The 2021 Austrian Grand Prix is the 9th round of the 2021 Formula One World Championship. It will be held at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria on July 4th.
It was first held in 1963 and since then, there have been 39 installments of the race. Jo Siffert and Alain Prost are the winningest drivers in this race, having won it three times during their F1 careers. Among current drivers, Red Bulls’ Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas have the most wins with two each. Verstappen won in 2018 and 2019 while Bottas was victorious in 2017 and 2020.
When it comes to Constructors, Ferrari and McLaren have the most wins with six each. Mercedes has won the Austrian Grand Prix five times while Red Bull has been victorious in its home race twice.
Bottas Won Last Year’s Race
Last year, Bottas won from pole position while Lando Norris drove the fastest lap. Ferrari’s Charles LeClerc finished in second place while Norris took third to complete the 2020 podium.
This year, Bottas and Norris are among the favorites to win the race again. But just as the talk has been since the start of the season, it’s Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton who are favored to go head-to-head again. Hamilton had the advantage in the first round races but Verstappen has gotten the better of Hamilton in the last two Grand Prix and he has taken the lead over the Mercedes star in the driver standings:
Current Driver’s and Constructor’s Championship Standings
|1. Max Verstappen||156||1. Red Bull Racing||252|
|2. Lewis Hamilton||138||2. Mercedes||212|
|3. Sergio Perez||96||3. McLaren||120|
|4. Lando Norris||86||4. Ferrari||108|
|5. Valtteri Bottas||74||5. AlphaTauri||46|
|6. Charles Leclerc||58||6. Aston Martin||44|
This was supposed to be the year when Lewis Hamilton separates himself from the legendary Michael Schumacher with his 8th F1 title. But what was expected to be a neck-to-neck battle with Verstappen has turned into the latter’s breakout party. With Red Bull continuing to make upgrades to their car, Verstappen has been able to take advantage and beat Hamilton in three out of the last four races.
Last week, Hamilton spoke about the need to match Red Bull’s upgrades but it remains to be seen how Mercedes responds. How the Silver Arrows adjust could be the key to winning this race and perhaps the 2021 driver and constructor titles.
Who are the Favorites?
But while Verstappen and Hamilton are the main protagonists of this race let’s take a look at the Top 5 names in the current BetOnline odds board as of 07/02/2021:
Max Verstappen -205
Max Verstappen is the current leader in the driver standings. The 23-year old Red Bull ace won his fourth race of the season last weekend at the Styrian Grand Prix. The victory was his second straight and third in the last four races of the year. He won this race in 2018 and 2019 but retired from the race last year. With Verstappen taking pole and winning by over 30 seconds last weekend at this same race track, there’s no question why he is the man to beat on Sunday.
Lewis Hamilton +165
Lewis Hamilton is the 7-time F1 world champion who has won the driver’s title in each of the last four seasons. The 36-year old Hamilton was off to a flying start, winning three out of the first four races of the season and finishing 2nd in the one he didn’t win. However, he’s finished second behind Verstappen in each of the last two races. Hamilton’s last win at Spielberg was during last year’s first Styrian Open. His last win at the Austrian Grand Prix came in 2016 and he’s not been on the podium ever since.
Sergio Perez +105
Perez is the only driver not surnamed Verstappen or Hamilton to win a race this year. Checo won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix three races ago. He has finished outside the Top 5 just once in 8 total races this season and was 4th last week at the Styrian Grand Prix. He has 7 Top 10 finishes at the Red Bull Ring and is coming off his best race ever at Spielberg.
Valtteri Bottas -135
Bottas was last year’s winner at the Austrian Grand Prix and the runner-up in the F1 world championship the last two seasons. The 31-year old Finn is currently just 5th in the driver standings but has four podium finishes in eight races completed. Bottas finished third in last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix and he has won the Austrian Grand Prix twice ( 2017, 2020) while starting from pole three times. He has a podium finish in six out of his total nine career races at Spielberg and has not finished outside the Top 3 in his last four starts here.
Lando Norris -285
While the story of the 2021 season is Red Bull vs Mercedes, McLaren is having a solid year behind Lando Norris, currently ranking third in the constructor standings. Norris meanwhile is also having a solid year and is 4th in the latest driver standings behind Verstappen, Hamilton, and Perez. The 21-year old has finished P5 in each of the last five races overall and he also has three Top 5 finishes in four starts at the Red Bull Ring where his average finish of 4.1 ranks only second behind Hamilton among current drivers.
If you ask the oddsmakers, this is a two-man race between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. However, it would be foolish to count out Valterri Bottas who won the race last year. Sure, Bottas is just 5th in the current driver standings but he has four Top 3 finishes in eight races started this season. In his last four races at the Red Bull Ring, Bottas has not finished lower than 3rd.
However, it’s likely going to be Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen has won the last two races of the season and three out of the last four. He has overtaken Lewis Hamilton for the lead in the driver standings and is looking to extend his lead further after last week’s dominant Styrian Grand Prix which was also held at the Red Bull Ring. In eight races at Spielberg, Verstappen has six top 10 finishes, including five in the Top 5 with three wins.
Hamilton meanwhile, finished second last week at the Styrian Grand Prix. The seven-time world champion has found himself fighting for dear life with Verstappen not only giving him a good challenge this season but already overtaking him for the lead in the standings. Hamilton won the Austrian Grand Prix in 2016 but has not finished higher than 4th in his last four starts in this race.
Unless Mercedes decides to make changes to their car, I’m not picking Hamilton. Hamilton himself said after the Styrian Grand Prix that they need upgrades. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also said after that race it was the first time in the turbo era where he felt they lacked the pace to beat Red Bull. So yeah, I’m going with Max Verstappen to win the race.
Prediction: Max Verstappen to win the race at -205.
Best Bets to Make
While the spotlight has been on Verstappen, Hamilton, Bottas, and Perez in a Red Bull vs Mercedes showdown, one driver who has been silently impressive this season is Lando Norris of McLaren. The 21-year old from the U.K. is coming off a 5th place finish at last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, which as we said earlier was also held at the Red Bull Ring.
Norris has been a model of consistency this season with seven Top 5 finishes in the eight completed races. Although he’s made the podium just twice this season, he’s finished at P5 in each of the last three races. Norris has also finished 6th or better in his four career appearances in Spielberg. Given his consistency at the Red Bull Ring and his early success this season, I think that Lando Norris is ripe for a Top 3 finish this weekend.
Prediction: Podium finish for Lando Norris at -285
I detailed how Valtteri Bottas has fared in the Red Bull Ring and that he won this race last year. Here’s one more: In 9 starts at Spielberg, Bottas’ average starting position is 3.3 and his average finish of 5.1 ranks third behind Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris. You might want as well to bet on the Fin to finish on the podium on Sunday.
Prediction: Podium finish for Valtteri Bottas at -135