The race is over.
First place: Max Verstappen.
If there are any complaints that the current Formula 1 season is getting all too predictable, then the Austrian Grand Prix may well prove the perfect antidote.
Lewis Hamilton secured his 79th career win in France to widen the gap of the top of the Championship standings.
Hamilton won every single lap at Paul Ricard as Mercedes earned their 50th 1-2 finish in F1, courtesy of Valtteri Bottas holding off Charles Leclerc as runner-up. Elsewhere, Max Verstappen kept out Sebastian Vettel to finish fourth.
While it was another fruitful weekend for Mercedes last time out, they need not look back all that far for a warning of the surprises Austria can conjure up. In the 2018 GP, for example, the podium welcomed Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen, and Vettel.
Both Hamilton and Bottas did not finish on that occasion having started well and looking as though they had victory in their grasp. That ought to prove a cautionary tale to all involved on Sunday.
Incidentally, Raikkonnen holds the record for the fastest lap at the circuit, which he set last year with a time of 1:06:957.
Ferrari will need to get off to a flyer and the early stages of each lap could well determine how the rest of the race pans out.
The Red Bull Ring can roughly be separated into two halves, the first suiting the more powerful engines – which could favour Ferrari – and the latter proving a greater test of the individual drivers’ handiwork.
It’s expected to be another weekend of scorching conditions, the mountainous Styrian region of Austria anticipating temperatures upwards of 30°C. The weather has proved no obstacle to Hamilton so far.
Those with a penchant for backing the outsider will turn their eyes to McLaren’s Lando Norris after his recent close heroics, although he was eventually unable to hold off Daniel Ricciardo and Raikkonen.
As we head into the second third of the season, the standings are as follows:
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Hamilton to win the 2019 drivers’ championship by 100+ points
The Brit is walking away with the title and that’s reflected with the majority of sportsbooks, who are no longer discussing whether he’ll win the Championship, but by what distance.
Leclerc to win
The 21-year-old finished third in France and has it in him to go two better.
Vettel to win
As for teammate Vettel, his odds are getting increasingly long, which is hardly surprising given the way the season has panned out for him so far. He has failed to come in the top two on six of the eight races so far, but has the experience to do better.
John Abrams is a passionate sports fanatic who follows NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB and Formula 1. A former sports trader, John has an unquestioned thirst for sports knowledge and often fills his time playing fantasy or placing wagers online.
All Predictions by John Abrams