06/30 09:21 CDT Can Red Bull use home ring advantage to attack Mercedes?
Can Red Bull use home ring advantage to attack Mercedes?
BY NESHA STARCEVIC
AP Sports Writer
SPIELBERG, Austria (AP) --- Having won two years in a row in the verdant
Austrian hills, and coming off a victory in the maiden Formula One street race
in Azerbaijan, Nico Rosberg is naturally confident about the Austrian Grand
Prix this weekend.
Rosberg has increased his championship lead over Mercedes teammate Lewis
Hamilton again after the win in Baku, and could join Alain Prost as a
three-time Austria winner.
"To have two wins from two races at any track is pretty special, so if I could
make it three in three that would be awesome," Rosberg said.
"That was a good weekend for me," Rosberg said of the race in Baku. "I really
felt at one with the car, so that's a big positive looking ahead to the next
races. Now we go to Austria, which has been a real strength for us as a team in
the past two years.
"Our Silver Arrow is still definitely the best package on the grid and I can't
wait to see what it can do in Spielberg."
Another win would leave defending champion Hamilton with a huge deficit.
Rosberg leads by 141 to 117 points, and another 25 points for the victory in
Austria would send Rosberg closer to his first title, considering the supremacy
the Mercedes cars have enjoyed in the last few seasons.
Hamilton, who finished behind Rosberg in the two previous Austrian races, was
fifth in Baku, after crashing in qualifying and experiencing engine problems.
"I've put it behind," Hamilton said.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the team has to get rid of "small mistakes" that
have cost points "here and there."
"Force India has been very strong recently, Williams are always quick in
Spielberg and, of course, there is the constant threat from Ferrari and Red
Bull, particularly at a home race for the latter."
The Austrian GP returned to the schedule in 2014, is held on the Red Bull Ring,
and is a home race for the team of the same name. But the relatively short
course of only nine curves hasn't yet been a successful track for Red Bull. Its
best result was eighth in 2014 and 10th in 2015.
"Spielberg always has a pretty awesome atmosphere, and the setting is pretty
amazing," Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo said. "The circuit is quite short
but is also fun. I would love a few more corners but it is a fun track for what
it is, quite flowing and fast.
"We haven't had the results we would like there in the past but we're coming
there with our best package yet, so hopefully that can put us up into the top
Teammate Max Verstapen, the surprise winner in Barcelona, wasn't too optimistic.
"Here in Austria, Mercedes can't be beaten," he said.
The weather could be a major factor, with thunderstorms and rain predicted for
the weekend and Sunday's race.