Five talking points for the 2020 Steiermark Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland leads after the start during the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring racetrack in Spielberg, Austria, Sunday, July 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Formula One is returning to Austria’s Red Bull Ring this weekend in the second round of the motorsports world championship as Valtteri Bottas looks to increase his championship lead.

The Steiermark Grand Prix, essentially a second Austrian Grand Prix, holds big potential for the Mercedes driver, Valtteri Bottas, with the chance of increasing his lead over the defending F1 world champion, Lewis Hamilton.

As F1 returns to the Red Bull Ring, here are five talking points for the upcoming race weekend:

Racing Point

Last weekend, Racing Point was incredibly fast for a mid-table outfit. In the second free practice session of the 2020 season, Sergio Perez finished third in the timing table beating the likes of Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.

In addition, they came close to securing their first podium in F1 since completing their first season as Racing Point last year. However, it was Lando Norris who delivered the fatal blow to their chances as he overtook Perez in the dying laps of the season opener to take home his maiden podium.

Back at Austria

The Austrian Grand Prix is done and dusted, but in an unusual turn of events, we are returning to the Red Bull Ring this weekend – in Austria – for the Steiermark GP.

In the worst pandemic in living memory, this will be (most likely) a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness F1 use the same track back-to-back to help qualify a world championship. Also, if this weekend is to be as eventful as last week, it will be worth the watch.

Albon’s redemption

Last week, Red Bull’s Alexander Albon pulled the short straw in a confrontation with Hamilton in the Austrian GP, as he was spun out into the gravel trap on lap 61.

Despite reliability issues, which saw Verstappen retire out of the last Grand Prix before Albon completed a double DNF, Red Bull look like a team that could really threaten Mercedes for the constructors championship. However, without the contact between himself and Hamilton it looked likely Albon had the chance to take his maiden podium and win in F1.

Could he do it this weekend?

Mercedes reliability

All the teams seemed to suffer reliability issues last week, with nine runners not finishing the Austrian GP. Mercedes weren’t the safe from reliability issues either.

Both Silver Arrow drivers were warned throughout the GP to ‘stay off the kerb’ as the cars had mechanical issues, which were at a critical state due to driving on the kerbs around the Red Bull Ring.

It begs the question: will Mercedes bring an upgrade to deal with this issue?

McLaren’s fight

McLaren look like an outfit who can challenge Ferrari for third place in the constructors championship. However, they would also have to fight the upcoming Racing Point outfit – who also seems to be in the running for third.

Norris got McLaren into a great start last week, getting them into second in the constructors table with the young driver’s maiden podium and Carlos Sainz’ fifth place finish. As they were an under-performing side in 2018 and became the best of the mid-table teams in 2019, if they continue their momentum, it is likely they could break top three this season.

A top three finish would provide a great foundation for the McLaren outfit next year, as they are to switch engine suppliers from Renault to Mercedes.

Kamron Kent