Eleven years and a name change later, the Red Bull Ring makes its return to the Formula One calendar and with the team of the same name celebrating its first win of 2014, its timing couldn’t be better. Many in attendance will hope Daniel Ricciardo can claim back-to-back wins but what are his chances? The TCF Form Guide looks at his and his competitors’ chances.
|6. NICO ROSBERG – MERCEDES (140 PTS – CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER)|
|Last 5 Races: 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd||Best In Austria: Debut|
Nico Rosberg has become rather accustomed to finishing second this season and although he ended up in the runner-up spot again in Canada, the result will have felt like a victory. Given his horsepower deficit, Rosberg fought bravely to hang on to the lead for so long before eventually being overhauled by Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages. Now holding a 22 point lead over teammate Lewis Hamilton, Nico is now in a position where he can afford to finish second and maintain a healthy advantage but that certainly won’t be the mindset.
|44. LEWIS HAMILTON – MERCEDES (118 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 22 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, DNF||Best In Austria: Debut|
The circumstances of his defeat by Nico Rosberg in Monaco will have been hard to swallow for Lewis Hamilton and many expected him to thrash his teammate in Montreal. It wasn’t to be. Lewis was beaten to pole position and although he clawed his way in front mid-race, a brake problem sent him into a costly retirement. Once again, Hamilton will start the weekend as many people’s favourite for victory but the margin for error in the title battle, even at this early stage, is getting smaller.
|3. DANIEL RICCIARDO – RED BULL RACING RENAULT (79 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 61 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 4th, 4th, 3rd, 3rd, 1st||Best In Austria: Debut|
Formula One’s newest Grand Prix winner will have a triumphant homecoming as Red Bull gear up for their home race at the circuit bearing their name. Daniel Ricciardo has been the leading success story of 2014 and whatever the issues surrounding the Mercedes cars, no-one can argue that his performances haven’t merited a victory. Ricciardo doesn’t strike you as the kind of guy that needs a morale boost but his confidence is sure to be sky high and a podium is a strong possibility. Don’t expect another win though unless Mercedes slip up again.
|14. FERNANDO ALONSO – FERRARI (69 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 71 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 9th, 3rd, 6th, 4th, 6th||Best In Austria: DNF (2001, 2003)|
Fernando Alonso will have been keen to forget the Canadian Grand Prix with an updated Ferrari failing to deliver when it mattered most. Alonso topped FP1 but when the pieces were there to be picked up after a Mercedes drama, he wasn’t there to pick them up, finishing a disappointing sixth. Alonso is one of only four drivers in the field to have any Formula One experience around the Red Bull Ring but any advantage that may provide him will be negated by the shortfalls of the car underneath him.
| 1. SEBASTIAN VETTEL – RED BULL RACING RENAULT (60 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 80 PTS)
|Last 5 Races: 6th, 5th, 4th, DNF, 3rd||Best In Austria: Debut|
Astonishingly for a four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel hasn’t finished ahead of his teammate since the Malaysian Grand Prix back in March. His weekend in Canada started well too with one of his finest qualifying laps of the year enabling him to take third on the grid. Had he not been jumped in the second round of pit stops, Vettel may well have been the one in position to pick off Nico Rosberg late in the race and in case there is another calamity with the Silver Arrows, Sebastian knows he must turn the tide on Daniel Ricciardo to have any chance of victory.
|27. NICO HULKENBERG – FORCE INDIA MERCEDES (57 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 83 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 5th, 6th, 10th, 5th, 5th||Best In Austria: Debut|
The Canadian Grand Prix promised so much for Force India but in the end, fifth place for Nico Hulkenberg was their only reward and in some ways, it’s a sign of how far the team has come that it’s seen as a disappointment. The safety car certainly didn’t favour him on a one-stop strategy as others stretched their stints and in the end, Hulkenberg was overhauled by Jenson Button a lap from home. Qualifying pace has been a slight weakness of the Force Indias in recent races so the first challenge for Nico will be to reach Q3, setting him up for another strong Sunday.
|22. JENSON BUTTON – McLAREN MERCEDES (43 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 97 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 17th, 11th, 11th, 6th, 4th||Best In Austria: 4th (2003)|
After three races without a point, Jenson Button has bounced back with two excellent results, even if they perhaps owed more to smart race craft and opportunism than outright pace from the McLaren. Jenson picked his spot beautifully to pass Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg for fourth on the penultimate lap in Canada and with McLaren promising a raft of upgrades at the Red Bull Ring, the 2009 champion will hope he has the package to fight for a similar result here.
