Austrian GP: Ferrari primed to pounce if Mercedes repeat mistakes

The Austrian Grand Prix provided one of the most exciting races of 2014, primarily because a team other than Mercedes were able to grab pole for the one and only time all season.

In fact, Williams’ Felipe Massa who went fastest in Q3 alongside teammate Valtteri Bottas, managed to lock out the front row, capitalising on Lewis Hamilton’s spin on the final lap of qualifying and Nico Rosberg’s tentativeness at a new track.

The Red Bull Ring is short, very fast and easy to make mistakes on as Hamilton found out to his peril 12 months ago, albeit Mercedes’ superior race speed still ensured he trailed eventual winner Rosberg into second on the podium.

Sadly for Williams, who had become the Silver Arrows’ nearest challengers during the second half of last season, the team’s progress has stalled badly so far this year and it’s now Ferrari who are best placed to pick up any pieces in Austria.

Although engine upgrades in Canada failed to translate into podiums for the red cars, problems for Sebastian Vettel masked the progress.

An electronics fault and a subsequent grid penalty consigned the German to 18th for the start in Montreal, though the fact he still managed to finish fifth shows his Ferrari was motoring in the race environment.

Meanwhile, teammate Kimi Raikkonen was a mere 0.3 secs off Rosberg and 0.6 from Hamilton in Q3.

Considering Vettel has consistently been around 0.3-0.4 seconds quicker than Raikkonen in qualifying this season, without his mechanical problems the four-time champion would theoretically have been involved in a battle for pole.

Therefore, there is more than a smidgen of interest in the 14/1 about Vettel repeating Massa’s heroics of a year ago, though the result could still rely on a mistake from Hamilton.

If not, then the 4/1 in the dual forecast market on Hamilton/Vettel for Sunday’s race may be more appealing.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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