Austrian Grand Prix betting: Practice can make perfect for Red Bull but they won't win the race on home soil


Red Bull defied the odds in Baku to take a shock victory in the eighth round of the Formula One championship. It was the perfect way to go into their home race at Austria's Red Bull Ring this weekend.

This will be F1's fourth race back at the Styrian circuit, but it's proved to be a weak venue for the home team. Long straights and uphill climbs are not their forte. But a strong showing in Baku will have raised hopes they may be more competitive this weekend.

It's hard to imagine them seeing off both Mercedes and Ferrari in qualifying or the race. This isn't just because they don't seem to have the pace. It's partly because of their poor finishing rate. The RB13 has failed to see the chequered flag due to technical problems five times this year, more than any other car. They have also completed the fewest racing laps of any team - even less than the struggling McLaren outfit. 

But the practice sessions are a different matter. Red Bull were quickest in both Friday sessions in Azerbaijan, and are well-priced for a repeat this week. Baku winner Daniel Ricciardo and team mate Max Verstappen are each priced at 15.00 to come out on top, or you can cover off both at 9.00.

Come the race Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are clear favourites to win on 1.77 and 3.25 respectively. That's not hard to understand, assuming they can go the distance without colliding again. Pickings are slim when it comes to podium choices as well, though Force India's Esteban Ocon looks due one and could pay off in a big way on 34.0.

That leaves the qualifying battle and here too there's only one choice, albeit it an intriguing one. Kimi Raikkonen, never a one-lap specialist, has nonetheless out-qualified teammate Vettel in two of the last three races. That included a pole position in Monaco, a track where F1 used the same kind of tyres that have been selected for this weekend's race.

The qualifying contest is going to be even harder to call than usual this weekend. With lap times expected to take 65 seconds or less, this is the shortest track of the year in terms of how long it takes the cars to get around it. Therefore, the margins between the drivers will be narrower than usual: hundredths of a second instead of a tenth.

Only four drivers so far this year have taken pole position and out of those Raikkonen offers by far the best odds: he's on 17.00 compared to Hamilton's 1.55, while Vettel and Valtteri Bottas are on 4.00

Whether Raikkonen can beat Vettel in the race is another matter. He hasn't done so yet in 2017, and after Monaco many suggested Ferrari wouldn't let him. His odds of coming out ahead this weekend are 4.10.

Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic