F1 Austrian GP: Vettel out to make amends at happy hunting ground for Mercedes
Sebastian Vettel will be eager to make amends for a first-lap collision in the French Grand Prix by ending Mercedes' dominance at the Red Bull Ring this weekend.
Vettel was given a five-second penalty after crashing with Valtteri Bottas going into Turn 1 at Circuit Paul Ricard.
The Ferrari driver finished fifth as title rival Lewis Hamilton eased to a victory that put the defending champion back at the top of the driver standings with a 14-point advantage.
Mercedes have won all four races since the Austrian Grand Prix returned to Spielberg, with Silver Arrows drivers never starting lower than third during that time.
Toto Wolff, the Mercedes boss, is expecting more twists and turns in the Formula One season after watching Hamilton return to the top step of the podium with a commanding drive in a car fitted with an upgraded power unit.
"I believe that all three power units are pretty close together, between Renault, Ferrari and ourselves at the moment. It's about finding gains without compromising reliability. That's the trick. That fight is going to continue until the end of the season." said Wolff.
"I think what you saw in Montreal in comparison to Le Castellet is that marginal gains matter. We fell back in Montreal because we couldn't bring the new power unit, and we were racing power unit number one for the seventh consecutive race, and the others introduced their upgrade. This certainly didn't help.
"We also constantly are learning on how to set the car up in the right way in combination with the tyres, and of course we also brought some upgrades to the car which was good to see coming together. And all these gains in their respective areas added to a solid step that we could materialise on each of the three days at Le Castellet."
#Seb5 explains Spielberg. #AustrianGP #ForzaFerrari pic.twitter.com/dBRr8ult9V
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) June 26, 2018
TALK OF THE PADDOCK
There may be friction in the paddock this week after Max Verstappen called on journalists to give Vettel the same sort of probing he has faced following some costly mistakes earlier in the season.
Vettel admitted to being at fault, but Verstappen said he should still be in the firing line when he faces the media.
"I think next time you see Seb, maybe you should tell him to change his style, because honestly it's not acceptable." said the Dutchman.
"That's what they said to me in the beginning of the season so I think they should do the same [to him]."
Hamilton and Niki Lauda are among those to have stated that Vettel got off lightly for an incident that put paid to Bottas' hopes of finishing on the podium.
It is reported that Hamilton could be set to sign a new lucrative contract before the British Grand Prix, while speculation over Daniel Ricciardo's future continues after Eric Boullier confirmed McLaren's interest in the Red Bull driver.
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 145
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 131 (-14)
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 96 (-49)
4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 92 (-53)
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 83 (-62)
1. Mercedes 237
2. Ferrari 214 (-23)
3. Red Bull 164 (-73)
4. Renault 62 (-173)
5. McLaren 40 (-197)
RACEWEEK SCHEDULE (all times local)
Max Verstappen has not lost a place on the first lap of the last seven races, equalling his best run.
2017: Valtteri Bottas
2016: Lewis Hamilton
2015: Nico Rosberg