokes)
- Max Verstappen – 6/1 (William Hill)
- Valtteri Bottas – 7/2 (Ladbrokes)
The key to Sunday’s race is going to be strategy and tyres as temperatures soar in Austria.
Ferrari has already taken a different approach from Mercedes and Red Bull by starting on the soft compound tyre compared to the others on the more durable medium.
This likely means Leclerc will do a two-stop strategy while those behind will try to only do one.
Ferrari will be hoping then that the pace advantage of the faster tyres is enough to see Charles pull out a lead or enable him to pass cars on track
However, I still believe Lewis Hamilton is very much in the battle to win from fourth, particularly if he can pass Bottas and Verstappen in the early laps.
Managing the tyres will certainly be a challenge, but if he did get track position over the Ferrari, it would be tough to see Leclerc getting back ahead.
In the midfield, McLaren has again been the dominant team as proven by Lando Norris claiming an excellent fifth on the grid.
A top-six for the Briton (8/13 with SkyBet) is almost a certainty, however, I’ve opted to recommend a double points finish for the British team, as teammate Carlos Sainz comes back through the field from his penalty.
The Spaniard would likely be ahead of Norris had he qualified but with greater flexibility to shape his race, he should have the pace to make it back into the top 10.
Finally, I’m again putting faith in Sergio Perez’s tyre management skills, which almost came good in France, to put him very much in the battle for points.
The Mexican starts 13th and in a race where the pace is likely to be slower than normal, that should suit his slightly slower Racing Point perfectly.