It was a thriller in France last weekend. Can Max Verstappen hold onto the championship lead? Anything can happen at the Red Bull Ring!
- shares

It's the 2021 Styrian Grand Prix this weekend, the first of two back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. Max Verstappen heads into this round with a 12-point lead over Lewis Hamilton after a thrilling victory at last weekend's French Grand Prix. It sets the stage for surely another spectacle.

Last time out at both Formula One Austrian rounds it was Mercedes that took home the trophies, with Lewis winning one and Valtteri the other. But, fast forward to 2021 and Max is looking stronger than ever. Anything can happen at the Ring.

In F1 news there's been a lot of praise for Daniel Ricciardo's efforts after last week, and so there should be. He's now coming to grips with his new car at his new home, McLaren.

Contract talks continue between Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes-AMG, but there's still no further news from the team on their call on that second seat for 2022. Also, maximum capacity crowds will be welcomed back to Silverstone, on 18 July.

There's still no word from the Australian Grand Prix Corporation on the Australian F1 Grand Prix, which is set to go ahead in Melbourne in November. Stay tuned.

Rain is forecast in Austria for Friday with showers expected in the morning on Saturday, but no threat to qualifying later that day or the race on Sunday.


The track

The first Grand Prix was held at the Red Bull Ring in 1970 for 18 consecutive years, followed by a break, with Grands Prix starting up again from 1997 to 2003. F1 outgrew the circuit, and once it was updated the racing resumed in 2011. The track's length is 4.318km. The race on Sunday will cover 306.45km over 71 laps.

Lap record: 1:05.619, Carlos Sainz (2020)


TV schedule

SessionDateTime (AEST)Channel
Free Practice 1Friday 25th June19:00Fox Sports 506 / Kayo
Free Practice 2Friday 25th June23:00Fox Sports 506 / Kayo
Free Practice 3Saturday 26th June20:00Fox Sports 506 / Kayo
QualifyingSaturday 26th June23:00Fox Sports 506 / Kayo
RaceSunday 27th June23:10Fox Sports 506 / Kayo

2021 teams and drivers

TeamDrivers
Alfa RomeoKimi Räikkönen & Antonio Giovinazzi
Alpine (previously Renault)Fernando Alonso & Esteban Ocon
AlphaTauriPierre Gasly & Yuki Tsunoda
Aston Martin (previously Racing Point)Sebastian Vettel & Lance Stroll
FerrariCharles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz
HaasMick Schumacher & Nikita Mazepin
McLarenDaniel Ricciardo & Lando Norris
Mercedes-AMGLewis Hamilton & Valtteri Bottas
Red BullMax Verstappen & Sergio Perez
WilliamsGeorge Russell & Nicholas Latifi

Fast facts

Niki Lauda is the only Austrian driver to have won his home race. This was in 1984, the year he took his third and final World Championship.

Alain Prost is the most successful driver in Austria with three wins. Since F1 returned to the country in 2014, Nico Rosberg, Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton have all won at the Red Bull Ring twice (given 2020 saw two races held at the circuit).

The 1976 Austrian Grand Prix was the last F1 race completed by a female driver. The race was Lella Lombardi's final race appearance.

The Red Bull Ring is the fourth-shortest track on the schedule, after Monaco, Mexico's Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez and Brazil's Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos.


Our predictions

It's too close to call heading into this round, which is a great thing to be able to report. We all know who the main contenders are with the battle well and truly on between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis has had success here in the past, but so has Max. In fact, they're at a tie when it comes to wins. This is also Red Bull's home track, surely giving Max extra ammunition.

Bottas will have plenty of fire in him after his team's disastrous strategy calls last time out, while Ferrari will be looking to bounce back and regain points after tyre issues hindered their French Grand Prix.

Lando Norris remains strong this season and has had a podium at the Ring before – so look out for him. Here's hoping Daniel's confidence will continue into the weekend.

There's only five points between AlphaTauri and Aston Martin in the constructors' standings so look out for that battle in the mid-pack.

Who will come out on top? Let us know your predictions for the weekend.