Following a brief interlude in North America for the Canadian Grand Prix, Formula One returns to Europe for the Austrian Grand Prix. The race returned to the calendar in 2014 for the first time in 11 years and was won by Nico Rosberg. The event marked the first and only time in 2014 that someone from a team other than Mercedes secured pole position. Felipe Massa led an all Williams front row while it was team-mate Valtteri Bottas who finished on the podium behind Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
Mercedes once again come into the Austrian Grand Prix as the team to beat. Lewis Hamilton leads the drivers championship while Mercedes lead Ferrari in the constructors. Hamilton won last time out in Canada, leading yet another Mercedes 1-2, with Bottas in third.
Circuit: Red Bull Ring
Number of Laps: 71
Circuit Length: 4.326km
Number of Corners: 9
Lap Record: 1:08.337 Michael Schumacher (2003)
Previous Australian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 1
Most Successful Team: McLaren (6 wins)
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Soft and Supersoft
The Red Bull Ring is made up of fast straights joined by a mix of slow and medium speed corners. Teams come into this weekend with data from last year, in contrast to last year’s race when they did not know what to expect. It is another power track, which requires good aerodynamics and traction. The track is considered medium-downforce due to the mix of corners, despite there being few of them. Last year drivers saw qualifying times deleted for exceeding track limits so they will have to be careful to keep all four wheels on the track.
Last year only one of the four Red Bull affiliated cars made the finish with Sebastian Vettel and the Toro Rosso duo of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat retiring. Only Daniel Ricciardo saw the chequered flag and he finished eighth. They will be hoping to have a better showing at their home track this year, despite the difficulties they have endured so far this season. Another team struggling are McLaren-Honda who, following the highs of their first points of the season in Monaco, suffered the disappointment of a double retirement in Canada. Kimi Raikkonen put in a strong showing in Canada to finish fourth while team-mate Vettel fought through from the back of the grid to finish in fifth. Massa was another driver who had to come from the back of the grid and he ended up in sixth. Williams are bringing a significant upgrade to their car this weekend which they hope will help them close the gap to Ferrari.