|77. VALTTERI BOTTAS – WILLIAMS MERCEDES (40 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 100 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 8th, 7th, 5th, DNF, 7th||Best In Monaco: 12th (2013)|
Many drivers were left complaining about their brakes after a punishing Canadian Grand Prix and few will have been more annoyed than Valtteri Bottas. The Finn had a shot at the podium but running in traffic cooked his engine and brakes, leaving him powerless to prevent himself from falling to seventh. The pace of the Williams, especially in qualifying, will have been cause for encouragement though and with Austria unlikely to provide such strain on the FW36, his luck may turn here.
|20. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN – McLAREN MERCEDES (23 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 117 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 13th, 12th, 10th, 9th||Best In Austria: Debut|
After scoring eighteen points in his very first start, Kevin Magnussen has added just five in the next six Grands Prix but the Dane is making steps in the right direction after a difficult run of races. Getting stuck behind Jean-Eric Vergne didn’t help him in Canada but the last lap mayhem did promote him to ninth and having raced at the Red Bull Ring as recently as last year in the Formula Renault 3.5, Kevin should have a platform from which to score more points this weekend.
|11. SERGIO PEREZ – FORCE INDIA MERCEDES (20 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 120 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 3rd, 9th, 9th, DNF, 11th||Best In Austria: Debut|
From staring at a potential victory to ending the day in hospital, Sergio Perez’s Canadian Grand Prix had just about everything. With worn tyres, Perez didn’t have the grip in the middle sector to get close enough to overtake Rosberg and he subsequently fell into the clutches of Felipe Massa when it all went wrong. As things stand, the Mexican carries a five place grid penalty into this race and if his team are unsuccessful in getting it overturned, Checo will have his work cut out on Sunday.
|19. FELIPE MASSA – WILLIAMS MERCEDES (18 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 122 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 7th, 15th, 13th, 7th, 12th||Best In Austria: DNF (2002)|
Make no mistake about it, the Canadian Grand Prix was a race Felipe Massa could have won. The Brazilian had the best pace and the freshest tyres but couldn’t make the overtaking moves when he caught the front group with his final attempt resulting in a heavy pile-up. Felipe was understandably livid with Sergio Perez after their last lap collision and his frustration will also be down to the fact that another weekend has gone by where promising pace went unrewarded.
|7. KIMI RAIKKONEN – FERRARI (18 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 122 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 10th, 8th, 7th, 12th, 10th||Best In Austria: 2nd (2003)|
After the encouraging displays of Spain and Monaco, Canada will have felt like two steps forward followed by a large step back for Kimi Raikkonen. The 2007 champion was uncompetitive with a embarrassing spin at the hairpin summing up his afternoon which yielded a solitary point thanks to the final lap carnage. Austria does at least hold good memories though with the Finn making the world take notice by finishing fourth as a rookie in 2001. What he would give for that kind of result thirteen years on.
|8. ROMAIN GROSJEAN – LOTUS RENAULT (8 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 132 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 12th, DNF, 8th, 8th, DNF||Best In Austria: Debut|
After back-to-back points finishes, Canada didn’t bring much cheer for Romain Grosjean and Lotus but in fairness, it was never likely to. The Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve didn’t play to the strengths of the E22 as qualifying proved but damage to the rear wing put paid to any slim chance of points in the race. The Red Bull Ring is expected to favour the Lotus with higher downforce required and Romain will fancy his chances of breaking back into the top ten.
|25. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE – STR RENAULT (8 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 132 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 12th, DNF, DNF, 8th||Best In Austria: Debut|
Montreal seems to bring the best out of Jean-Eric Vergne. After finishing a career-best sixth in 2013, the Frenchman drove what he thought was “the best race of his F1 career so far” to take eighth in this year’s race. With updates due for the Austrian Grand Prix, Vergne and Toro Rosso will be hoping for a package that enables them to follow Red Bull as the second-best Renault powered team, especially with the improving Lotus close behind in the Constructors Championship.
