With the hills of Austria set to come alive to the tune of 22 Formula One cars this weekend, reigning champion Lewis Hamilton knows he must beat team-mate Nico Rosberg, or else see his title hopes suffer another huge dent.
After wins in Monaco and Canada saw the Brit close the gap on his Mercedes team-mate to just nine points, a dismal weekend in Azerbaijan put Rosberg back on the front foot.
Hamilton could only finish seventh after crashing in qualifying, as his German rival stormed to an untroubled victory.
Rosberg now has five wins this term to Hamilton’s two, and with a 24 point gap to make up, Lewis can’t afford to be beaten again.
Problem-free weekends have been few and far between for Hamilton this term, varying from technical woes, to slow starts and wiping out his team-mate. In Austria this weekend, the Brit must bring it all together.
But with rain on the way, and Ferrari and Red Bull proving a match at varying points in the season, Hamilton will need to bring his A-game.
Sebastian Vettel could – and should – have won twice this term, with tactical calls backfiring in Australia and Canada. The four-time champion is 7/1 to take his first victory of the campaign on Sunday.
Like his former team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo could and should have won twice as well, with pit-stop errors causing the Aussie to miss out on victory in Spain and Monaco through no fault of his own.
The three-time race winner is arguably driving better than ever, and it’s 14/1 Ricciardo brings his Red Bull team victory on the team’s home soil.
After claiming a stunning win first time out for his new squad in Spain, teenage superstar Max Verstappen has been firmly put in the shade by Ricciardo at Red Bull, but the fearless Dutchman is 16/1 for a second victory of the year.
With the short nature of the Red Bull Ring circuit – just 2.6miles – plus the rapid improvements in the speed of this year’s cars, we could be on for some very quick laptimes.
Pole position could quite possibly come in at around 66 seconds, so we can expect an incredibly close qualifying hour on Saturday.
That lends itself to backing the 7/4 on the winning qualifying margin between 0.001-0.150 seconds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.