Sports Mole features Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, including predictions, track guides and qualifying results.

After an exciting race in Silverstone, Formula 1 goes to Red Bull Ring for Austrian Grand Prixwhich is the second of three sprint weekends on the 2022 calendar.

Max Verstappen will be looking for a positive response after an unforgettable British Grand Prix for the Dutchman Carlos Sainz heads into the weekend as a race winner after taking his first F1 win last Sunday.

Race preview

© Reuters

Formula 1 started the European part of the season in style: the British Grand Prix was a race for the ages.

The race was red-flagged for an hour after a serious incident at the first turn that led to Alfa Romeo with Zhou Guanyu roll over and jump into the guard rail.

Zhou was eventually freed from his car after he became trapped between the tires and a fence, and the Chinese driver was cleared to do so after visiting an on-site medical facility.

After the race resumed, the crowds in the stands were treated to a classic, culminating in Sainz taking his first win, and Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton took second and third place respectively.

While fans cheered a fine Grand Prix, Verstappen would quickly abandon his Sunday after the Dutchman hit a wreck that caused extensive damage and a subsequent loss of performance to his car, leaving the championship leader in seventh place.

Despite last weekend’s disappointing result, Verstappen has a sizeable 34-point lead going into the weekend and will be confident he can extend that gap having already won six races this season.

Sergio Perez is pictured on July 1, 2022© Reuters

Verstappen’s team-mate Perez also suffered damage to his car in the early stages of the race, but the Mexican driver struggled through the field before a late safety car gave him the chance to challenge for a place on the podium.

Like Red Bull, FerrariThe two drivers experienced different successes, with Sainz taking his first pole position and winning the race in the same weekend, while Charles Leclerc had to settle for fourth despite leading the race when the safety car was deployed.

Leclerc was confused by Ferrari’s strategy which allowed him to continue the race on the old hard tires while his team-mate switched to the new soft tyres.

With 43 points separating him from Verstappen in the championship standings, Leclerc will be keenly aware that he needs a positive result this weekend.

As for Mercedestheir new upgrades looked to have paid dividends after Hamilton set a good pace that left many home fans delighted to win the race, but a late safety car played its part in the seven-time champion finishing third.

Hamilton’s teammate George Russell will be looking to make the most of Mercedes’ upgrades this weekend after the British driver was involved in an incident on the first lap at Silverstone that stopped him from finishing in the top five at every race this season.

Track guide

Max Verstappen celebrates his victory at the Austrian Grand Prix on July 4, 2021© Reuters

Formula 1 swaps one of the longest tracks on the calendar for one of the shortest this weekend, but the nine turns of the Red Bull Ring usually make for some entertainment.

The first half of the track includes three long straights, with the cars having DRS advantage on two of the three straights this weekend.

Once the drivers reach turn four, they must navigate a twisty section of the track before heading into the final sector.

The cars will carry huge speed into turns nine and 10, but before they hit the line, they need to be careful about going off the track.

With the Grand Prix hosting the second of three sprint races this season, drivers also have the opportunity to make up or lose position on Saturday and gain points ahead of Sunday’s race.

Lewis Hamilton pictured on July 7, 2022© Reuters

Red Bull have performed well at their home Grand Prix of late, with Verstappen winning three of the last four races, and the Dutchman will have the chance to make it back-to-back wins at the Red Bull Ring after winning at the circuit last season.

Valtteri Bottas is the only other driver to win in Austria in the past five years, but with the Finnish driver no longer racing for Mercedes, Bottas’ victory this time around seems out of the question.

Hamilton has one win at the Austrian Grand Prix, but this weekend the Mercedes driver is more realistically looking for a podium than a race win.

As for Leclerc, he will be looking to improve on a poor record at the Red Bull Ring after finishing on the podium in just one of his five appearances at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Qualification results

Max Verstappen pictured on July 7, 2022© Reuters

Max Verstappen claimed his third pole position of the season ahead of Saturday’s sprint that will finally determine the grid for Sunday’s race.

Aston Martin endured another unsuccessful qualifying campaign, both of their drivers failing to make it into the second qualifying session for the third consecutive Grand Prix weekend.

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricardo also contested in McLarens, finishing 15th and 16th respectively, while Alexander Albon enjoyed a strong day to put his Williams in 11th place.

Early signs in qualifying were that Mercedes had enough speed to challenge for top spot, but Hamilton and Russell both ended Q3 in the barriers to end any hopes of a top-three start.

Meanwhile, Sergio Perez initially qualified fourth behind the two Ferraris, but the stewards removed his lap times in Q3 after they determined the Mexican driver had breached track limits on his final run in Q2, leaving Perez 13th m places for a sprint race.

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
4. George Russell (Mercedes)
5. Esteban Ocan (alpine)
6. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
7. Mick Schumacher (Haas)
8. Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
9. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
10. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
11. Alexander Albon (Williams)
12. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
13. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
14. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
15. Landa Norris (McLaren)
16. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
17. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
18. Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
19. Nikolai Latifi (Williams)
20. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)

The position of the riders

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 181
2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 147
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 138
4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 127
5. George Russell (Mercedes) – 111
6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 93
7. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 58
8. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) – 46
9. Esteban Ocan (Alpine) – 39
10. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 28
11. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 16
12. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) – 16
13. Sebastian Vettel – 15
14. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 15
15. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 11
16. Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) – 5
17. Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 4
18. Alexander Albon (Williams) – 3
19. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 3
20. Nico Hulkenberg (Aston Martin) – 0
21. Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 0

Position of designers

1. Red Bull – 328
2. Ferrari – 265
3. Mercedes – 204
4. McLaren – 73
5. Alpine – 67
6. Alfa Romeo – 51
7. Alpha Tauri – 27
8. Haas – 20
9. Aston Martin – 18
10. Williams – 3

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We say: Max Verstappen will win

Despite​​​​​​his struggles at Silverstone last weekend, Verstappen has been his usual self at the Red Bull Ring and we think the Dutchman will challenge his rivals for a fourth win at the Austrian Grand Prix.

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