|26. DANIIL KVYAT – STR RENAULT (4 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 136 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 11th, 10th, 14th, DNF, DNF||Best In Austria: Debut|
After such an impressive start to his Formula One career, Daniil Kvyat was due a dip in results at some stage. The Russian has gone three races without a point although the recent run retirements has come through no fault of his own, a drive train failure forcing him out of the Canadian Grand Prix. After appearing in European F3 last year, Daniil actually has more experience of the Red Bull Ring than much of the current Formula One grid and will hope to put that to good use this weekend.
|17. JULES BIANCHI – MARUSSIA FERRARI (2 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 138 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 16th, 17th, 18th, 9th, DNF||Best In Austria: Debut|
Marussia finally have their first points on the board thanks to the brilliance of Jules Bianchi in Monaco but the team were certainly brought back down to earth with a bump in Canada where Bianchi was taken out by his teammate Max Chilton. Although they had little chance to show it in the race, Marussia are making great progress with their MR03 and having come within a tenth of reaching Q2 on the Saturday, Jules could be in line to cause an upset or too come qualifying at the Red Bull Ring.
|99. ADRIAN SUTIL – SAUBER FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 140 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, DNF, 17th, DNF, 13th||Best In Austria: Debut|
Not even the chaotic and attritional races provided in Monaco and Canada could allow Adrian Sutil to open his points account for Sauber as his miserable 2014 continues. The German was among those to strike the barriers in Monte Carlo while a pure lack of pace left him thirteenth and the last car running at the finish in Montreal. With the Swiss team now trailing Marussia in the Constructors Championship, the burden will fall on Adrian to lead them out of a terrible position. Whether he is capable of doing so remains to be seen.
|9. MARCUS ERICSSON – CATERHAM RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 140 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 20th, 20th, 11th, DNF||Best In Austria: Debut|
Marcus Ericsson came closer than anyone has ever done to scoring Caterham’s first points in Monaco but Canada was one of the less impressive weekends of his rookie season far. The Swede was unlikely to qualify higher than 21st anyway but ending his session in the wall wouldn’t have endeared him to the team, nor his competitors as Q1 was halted early. Qualifying will be key for Marcus this weekend too as he seeks to close the gap in single lap pace to teammate Kamui Kobayashi which has grown too big for his liking.
|21. ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ – SAUBER FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 140 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 16th, 16th, DNF, 14th||Best In Austria: Debut|
Montreal was a disastrous weekend from start to finish for Esteban Gutierrez with a heavy crash in FP3 preventing him from taking any part in qualifying. The Mexican was unable to make up the lost ground come race day and a loss of power in the closing stages finally put him and Sauber out of their misery. Everyone involved at the Hinwil outfit will be praying that the misery doesn’t continue into Austria but realistically it’s difficult to see anything other than another pointless weekend.
|4. MAX CHILTON – MARUSSIA FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 140 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 13th, 19th, 19th, 14th, DNF||Best In Austria: Debut|
After going 25 races without a retirement, Max Chilton certainly ensured his unblemished record ended in spectacular fashion by clashing with teammate Jules Bianchi on lap one in Canada. With the 100% finishing record a thing of the past, Max no longer has such a statistic to cover up a lack of pace and the Briton must start beating Bianchi more regularly. In that sense, outqualifying the Frenchman 24 hours earlier was much more significant than his first DNF and Max will hope to carry that form into Austria.
|10. KAMUI KOBAYASHI – CATERHAM RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 140 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 15th, 18th, DNF, 13th, DNF||Best In Austria: Debut|
Caterham had a tough weekend all round in Canada with Kamui Kobayashi having his fair share of problems across the weekend. Although it didn’t cost him much by way of grid positions, an unscheduled gearbox change was hardly ideal and when his suspension gave way in the race, Caterham’s second double retirement of the weekend was confirmed. Kamui will another driver with Renault power praying his lack of straight line speed isn’t exposed as much here but it remains to be seen whether he will be anywhere near the Marussias.
|13. PASTOR MALDONADO – LOTUS RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 140 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 14th, 14th, 15th, DNS, DNF||Best In Austria: Debut|
Pastor Maldonado is not without his flaws but there is no question that luck has deserted the Venezuelan recently. After not even starting in Monaco, a loss of power towards the end of Q1 ensured he wouldn’t make it into the second session in Canada and a similar issue brought a promising race to an end. With Lotus expecting better in Austria, Pastor will be praying a clean weekend which would surely see him negotiate his way through Q1 and who knows, perhaps his first points of 2014.