Lewis Hamilton on alert as surprise threat emerges for Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Scott
Lewis Hamilton thoughts on Austrian Grand Prix. June 2023

Lewis Hamilton has identified Ferrari as a surprise contender for the Austrian Grand Prix victory this week, an outcome that would end Red Bull’s win streak at their home race.

Heading into round nine on the F1 2023 calendar, Red Bull are a perfect eight wins from eight races so far this year with Max Verstappen winning six and team-mate Sergio Perez collecting victories at the other two.

梅塞德斯将在正确的方向上迈出的一步with their W14 upgrades, many may tip them to be the ones most capable of ending Red Bull’s winning run, but Hamilton has turned the focus onto someone else: Ferrari.

Austrian Grand Prix: Can Ferrari challenge?

Last time out at the Canadian Grand Prix, Red Bull, Aston Martin and Mercedes all finished ahead of Ferrari but, having to recover from lowly grid positions, both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz made progress up the order thanks to some well-executed strategies and eventually came home P4 and P5 respectively.

In the post-race scrum, Hamilton did suggest that his latest podium result could have been a little flattering because if dry weather had initially been in place for qualifying, Ferrari would have been more of a threat.

“It’s good just to be consistent to be out there fighting for a podium now, relatively consistently,” Hamilton told Sky F1. “That’s fantastic for us.

“I think ultimately, it was a difficult weekend for some other people. Obviously, the Ferraris were quick, I think if they qualified where they should on a dry day, for example, they would have been a bit quicker than us and would have been harder to overtake them in the race. But that wasn’t the case.

“我们总的来说,我认为,做了一个更好的工作han everyone else. So I’m happy with that and we just need to work on the rear performance of the car, particularly at the rear.

“That’s the biggest weakness particularly with low speed, I just couldn’t keep up with these guys.”

If the wet weather can stay away from the Styrian hills for both the sprint and the race proper on Sunday, perhaps it will be Ferrari that emerge as Red Bull’s biggest challengers.

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Red Bull also wary of Ferrari threat at Austrian Grand Prix

It’s not only Hamilton that has name-checked Ferrari in the build-up to the Austrian Grand Prix, as runaway leaders Red Bull themselves have also got their eyes on Scuderia red.

Red Bull’s motorsport advisor and native Austrian, Helmut Marko, believes Ferrari could win the race from as low down as P4 on the starting grid.

When he was asked if another Red Bull victory was on the cards at their home circuit next time out, Marko toldoe24: “Let’s see. What got lost a bit in Montreal: Ferrari had the fastest car.

“The Red Bull Ring suits them. If Leclerc starts from row one or two, it won’t be a big Oktoberfest for Max.”

However, there is support for someone other than Ferrari this weekend, namely Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin who enjoyed a wonderful surge up the F1 pecking order this season.

“In Montreal you have already seen that the field has moved closer together and it has become a bit tighter,” Schumacher wrote in a column for Sky Deutschland.

“Aston Martin and Mercedes have narrowed the gap and Red Bull will suffer a bit from not being able to fully use the wind tunnel phase because of the penalty from last year.

“I was particularly impressed with owner Lawrence Stroll’s team. They brought an update that worked straight away.

“I’m sure we can expect a lot more from the green cars. I even see Aston Martin a notch ahead of Mercedes at the moment with the update and believe that Fernando Alonso will be Verstappen’s toughest rival at the next race at the Red Bull Ring.”