It’s an ongoing story. Since 2015, the Dutchman and the British racer have battled one another for dominance at the Red Bull Ring. Their rivalry has never been as fast, exciting and spectacular as it is this year, however. Who will get their front wing over the line first in the two Grands Prix in Austria? It’s difficult to say…
One thing is for sure. Max Verstappen is coming to his home race in Spielberg as world championship leader for the first time. That gives him a good chance, but doesn‘t automatically make him favourite. Or does it? Mercedes dominated the last two races here, but in the years before it was Red Bull Racing. There’s always a thin line between leaping for joy and bowing heads in frustration for the two top teams at the Red Bull Ring – with wins and penalties aplenty. Let’s take a look back:
Since 2016 there has been nothing to separate Red Bull Racing and Mercedes here. Lewis Hamilton has in these six years taken a mere one point more than Max Verstappen (84 to 83). Max has taken more points per race on average when he finishes (20.75 to 16.8). The Dutchman has failed to finish twice, and the Brit once.
Mercedes are unstoppable. Since the return of Formula 1 to Austria in 2014, only Mercedes have been on pole position. That has proved to be an advantage, of course, with four of eight races being won by the man starting at the top. Lewis has only won here from pole (2016, 2020), whereas Max has managed it from 5th and 3rd place (2018, 2019).
Max Verstappen has a squeaky clean record at the Red Bull Ring, whereas Lewis Hamilton is the rebel of Spielberg. No other driver has incurred as many penalties as Hamilton – in 2015, 2017, 2019 and twice in the first race of 2020. The charges? Failing to observe a yellow flag, causing a collision, driving over the white line on exiting the pits and blocking another driver. The fact is though that when Lewis hasn’t taken a penalty, he has always won……
Every Grand Prix for Red Bull Racing in Austria is a home race – that’s how it feels for Max Verstappen too thanks to his noisy support from Holland. Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, has been on the receiving end of a barb or two. “He likes the fashion shows in Los Angeles instead of the cows in Austria. He likes shiny winners’ trophies and not those made out of knotted local wood – that‘s not his world,” says F1 insider and ServusTV commentator Andreas Gröbl. This emotional factor could always be decisive.
We should be set for an exciting race on Sunday (15.00 CET).
Tickets for the 2021 Styrian Grand Prix at Spielberg can be bought by fans online (no ticket points are available at the circuit).
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