MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: Austrian GP

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The hills will be alive with the sound of horsepower this weekend as the Formula 1 paddock ventures to Spielberg for the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull Ring played host to the race for the first time in 11 years in 2014, putting on an exciting and entertaining event as Williams very nearly upstaged Mercedes, whilst Red Bull faded on home soil.

This year is likely to see a renewed fight at the front between title rivals and Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, but can anyone else get in the mix at the front?

Once again, the MST writers have their say ahead of what should be an intriguing Austrian Grand Prix.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race WinnerLewis Hamilton. Keen to make up for the disappointment of losing in Austria last year and on a high after his victory in Canada two weeks ago, I’m tipping Lewis Hamilton to clinch his fifth victory of the season on Sunday.

Surprising FinishValtteri Bottas. Williams may not be able to repeat its pole position theft of 2014 this time around, but you can still expect the British team to run well at the Red Bull Ring. Bottas is in good form after scoring his first podium of the year in Canada, and a second could follow in Austria.

Most to ProveRed Bull. Its first ever home grand prix in 2014 was nothing short of a disaster. Red Bull really cannot afford to have another embarrassment at the circuit which bears its name, particularly with many of its rivals snapping at its heels.

Additional Storyline to WatchThe Hulk returns. Fresh off the back of his Le Mans win, Nico Hulkenberg is likely to be a man in demand this weekend. It will be interesting to see what the reaction to his victory in the paddock is, and just how he gets on when he returns to the ‘day job’ with Force India.

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Valtteri Bottas Williams

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race Winner: Nico Rosberg. More than Hamilton here, I like Rosberg’s chances at a race he won last year. Qualifying will be crucial.

Surprising Finish: Nico Hulkenberg. Why not, right? While Hulk’s F1 chariot isn’t the caliber of his Le Mans winner, he’s coming off a great two-week stretch of points in Montreal and of course his Le Mans victory. Seventh or eighth would be another good, achievable result here even though the car is not the fourth best in the field.

Most to Prove: McLaren. With their persistent reliability issues of late, simply getting both cars home to the finish must be the goal.

Additional Storyline to Watch: Red Bull on home soil. After challenging Montreal, Red Bull heads into its home race in rare territory: with almost no expectations. How well will another poor performance sit at the track that bears its name?

Predict the Podium

1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
3. Felipe Massa Williams

The Austrian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.