MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: Austrian GP

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Formula 1 ventures to Austria this weekend for a race that has quickly established itself as a firm favorite on the calendar.

F1 returned to Austria in 2014 after 11 years away after significant investment from Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz saw the A1-Ring – now called the Red Bull Ring – become a state-of-the-art facility.

Nico Rosberg arrives in Austria hopeful of extending his lead at the top of the F1 drivers’ championship, having opened the gap to Lewis Hamilton up to 24 points with victory last time out in Baku.

As ever, the MST F1 writing team has made its picks for the weekend. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race Winner: Nico Rosberg. Rosberg’s got his mojo back after winning in Baku lat time out. The German is a two-time winner at the Red Bull Ring, and with teammate Lewis Hamilton tending to struggle around the sub-70 second lap, I’m backing Nico to pick up his fifth win of the season on Sunday.

Surprise Finish: Valtteri Bottas. Williams always tends to run quite well in Austria. Let’s see if Bottas can bounce back from Baku and get back on the podium.

Most to Prove: Haas. Three races without points – the rut desperately needs to end sooner rather than later.

Additional Storyline: Track changes. The layout of the Red Bull Ring remains the same (for now… rumor has it the classic, bigger course could be revived in the future), but this year sees the race take place on a resurfaced track with the addition of some new kerbs. Lap times will be much quicker than they were last year, which should make for an exciting event.

Predict the Podium

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

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race Winner: Nico Rosberg. Always a happy hunting ground for Rosberg who’s won both races since F1’s return two years ago, he’ll carry the momentum off his Baku win to a track where Lewis Hamilton traditionally has had at least one or two “moments.”

Surprise Finish: Felipe Massa. At a track where he’s thrived in the last two years and where he was on the podium last year, has his best shot at a podium in 2016 here this weekend. This is a track that should suit the Williams Mercedes package well. He also needs to get on form as Valtteri Bottas has had the better of him of late.

Most to Prove: Nico Hulkenberg. It’s time to see the generally high rated German pull off a performance capable of his talent because he’s been getting waxed by Sergio Perez lately. The Force India is a decent package and Perez has been extracting more out of it than has Hulkenberg.

Additional Storyline: Ultrasofts on a road course. After park-like or street circuit appearances, Pirelli’s ultrasoft tires get a go at the Red Bull Ring this weekend. They’ve lasted longer than you would have figured at first go, so it will be interesting to see if their life span remains as long here.

Predict the Podium

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