FORMULA 1 MOTORSPORT NEWS

2015 Austrian Grand Prix

Will Lewis Hamilton win the 2015 Austrian Grand Prix?

The 30-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver from Hertfordshire claimed a lights to flag win in Montreal.After a presenting stint on Chris Evans’ TFI reboot last Friday and an appearance at the Minions premiere in London, Hamilton gets back behind the wheel this weekend in Austria.

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And the World Championship leader will be looking for another classy performance when the season continues with Round Eight, the Austrian Grand Prix, from Spielberg.

Hamilton said: “It was a great feeling to finally get back on top in Canada and add to the great memories I have there.

“Now, though, it’s time to move on and put things right at a circuit I had a tough introduction to last year – Austria.

“Although I struggled in qualifying, starting down in ninth, it was actually a great race fighting back through the field.

“I think I was about fourth or fifth by the end of the first lap and then just kept chipping away to claw my way back to the podium, which was really good fun.”

Hamilton added: “Of course, I’ll be working hard to have a clearer shot at the win on Sunday.

“Whatever happens, though, you can be sure the atmosphere will be incredible.

“Last year the grandstands were absolutely packed and the fans were just insane, so I’m looking forward to putting on a show for them.”

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

His Silver Arrows colleague Nico Rosberg finished second in Canada but took the chequered flag in Austria last year ahead of Hamilton.

The German driver conceded his poor qualifying performance last time out cost him dearly.

Did you know?

Jochen Rindt was F1’s first German-born world champion.

He was born in Mainz, Germany, but was raised in Graz after his parents were killed in a World War Two bombing raid.

He took Austrian nationality and became the sport’s only posthumous world champion in 1970 when he was killed at the Italian Grand Prix.

Ahead of the 2015 Austrian race, Rosberg said: “Canada was really lost for me on the Saturday.

“Not getting everything together in qualifying hurt my chances big time – but I had the pace and that’s a big positive to take forward and go maximum attack in Austria.”

“My first race at this track last year couldn’t have been much better.

“Of course, we didn’t have the ideal start in qualifying, but we nailed it on Sunday and it was great to get the win.

He said: “Coming away with another top result in Canada, it would be easy to sit back and think we’ve got everything under control.

“But in reality, this is never the case. Not only did that race require a careful balancing act from the pit wall and from the drivers, but we also saw that there is more to come from our competitors – even if maybe it wasn’t clear from the result.

“There must be more to come from ourselves if we are to continue this good form.

“Austria will provide a tough test. We had a challenging weekend there last year and fully expect another close competition this time around. The battle is far from over.”

 This is the third consecutive race at which this tyre combination has been used, and the tyre warm-up issues that dominated in Monaco and Montreal should be eased in Spielberg by a slightly more abrasive asphalt.

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes’ technical executive director, outlined the challenges the Spielberg track presents.

He said: “Spielberg is a great circuit – fast and flowing with relatively few corners but some spectacular elevation changes.

“Last year was, of course, the first Austrian Grand Prix for many years and the crowds were fantastic, creating a really good atmosphere.

“On track, however, we didn’t have our best performance of the season there last time out, despite coming away with a one-two finish.

“It was a difficult result to achieve – requiring some tight strategy calls to beat the Williams cars.

“Like Montreal, it’s a circuit where the Power Unit will come to the fore.”

Tyres will also be an issue. Lowe added: “Pirelli have also nominated the soft and supersoft compounds for the third consecutive race which, combined with a very smooth track surface, will create some challenges.

“After two quite unique circuits in Monaco and Canada, it will be interesting to see how the field stands at a more ‘normal’ venue.”

McLaren-Honda will be looking for a better performance in Austria than Canada, where they had two DNFs.

Fernando Alonso said: “The Austrian Grand Prix was a great event last year and I’m looking forward to the race this weekend.

“It’s a stop-start circuit so it’ll be an interesting challenge, but we’ll keep pushing to make sure we get the most we can out of the weekend.”

Fellow former F1 world champion Jenson Button said: “Despite its relatively simple layout, Spielberg is a fun circuit that usually produces great racing.

“There was a big crowd and a great atmosphere in 2014, and I hope we can put on another good show for the fans this year.”

McLaren is the most successful F1 constructor at the Austrian Grand Prix, having won the race six times – most recently in 2001, with David Coulthard behind the wheel.

Simply finishing in the points will be the goal this year for Hamilton’s old team.