2018 Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix preview

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Red Bull Ring, home of the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix

Red Bull Ring, home of the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix

Round nine of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship takes us this weekend to the city of Spielberg, where the Red Bull Ring, home of the Austrian Grand Prix, is located.

At a short 2.688 miles in length, it takes just 68 seconds to complete a lap of the Red Bull Ring, which is made up of only nine corners—the fewest of any circuit on the calendar. There are four long straights, each one preceded by a slow corner, and that places the engineering emphasis on traction and straight-line speed.

The surface is low grip and low abrasion, with the track getting progressively quicker as the weekend goes on. Even though the asphalt is relatively new, the track is quite bumpy in places, which makes it difficult to find consistent grip. Pirelli has nominated its soft, supersoft and ultrasoft compounds for the race, the same as the previous round in France.

One other issue to look out for during the Austrian race is the weather. Given the high altitude of the Red Bull Ring (approximately 2,100 feet), temperatures can be a bit cool. The mountain location can also make weather a bit unpredictable. The current forecast is for partly cloudy skies throughout the weekend.

During an early practice session on Friday, Mercedes-AMG's Lewis Hamilton proved fastest, with his teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen close behind.

Going into Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race, Hamilton leads the 2018 Drivers' Championship with his total of 145 points. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel is second with 131 points and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo is third with 96 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes leads with 237 points followed by Ferrari with 214 points and Red Bull with 164 points. Last year's winner in Austria was Bottas, driving for Mercedes.

 
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