2021 Styrian GP Preview - F1 returns to Austria after thrilling time in France

This weekend, Formula One returns to where the 2020 season started out, the Styrian region of Austria, the home race of Red Bull. Christian Horner will be wanting his team to push on for a fourth consecutive win in the championship, happening for the first time since the 2013 season.

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes will need to claw back the points lost from an overall disappointing weekend last time out at Paul Ricard.

Last Time Out

The tripleheader was kicked off at Paul Ricard on the Côte d'Azur in southern France, and the biggest winners as the teams headed towards Austria were Red Bull. Max Verstappen showed a great deal of pace through the whole weekend, with Mercedes being unable to match their speed across the various sessions.

This pace would extend to the race too, as Verstappen would come across the line ahead of Hamilton, following a race against time and tire wear as Red Bull elected to put the Dutchman on a two-stop strategy, something that Mercedes would fail to do for Hamilton. In the battle of the second driver, it was also Red Bull who would come out on top, with Sergio Perez passing Valtteri Bottas under ten laps from the finish.

In the race for best of the rest, it was McLaren who would put on a show for the fans, as both drivers finished in the top six, with Lando Norris sitting in fifth, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing a few seconds behind in sixth. On the other end of the spectrum, Ferrari would see both drivers finish outside of the top ten, with Charles Leclerc failing to find pace after his first pitstop, forcing him onto a two-stop strategy. Carlos Sainz wouldn't be forced onto a two-stop, however, he also struggled for pace in his second stint.

It was a weekend to remember for George Russell and the Williams team, as the young Brit secured a 12th place finish on merit, displaying the levels of improvement that the team has reached since last season.

Last Time in Styria

The last time F1 raced at the Styrian GP it was the debut race of the 2020 season, a season that was unlike any other. It started with a doubleheader in Austria, the second race of which being the Styrian GP. Although not as exciting as the race prior, it was still a hard-fought race for all involved.

Ultimately it was Mercedes who left Austria the happiest team, having secured a solid haul of points from the one-two finish they achieved. Despite the relatively short lap, the second-place car of Bottas still managed to achieve a 20-second gap over the next Red Bull car of Verstappen, yet again demonstrating the Mercedes dominance.

Ferrari would have both cars bow out early on following a collision between the two cars. Sebastian Vettel would be the first to retire on lap one, whereas Leclerc would manage to make it to lap four before bowing out. 

The race will perhaps be remembered for Lando Norris's explosive last-lap performance, overtaking current teammate Ricciardo and the two Racing Point cars of Lance Stroll and Perez to bring the McLaren home in fifth place.

Track Profile 

Despite being one of the smallest tracks on the calendar, the Red Bull Ring has been home to some great, fast pace racing across all avenues of motorsport in the past few years. Arguably the most iconic overtake belongs to Artem Markelov, who on the run-up to turn two, managed to pass three cars during the 2018 F2 season.

Only spanning 2.6 miles in total, the lap record around the track is 1:05.619, set by Carlos Sainz in 2020, making it one of the quickest lap times on the calendar. Effectively the track is a large go-kart track, with plenty of high-speed sections and opportunities for overtaking.

Session Timings 

Friday 25th June 2021

Free Practice 1: 10:30am-11:30am BST 
Free Practice 2: 2:00pm-3:00pm BST 

Saturday 26th June 2021

Free Practice 3: 11:00am-12:00pm BST 
Qualifying: 2:00pm-3:00pm BST 

Sunday 27th June 2021

Race: 2:00pm BST 

 

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