Ferrari must consolidate on Red Bull's home turf as F1 heads to Austria

By Sports Desk July 06, 2022

After recent issues with reliability putting a dent in their championship hopes, Ferrari were able to marginally recover at the British Grand Prix with Carlos Sainz's maiden Formula One race win.

It was a bittersweet Sunday for the Scuderia at Silverstone, however, with tactics scuppering a potential one-two finish with Charles Leclerc, who fell away to finish fourth on older hard tyres following a late safety car.

Ferrari capitalised to some extent, but were not able to take full advantage of Max Verstappen's damaged floor putting him out of contention for the race win.

Now heading into Red Bull's home race at the Austrian Grand Prix, the championship challengers simply must recover more ground if they are to mount a real threat in the standings.

Reigning world champion Verstappen has won the last two races and claimed the last two pole positions at Spielberg, however, making a repeat of Sunday's run to the chequered flag for Ferrari unlikely.

Red Bull have won three of the past four Austrian GPs, with Verstappen taking all three for the team.

The Red Bull Ring has been a happy hunting ground for the 24-year-old, reaching the podium six times, with two fastest laps as well as his four wins and two pole positions, with all being the most out of any circuit in his career.

A Ferrari win would prove an important historical moment for the team, though, as well as what it means in context of this season.

The Scuderia need only 23 points to be the first team in F1 to reach 9,000 points, while both they and Mercedes are one win away from equalling McLaren's record six wins in Austria.

Meanwhile, they are one clearout of the front row away from surpassing Mercedes for the most one-two qualifying finishes in F1, with both on 82.

Can Sainz push on after breaking through?

Carlos Sainz finally broke through at Silverstone, even declining team orders to collect the race win upon the resumption after the safety car.

Despite a tricky start to the season, Sainz has slowly developed confidence in the car, with six podiums this season

One more would see him surpass his total over the previous seven seasons in F1, and could be the first Spaniard since Fernando Alonso in 2010 to record back-to-back wins.

Austria does not follow 'El Plan'

Alonso's longevity and focus has been nothing short of extraordinary since returning to F1, but Austria has not been the most forthcoming of places for him.

Despite encouraging recent form, including a second place in qualifying in Canada and a fifth-place finish at Silverstone, the 40-year-old will be looking to change that.

The two-time world champion has appeared nine times at Spielberg, the circuit with his lowest aggregate of race wins, pole positions, fastest laps and podiums in his career.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

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

Constructors

1. Red Bull 328
2. Ferrari 265
3. Mercedes 204
4. McLaren 73
5. Alpine 67

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    DRIVERS TO WATCH

    Max Verstappen - Red Bull

    Verstappen has won the last two editions of this race, and the Dutchman is aiming to become only the second driver in F1 history to win three in a row at the Hungarian Grand Prix, after Lewis Hamilton between 2018 and 2020.

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    Is that a bad omen for Red Bull?

    Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes

    Hamilton celebrated his first victory since 2021 as he triumphed for Mercedes at Silverstone last time out.

     

    The Hungarian Grand Prix has always been one of his favourite races and no driver has won it more times (eight), had more pole positions (nine), reached more podiums (11) and scored more points (271) than Hamilton at the circuit.

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    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Drivers

    1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - 255
    2. Lando Norris (McLaren) - 171
    3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) - 150
    4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) - 146
    5. Oscar Piastri (McLaren) - 124

    Constructors

    1. Red Bull - 373
    2. Ferrari - 302
    3. McLaren - 295
    4. Mercedes - 221
    5. Aston Martin - 68

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    Hamilton can set more records at this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix. No driver has won more races (eight), more pole positions (nine), reached more podiums (11) and scored more points (271) at the Hungaroring than Hamilton in the history of Formula 1.

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