Last time out in Baku Lewis Hamilton was unlucky when a rare malfunction meant he had to pit when a race victory looked in the bag and following Vettel’s stop-go penalty, Daniel Ricciardo was a surprise 66-1 winner.
Current Championship standings see Vettel 14 points clear of Hamilton in a head to head battle for the title as they move to the ninth race of the season in Spielberg, Astria this weekend
The circuit has undergone a host of changes over the years, with the biggest coming between 1995 and 1996 when the venue was completely rebuilt due to safety concerns. Fast sweeping corners were replaced by tight bends a long straight was added to provide further opportunities for drivers to overtake. The Red Bull Ring is quite a simple track with just nine corners. Straight line speed and engine power are crucial to be competitive.
Mercedes have dominated the circuit since the Austrian Grand Prix returned to the calendar, winning every race since 2014, but no active Formula 1 driver has won this race on more than one occasion. In fact, 2015 winner Lewis Hamilton will be the only man on the grid that has won this race when the race gets under way.
Although for most of this season the gap between Mercedes and Ferrari has narrowed compared to 2014-2016 and furthermore the Mercedes has struggled for consistency on the 2017 Pirelli tyres the evidence of the last two races in Montreal and Baku is that the Mercedes upgrades post-Monaco have restored their previous status quo somewhat.
In Baku, albeit on the longest circuit of the year Hamilton qualified 1.1 seconds clear of the nearest non Mercedes car, and 0.43s clear of his team-mate. The race before Bottas and Hamilton qualified a comfortable 0.36s clear of Vettel on a power circuit.
Prices for Austria (Bet365 or Skybet) have Hamilton 5/6, Vettel 9/4, Bottas 9/2 and Raikkonen 16/1, 25/1 bar the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers.
Hamilton is likely to qualify on pole and even if behind at any point this is a track with a couple of DRS over-taking points at the end of long straights. I would be quite confident about taking 5/6 this weekend on his victory.