Formula One: Valtteri Bottas sets his sights on historic Austrian double
Circuit is hosting back-to-back races for the first time due to coronavirus pandemic
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas r during the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix race on July 5th. Photograph: Darko Bandic/AFP
The first Styrian Grand Prix, named after the southern Austrian state that surrounds Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring, is a new name for a familiar race.
For the first time a circuit is hosting back-to-back races – a situation resulting from the coronavirus pandemic – and Bottas, winner of last Sunday’s Austrian opener from pole position, has a good chance of doing the double.
The race will again be without spectators but those expecting race two to be the same as race one in all other respects are likely to be disappointed.
“The reality is that we were fortunate to finish the race,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said of the electrical problems experienced last Sunday.
“Reliability caused us real concern and it is something we are working on as our highest priority.
“In a shorter season with a yet to be determined number of races, every point counts, so we need to improve quickly on that front.”
Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, Bottas’s team-mate, was hampered by both a three-place grid drop and time penalty last Sunday and that particular lightning is unlikely to strike twice.
“Whatever we found wasn’t perfect last weekend we can improve this week,” said Verstappen.
“It looks like it could rain this week and I?m not sure anybody knows how competitive they are in the wet with these new cars so that could be interesting.”
“One thing I’ve learned about race cars in 20 years or something of doing this, whether its go-karts or F1, is a track can change from one day to the next,” said Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, who failed to finish last Sunday.
“A car can feel great one day and not great the next. Things can change . . . I’m not promising a completely different scenario but I wouldn’t also promise the same. I wouldn’t bet exactly on a copy-paste,” added the Australian.