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Austrian GP: Valtteri Bottas' chance to revive F1 winning streak?

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Austrian GP: Valtteri Bottas' chance to revive F1 winning streak?
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Jun 28, 2018, 11:05 PM

With Formula One returning to a venue that has been a happy hunting ground for both Mercedes and Valtteri Bottas in the past, can the Finn rediscov...

With Formula One returning to a venue that has been a happy hunting ground for both Mercedes and Valtteri Bottas in the past, can the Finn rediscover the winning touch and recoup some of the points lost from an unfortunate start to the season by winning the Austrian Grand Prix?

Bottas has certainly had more than his fair share of poor fortune this season, which has lost him a heap of points.

Added to the take-out in France, a cruel puncture in the final moments of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix denied him a full 25 points, whilst a poorly-timed safety car prevented a probable victory. Totalled up, these incidents could be worth around 40 points, which would firmly put him back in the championship mix.

With the Finn looking to reignite his 2018 campaign, will his luck change in Austria, a venue that has been kind to him in the past?

As well as taking his first podium at the Red Bull Ring back in 2014, he has never finished outside of the points and he also received the benefit of the doubt when, in his race-winning performance last season, he almost timed his start-line getaway a little too well.

However, he will have to beat his reigning champion team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who will be full of confidence after reclaiming the championship lead with a convincing win at Paul Ricard, and Sebastian Vettel, who will be eager to fight back from his error in the previous round.

As has been the case for many of the venues so far this season, a successful recent history for Mercedes doesn't guarantee victory in 2018. They've won all four hybrid era races, but both Ferrari and Red Bull have taken victories on 'Mercedes territory' this season, and will be looking to continue to prove that their hold on the power circuits is reducing.

Third DRS zone added to the Red Bull Ring

Following on from the additional DRS zones implemented at the Australian and Canadian Grands Prix, the organisers have confirmed that this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix will be given a third zone, aimed at increasing the chances of overtaking.

Whilst the third DRS zones haven't yielded many overtakes directly, they have been used to help bring the cars closer together, aiding the better overtaking opportunities further around the lap.

Previously, the DRS zones at the Red Bull Ring were situated on the start-finish straight and between turns three and four.

For this year's event, an additional zone has been added between turns one and three.

F1 race director Charlie Whiting said: “We have added one DRS zone in Austria. We have three detection points, three activation points, and the new one is between Turns 1 and 3.”

Can McLaren turn their season around?

The second-oldest team on the grid arrive in Austria as the constructor with the most Austrian Grand Prix wins with six, one ahead of Ferrari. In the previous spell when an Austrian race was on the calendar (1997 - 2003), they won three of the seven races held there.

Today, McLaren's recent slide in form means that they have completed their third race in a row without points, were eliminated in Q1 in the previous event for the first time since Mexico 2017, and are in danger of sliding down the constructors' championship standings.

With the Red Bull Ring typically favouring a strong power unit, McLaren aren't making any claims about being able to target a return to the points any time soon, with McLaren's Racing Director Eric Boullier simply focusing on a getting both cars to the chequered flag this weekend:

“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."

Interestingly, the 2018 French Grand Prix qualifying session was the first time both Williams and McLaren cars were eliminated from Q1 since the knockout qualifying format was introduced in 2006, underlining the difficult spell the second and third longest-standing teams are going through.

All Images: Motorsport Images

Who do you think will take the victory at the Red Bull Ring? Leave your comments below.
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Luke Murphy