Hamil­ton set for record 17th GP win

CityPress - - Sport - MICHELLE FOSTER sports@city­press.co.za DRIV­ERS Fer­rari GER MC MC PTS

The Aus­trian Grand Prix (GP) cir­cuit may bear Red Bull’s name, but it is be­tween the Mercedes driv­ers – and per­haps Fer­rari – as to who will own the power-hun­gry cir­cuit to­day.

At the re­cent Cana­dian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamil­ton bounced back to put an end to Nico Ros­berg’s brief win­ning streak, cut­ting it short be­fore it gained mo­men­tum. Ros­berg’s race wins in Spain and Monaco re­duced the deficit in the cham­pi­onship bat­tle, but it is now back up to 17 points and, if Mon­treal is any­thing to go by, Hamil­ton is in epic form.

He crushed the op­po­si­tion, namely Ros­berg, last time out to take pole po­si­tion and the vic­tory, thereby ex­tend­ing his run to 16 suc­ces­sive Grands Prix that he has led. A 17th would equal Jackie Stewart’s record set from 1968 to 1971.

And ev­ery­thing about the Red Bull Ring says Hamil­ton can do it, as the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the track not only suit the W06 but also the racer in the world cham­pion, who, even to those out­side the car, al­ways had Ros­berg’s mea­sure in Mon­treal.

An un­usual track with its nine corners – seven righthanders and two to the left – it is the long straights in Aus­tria that dic­tate the state of play.

A low down­force and pow­er­hun­gry track – driv­ers are full throt­tle for 70% of the lap – firmly plays into Mercedes’ hands.

Fer­rari, though, could yet pull a sur­prise.

Fol­low­ing the last race, there were sev­eral ques­tions raised about the Scud­e­ria’s form.

While team boss Mau­r­izio Ar­riv­abene said they did not reach their full po­ten­tial due to “cir­cum­stances”, Hamil­ton felt fans

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CON­STRUC­TORS

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Lewis Hamil­ton

Nico Ros5erg

Se5as­tian Vet­tel

Kimi Rfi­ikkö­nen

Valt­teri Bot­tas

Felipe Massa

Daniel Ric­cia­reo

Daniil Kvyat

Ro­main Gros­jean

Felipe Nasr

Mercedes

Wil­liams-Merceees

Ree Bwll-Re­nawlt

Lotws-Merceees

Saw5er-Fer­rari

Force Ineia-Merceees

Toro Rosso-Re­nawlt

McLaren-Honea

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FIN

FIN

BRA

AUS

RUS

FRA

BRA

Manor Mar­ws­sia-Fer­rari

FR

FR

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RB

RB

LT

SB

MC

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FI

TR

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PHOTOS: JACO MARAIS / CHRIS­TI­AAN KOTZE

FLAG BEAR­ERS Top to bot­tom: Sunette Viljoen, Anaso Jo­bod­wana and Khotso Mokoena

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