Why Austria could give us a taste of the future
The Austrian Grand Prix has all the ingredients that could provide fans with a taste of the future.
Charles Leclerc will start on pole position for today’s Grand Prix in Austria, just ahead of Max Verstappen in second.
It will be the first time Formula 1 gets to see the two young drivers go head to head against each other and it could be a scenario we will see time and time again in the future.
The last time the two drivers lined up next to each other on the front row of the grid, they were competing in the KF2 European Kart Championship in 2012.
Seven years on, the two will now have an opportunity to battle each other for the lead of a Formula 1 race for the first time and what an exciting prospect it is.
Charles Leclerc will be determined to convert his pole position in to a race win. The last time he got pole position was in Bahrain and, despite leading the majority of the race, the win was robbed from him due to engine issues.
He should have been on pole and fighting for the win in Baku but he made a mistake in qualifying, leaving him out of contention, so he will not want to let this opportunity slip by him especially with both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel starting further down the grid.
For Verstappen, he is at his team’s home Grand Prix and an abundance of Dutch fans have travelled to the circuit to cheer him on.
He knows how to win at this track, having been victorious last year after both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas retired.
Verstappen will want to repeat last year’s result and, with opportunities for wins being few and far between for Red Bull this year, he will be desperate to cross the line first.
The two drivers are highly motivated to win the same prize but for slightly different reasons and it could tee up a brilliant battle for the lead.
The Red Bull Ring is a short circuit and so it will be difficult for Leclerc to break free from Verstappen even if he does lead away from the start and, although Verstappen has reigned in his banzai overtakes, he will still throw his car down the inside given half a chance.
The drivers also have to be careful of breaching track limits. Practice and qualifying have proven that if you do go wide you will be punished by the kerbs.
A number of drivers have damaged various parts of their cars this weekend, including significant damage to front wings, and so the Leclerc and Verstappen will need to exercise caution in both defence and attack.
Neither driver is fighting for the championship this season and so they have nothing to lose by going all out for the win.
It’s these scenarios that generally create great races. They will need to be cautious of Bottas in the Mercedes and Hamilton can never be discounted but their concern for these two drivers will likely go out of the window when the lights go out.
If Leclerc and Verstappen are able to battle throughout the race it will be interesting to see how they fare against each other and it could give some great insight for the future.
Both drivers have long careers ahead of them in Formula 1 and both are capable of winning world championships in the future.
Lets just hope they can put on a great show today and time and time again in the future. It is just what Formula 1 needs right now.