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Why Red Bull’s latest F1 poster-boy must be swerved in Austria

| 16.06.2014

Mercedes’ 10-week lock at the top of the 2014 F1 podiums came to an abrupt end when Daniel Ricciardo took the Canadian Grand Prix, but the Red Bull prospect’s 14/1 price to repeat the effort in Austria points to the dominance expected from Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

The German giants bagged their seventh pole out of seven for the season via Rosberg, with Hamilton lining up alongside the 28-year-old on the front row, and the pair had the Montreal track to themselves after an early smash-up involving the two Marussia cars near the back.

During Lap 10, once the safety car had given way, Hamilton burst past world champion Sebastian Vettel and set off on a 19-circuit pursuit of Rosberg, who went oddly unpunished after gaining an advantage over his teammate when cutting corners at the dreaded ‘Wall of Champions’.

A sixth 1-2 Mercedes finish looked nailed-on with over half the race completed, but then disaster struck as the two fastest cars in the race suddenly started to crawl, with both Rosberg and Hamilton complaining of losing power around the 40-lap mark.

The Brit lasted another nine laps before succumbing to brake failure, while the German hung on to first place until the second-last, when Australia’s newest F1 hero took the lead down the back straight.

Ricciardo’s first F1 Grand Prix win came about in an inferior car due to a remarkable turn of events, which are extremely unlikely to be repeated at the Red Bull Ring.

Mercedes’ practically-unimpeachable record prior to Canada, plus their clearly-superior speed in North America, means Hamilton heads to Styria as the 4/6 favourite for his fifth Grand Prix victory of the campaign, with world championship leader Rosberg next up at 7/4.

Ricciardo and Vettel’s Red Bulls share third-favouritism at 14/1 and are both 1/1 to sneak onto the podium, although Jenson Button’s fine slalom into fourth place for McClaren in Montreal makes him an intriguing prospect at 16/1 for third-or-better in a race with little precedent to go on.

The Austrian Grand Prix was last run 11 years ago, when Michael Schumacher took the win, but Hamilton’s form so far this season – allied with his impressive showing pre-power failure last time out – makes him a worthy favourite to see of the dual-German challenge of Rosberg and Vettel.

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

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Alex Fortune