Spielberg (dpa) – After a waiting period of 217 days, the best starting positions are re-hunted in Formula 1.
With the late restart of the racing series in Austria on Saturday (3:00 PM), title holder Lewis Hamilton Favorit is back in pole position. The Mercedes driver was the fastest during both practices in Spielberg on Friday and his Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas confirmed the Silver Arrows’ top form in second place. “It is great that we have redesigned the car compared to last year,” said Hamilton.
This is not good news for the competition. Those who had hoped for a new balance of power at the top because of the corona cuts and the long race stoppages since the season finale in Abu Dhabi in 2019 will be quite disappointed after the first impressions. “It was great to be back in the car, it lasted long enough,” said Hamilton, who was able to set Michael Schumacher’s record of seven World Championship titles this year.
For his supposedly strongest challenger, Max Verstappen, his Red Bull team’s home game started with a damper. A broken front wing slowed him down to the fastest time. It was initially unclear how big the 22-year-old’s chances were to win for the third consecutive time in Styria.
Ferrari has little hope. The car will only be overhauled until the third race of the season in Hungary after the team has discovered basic design flaws. Sebastian Vettel should expect further frustration at the start of his farewell tour at Scuderia. Five unsuccessful attempts to win a title in the red are already behind him, at the end of the year the Hesse has to leave the racing team.
Until then, Formula 1 will likely perform some strange spectacles in Austria. Spectators are not allowed in, all Red Bull Ring participants must wear a mask. In addition, corona tests are regularly prescribed, a strict hygiene concept is the basis for emergency operations. But the bosses are happy that the engines are booming again. “I can’t wait to see these beautiful new cars in the race on Sunday,” tweeted Jean Todt, president of the World Association.