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After Malaysia
Championship Standings:
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Pos Entrant Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 281
2 Sebastian Vettel 247
3 Valtteri Bottas 222
4 Daniel Ricciardo 177
5 Kimi Raikkonen 138
6 Max Verstappen 93
7 Sergio Perez 76
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18 Pascal Wehrlein 5
19 Daniil Kvyat 4
20 Marcus Ericsson 0
21 Antonio Giovinazzi 0
22 Pierre Gasly 0

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Pos Team Points
1 Mercedes 503
2 Ferrari 385
3 Red Bull 270
4 Force India 133
5 Williams 65
6 Toro Rosso 52
7 Renault 42
8 Haas Ferrari 37
9 McLaren Honda 23
10 Sauber Ferrari 5
  
 

Austrian Grand Prix Preview

by Brian Carroccio
Saturday, June 21, 2014

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F1 returns to the picturesque Red Bull Ring this weekend after an 11-year absence.
During the 2014 season, AutoRacing1.com columnist Brian Carroccio will preview all Formula 1 and IndyCar races. Below, is Brian's preview for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. Enjoy!

A Few Quick Facts

After an 11-year absence, the Formula 1 circus returns to the Red Bull Ring this weekend for the Austrian Grand Prix. It will be the 26th time the circuit has hosted a Grand Prix. From 1997-2003, the circuit was known as the A-1 Ring, and prior to that the Osterreichring, which hosted 18 Grand Prix from 1970-1987. In 1963 and 1964 the Austrian Grand Prix was held at the Zeltweg Airfield Circuit.

For this weekend, the circuit configuration will be the same as it was from 1997-2003: a 10-turn 2.688 mile track.

Four-time World Champion Alain Prost has the most wins in the Austrian Grand Prix with three. McLaren leads all constructors with six victories. Ferrari is second with five.

Have any of the current drivers run the Red Bull Ring?

Fernando Alonso has two starts at the Red Bull Ring
Four. Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa have all made starts in Austria.

Raikkonen has the best record of the three, having finished fourth in 2001 and second in 2003. Massa retired from the 2002 Grand Prix driving for Sauber. Button finished fifth in 2000 and fourth in 2003. Alonso has two starts in Austria (2001 and 2003) and retired from both races.

What are the most intriguing storylines coming into the weekend?

The always smiling Daniel Ricciardo scored his maiden Grand Prix win two weeks ago in Canada.
Well, there are the same storylines that have dominated so far in 2014: the intra-team battles at Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, the dominance of Mercedes, and the technical changes within the sport. Of course, the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago saw Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo break the Mercedes stranglehold in scoring his maiden Grand Prix victory. How will Mercedes respond after brake problems plagued both Lewis Hamilton and championship leader Nico Rosberg in Montreal?

In particular, how will Hamilton respond, as Rosberg managed to soldier home second in Montreal and now has a 22-point advantage of the Brit in the World Championship. After Hamilton won four consecutive Grand Prix, Rosberg has had the measure of his more celebrated teammate in the last two races at Monaco and Canada. The German’s sudden surge in form has clearly rattled the very temperamental of late Hamilton.

Another thing to monitor...

Four-time defending World Champion Sebastien Vettel qualified third in Canada. Will the gap between Mercedes and the rest of the field continue to shrink in Austria?
During these previews, I have often highlighted the gap between Mercedes and the rest of the field, which in Q3 has regularly been greater than a second. However, in Canada, there were 6 cars (including Hamilton) within a second of Rosberg’s pole time.

Yes, the gap between Mercedes and the field is closing. And with a relatively short track this weekend, expect that gap to be close even more in Austria.

So, who will win?

Sure, the gap between Mercedes and the field has shrunk somewhat in recent Grand Prix. However, the Silver Arrows are still the class of the field, and the question going into Grand Prix weekend has become which one of the two drivers will have the upper hand over the other.

I’ve said on numerous occasions that when it comes to Hamilton and Rosberg, I’ll take Hamilton every time. While you can’t be anything but impressed with Rosberg’s recent form, I’m guessing Hamilton gets back on track in Austria, leading Rosberg in another Mercedes one-two.

Brian Carroccio is a columnist for AutoRacing1.com. He can be contacted at BrianC@AutoRacing1.com.

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