McLaren are dominating Formula One for the second year running, with the constructers’ title seemingly wrapped up after six wins in the first seven races, but like in 2015, they can’t have it all their own way all the time.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel grabbed a deserved victory in the second race of the season in Malaysia, and split the McLaren’s in Spain six weeks back, albeit due to a mix up with team orders.
The four-time champion is keeping pace in the drivers’ standings, having banked five podium finishes so far; a 4/1 win at the Red Bull Ring would take Vettel’s tally level with second-placed Nico Rosberg’s current haul.
Ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix, we tipped the 27-year-old to win at 7/1, a feat he managed for the first time in 17 months, largely because Ferrari had bridged a huge gap to their rivals in qualifying, with Vettel at the front of the grid, just 0.074 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton, having been fourth in Australia’s opener.
He didn’t do quite as well in qualifying this weekend, finishing up 0.345 seconds behind the Brit in third, but, as pointed out by the BBC, Vettel was quicker than both Hamilton and Rosberg during Friday’s race-simulation practice runs on heavy fuel loads.
The world champion described Ferrari as ‘close’ after the race, and his 1/2 favourite status looks shaky, after winning just one of the past three Grand Prix.
Credit where credit’s due to the Stevenage man; his is the first British pole in Austria for 39 years.
Back in the field there was plenty of commotion during qualifying, with Red Bull in particularly bad shape at the Grand Prix they’re hosting.
Daniil Kyat and Daniel Ricciardo are out to 16/1 and 22/1 with bwin merely to finish in the top six after costly penalties. That pair’s likely non-competitiveness makes Valtteri Bottas a massive banker in said market at 9/20, as the Finn has managed as much five times already in 2015.
On the other hand, Max Verstappen seems a little short at 17/20 for his first top-six finish, as the clearly-talented 17-year-old hasn’t built on his brilliant seventh in Malaysia, ending up out of the points in the five races since and retiring twice.
A better value top-six pick could be Verstappen’s Toro Rosso teammate Carlos Sainz Jr at 14/1, as the Spaniard has two eighths, a ninth and a tenth to his name so far this season.