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2018 Austrian Grand Prix Preview

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Momentum? Thus far the momentum this season has been divided between Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull. Sebastian Vettel took win number three in Canada and Lewis Hamilton got his third victory last week in France. So, momentum alone should take Daniel Ricciardo to the top of the podium this week in schnitzel land for his number three.

Needs A Good Run?  Former championship teams McLaren and Williams are having dreadful seasons.

In Our Last Episode?  Lewis Hamilton cruised to his 65th victory and third of the year at the resurgent French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Sentimental Favorite? Dutchman Max Verstappen is it.

Challenges?  Spielberg is a great name when it comes to film-making but it’s out in the toolies when we’re talking about auto racing. The former A-1 Ring is now called the Red Bull Ring but is no more exciting than it was before.

Quotes:

“Austria is a short lap, but a very busy one. It’s pretty hectic. The middle and last sectors are really fast, in fact the final two corners are my favourite, especially in the current cars. The race is intense and feels high paced from start to finish so you have to concentrate hard. As the lap is so short there is no room for error – one little mistake will cost you, as all the times are very close. Austria also brings up one of my favourite dishes of the year, Wiener Schnitzel! A little bit of cranberry and fresh lemon on the side and I’m happy, I’ll probably put down between six and twelve over the weekend [laughs]. It’s good to see all the Red Bull and Austrian fans out over the weekend as it’s the team’s home race. The stands are always packed and the hills are awesome once the sun is out, so good energy all around.” Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull driver

“This is the second race of F1’s summer triple-header, and like Paul Ricard and Silverstone, one of the most fan-focused events on the calendar. For that reason, it’s always an enjoyable weekend, and one that’s good for the sport. The track is compact and relatively straightforward, but also a real drivers’ circuit – you’re looking to extract the tiniest margins from car and driver around such a short, quick lap. And that’s not always easy, as a few of the corners sometimes look more inviting than they really are… After a couple of difficult races, we’ll be looking for a smooth and reliable weekend on both sides of the garage. Fernando’s recent retirements have been frustrating, so it would be good to see him get to the finish this weekend.” Eric Boullier, Head of Racing, McLaren

“This weekend, we follow up my home race with one of the team’s home races, because even if we are an Italian team, we are part of the Austrian Red Bull family. I’ve had a few podium finishes at this circuit in the junior categories. The track is really very fast with several straight sections. I remember racing there in GP2 as a Red Bull junior driver, I had a lot of support as it’s pretty much a Red Bull weekend. So now I’m looking forward to experiencing that as a Formula 1 driver. I think it’s going to be a special weekend, after experiencing all the support at my home race, I expect it will have a great atmosphere and a good vibe. I hope we will be competitive, because I really want to get a good result at this place. It’s a very short lap, you’re looking at a time of just under 1m 10s. It’s a very quick race made up of a huge number of laps. I tend to prefer tracks with a lot of corners, but at least the straights provide passing opportunities. I like fast corners and there are plenty of those in the middle of the track so, given the levels of downforce we are running this year, and the fact we have seen the lap records broken at every track so far, I reckon it’s going to be a really impressive weekend from a driving point of view. I can appreciate that the location is really beautiful too, but I have to admit I am more of a city boy!” Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso driver

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularOpenWheel.com, its owners, management, or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Lisa Davidson

Lisa Davidson is a graduate of the University of Arizona and spent her corporate career as a Controller. She is a lifelong writer who has been covering open wheel racing since 2000 and is the author of historical articles and co-author of one book She and her husband, photographer Jeff Davidson, have two daughters and make their home in Murrieta, CA.

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