The 2021 Austrian GP is bound to be a bigger race than the previous round held at the same venue, amid the serene Styrian Alps. The daggers have been drawn and the battles lines marked clearly.
For anything, Round 2 at Austria will be more challenging and exciting than the previous race held last week. Given Lewis Hamilton, someone habitual of standing on the top step of the podium, emerged a valiant second, once again, Mercedes will make sure to push extra hard come the 2021 Austrian GP. They’d do well to remember that thanks to the late stop toward the end of the race, they were beaten fair and square by their staunchest adversaries this season and by a margin of 35 seconds.
In a sport where excellence is measured to a thousandth of a second, defeating a great driver by a margin as huge as 35 seconds is an indication of sheer brilliance, is it not?
Though what must be duly mentioned is that not once in the past half a decade run of Formula 1 has another team emerged to challenge Mercedes’ authority so supremely. So with Red Bull performing so brilliantly as they are, demonstrated keenly by four consecutive wins, it will be hard if not impossible for Mercedes to halt the glowing Red Bull caravan.
Why the Austrian GP promises such excitement
Moreover, what Red Bull’s visible progress on the grid has done is that it has only increased the frustration of the seven-time world champion, who’s been waiting in the wings to bag a hundredth Formula 1.
Therefore, clearly from a Red Bull perspective, another win will do more than just increase the margin of lead in both the Driver and Constructor standings; it will possibly deal a damaging blow to Mercedes by denting their confidence further.
Though, in stark contrast to how the Milton Keynes outfit will read the proceedings, a win for the Brackley-based side will taste like sweet revenge. How’s that?
Mercedes’ Chances of Firing All Cylinders at the Austrian GP!
Well, what can be better than emerging right on top in the backyard of your greatest current opponent? A win for Mercedes at the Austrian GP will do more than provide a relief to their winless recent run; it’ll be sweet revenge for a superior racing outfit that’s been met with a thorn in its path.
Remember, the last victory for the sport’s most dominant marquee came back at Spain. What’s followed ever since then has been an out-and-out Red Bull triumph. What should help Mercedes would be to note indications of early pace, as evident a few hours back. With Hamilton leading the charge and Verstappen down in third, is this an early indication of a reversal in fortunes?
Well, it’s too early to say as for now, it all boils down to the much-important qualifying on Saturday. Having said that, it’s difficult to turn a blind eye on Mercedes’ keenness to dominate the Austrian GP. How?
In Free-Practice 2, the 2020 World Champion was 0.2 seconds clear on teammate Valtteri Bottas as well as the man who’s beaten him comprehensively in the recent runs, Max Verstappen.
The following is what Lewis noted after the completion of the session marked by light rain: “Well, they have definitely got some extra in their bag, I already know that. But I think we have made some small progress today. I think they still have the two tenths, or maybe it’s a tenth and a half, something like that. We’ve definitely made some small steps forward but not the two tenths.”
What Red Bull Must Be Feeling About the Upcoming Austrian GP
Having already bagged five wins in eight Grands Prix so far, another victory here would render Red Bull’s domination over Mercedes at Spielberg complete. Which outfit, after all, doesn’t like back-to-back wins. Winning the much-awaited 71-lap slugfest of speed will only extend Red Bull’s streak of domination over its most strongest opponent.
Whether it’s Max or Perez, victory for either Red Bull driver would mean successfully defying Mercedes for a fifth consecutive occasion. Something that even a powerhouse like Ferrari failed to do in well over half a decade since the start of the turbo-hybrid era.
But all of that said, let’s not discount the likes of Lando Norris of McLaren, the young Briton competing with the vastly superior straight-line pace of his MCL 35M when compared to a Leclerc or Sainz’s Ferrari. Do they have an outside chance to steal Red Bull or Mercedes’ thunder or is it a too far-fetched call?
For now, it’s all to play for. Let’s see who’ll be reborn again in the front come the Fourth of July!
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images