The sideshow before the main 2023 F1 Austrian GP is now over. What we have in front of us is now the main race that every fan is looking forward to. Up until now, we've had two different qualifying sessions and a sprint. Each of them has its fair share of takeaways, as all three of them were run in specifically different conditions.
The 2023 F1 Austrian GP on Sunday is expected to stay dry, so we might not see these many shenanigans that we saw in the sprint today. Having said that, what can we expect from the race on Sunday? Let's find out as we share our predictions for the 2023 F1 Austrian GP.
#1 Max Verstappen is going to win the 2023 F1 Austrian GP
While the qualifying session on Friday, where Leclerc was within a tenth of Max Verstappen, did raise the hopes of the fans, it's hard to see Max challenged on Sunday. What we've seen on Saturday is that the Red Bull driver had some pace in reserve during qualifying, and that was on display on Saturday.
On Sunday, even if Charles Leclerc ends up having a strong start and jumping Max, the driver has enough time to find his way through. Unless there is a reliability issue or something unexpected, a Max Verstappen win feels like a certainty.
#2 We're not going to see an Aston Martin on the podium
Aston Martin will not be starting inside the top 5 with either of the drivers on Sunday. To add to this, after looking at the way the team performed on Saturday, it's hard to see the team turning things around all of a sudden and becoming a potent contender.
For one reason or the other, Aston Martin seems to lack the competitiveness at the 2023 F1 Austrian GP that could aid a podium challenge. As a result, it won't be a surprise if neither of the two drivers secure a podium finish this weekend.
#3 Top 5 for Sergio Perez is on the cards
If the race was going to be a one-stopper, then expecting Sergio Perez to storm through the field would have been tough. The Red Bull is quick on the straights, but the Red Bull ring and the new regulations might not aid such a march through the field.
Having said that, what works for Perez is the fact that the 2023 F1 Austrian GP is expected to be a two-stopper. When that happens, it opens up various strategic options. Those options will help Perez to exploit the pace of the Red Bull at various stages of the 2023 F1 Austrian GP and secure a top-5 points finish.
#4 A Ferrari podium is a possibility, a double podium is not
While Friday was a day of optimism for Ferrari, Saturday has brought the team back to ground reality. The car is strong, and there will be two drivers starting the 2023 F1 Austrian GP in the top 3. In terms of pace, can we expect at least one of them to score a podium? Yes, we can.
But can we expect both of them to do it? No, simply because Ferrari's track record of making a mess of strategy or anything else with at least one of the two drivers has become far too common. We've seen this happen with Charles Leclerc already on Saturday, as he received a 3-place penalty for the sprint.
It's unfortunate, but it does appear that the team tends to find these innovative methods to make a mess of its races far too often, and the 2023 F1 Austrian GP is going to be no exception.
#5 The race could prove to be strategic if the weather does not play a role
One unpredictability factor that could be in play on Sunday is the knowledge of race pace. With only one hour of practice, teams can only incorporate so much in their run plans, and the long run data is still a question mark. While tire degradation is supposed to be more than what it was in Canada, there are still question marks on how the race would pan out.
On Sunday, if rain does not make an appearance and we're left with a dry race, then tires could throw a wrench in the plans of the teams.