F1 2021 Austrian Grand Prix Preview

Formula 1 fans outside of the U.K. have seldom found themselves hoping for a better turn of fortune for Mercedes during the hybrid era. Yet, here we are.

Max Verstappen is laying burnouts – quite literally – all over the competition. What started as a fight is turning into a demolition and the savagery is stunning.

At this point, it does not look like anything can stop Mad Max in 2021 – but is it too soon to count seven times champion Sir Lewis Hamilton out?

Track Guide

F1 cars in all their beauty will be singing their song in the Austrian Alps again this weekend.

While it’s always too early to dismiss Hamilton from a title fight, the long straights and wonderfully fast-flowing corners of the Red Bull Ring seems unlikely to be the place Mercedes mount a renewed charge.

We’re racing at the Red Bull Ring for the second weekend in a row. Image: F1

Few tracks on the calendar conjure up such easy images of magnificent surroundings and blindingly fast cars. While most of the passing happens at the hard-right turn three, the most daring drivers will make it stick around Turn 6.

The rest of the lap is where speed shines and the chase intensifies before bottoming out in Turn 10 and blazing towards the stopwatch at the line.

Last time out

The fact that this week has been spent discussing the safety of Verstappen’s race-ending celebratory burn out on the finish line (how awesome was that?) because he finished so far ahead of second place tells the story of last week’s Styrian Grand Prix completely.

Verstappen dominated wire-to-wire for Red Bull’s fourth consecutive win and only a slow pit stop prevented Sergio Perez from joining him on the podium.

Mercedes did well to salvage second and third place for big points in the Constructor’s standings but the Silver Arrows were never a threat to Verstappen’s win.

Thankfully, at least Valtteri Bottas looked Iike the solid second driver that Mercedes desperately need for the first time in a while.

Beyond the leading four, both Ferrari and McLaren had one driver finish out of position and are likely to correct those anomalies for this repeat race which should make the midfield just as exciting this weekend.

Rinse and Repeat

Hindsight being the all-conquering view that it is, only sudden reliability woes will stop Red Bull from having two drivers on the podium this Sunday.

Can Verstappen win three races in a row for the first time in his F1 career on Sunday?

Though Mercedes may yet mount a more sustained challenge to Verstappen, given the Dutchman’s dominant display last Sunday, it seems more likely they’re in for another soul-crushing defeat. And it’s about time that happened. 

The Austrian Grand Prix rounds out the first of F1’s 2021 triple-header weekends and will be roaring across your screen this weekend.

Session Times

Practice 1  –  2nd July      10:30 – 11:30

Practice 2 –  2nd July     14:00 – 15:00

Practice 3 – 3rd July    11:00 – 12:00

Qualifying – 3rd July    14:00 – 15:00

Race – 4th July                 14:00

*All times BST

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview your Austrian GP weekend? The Grid Talk crew previewed this weekend’s race in their latest podcast. Louis Edwards hosted Owain Medford, Garry Sloan and Tom Downey. Both video and audio versions of the show are linked below:

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