Key Strategic Moment
The key strategic moment of the FORMULA 1 GROSSER PREIS VON ÖSTERREICH 2015 came in the fifth place battle between the Williams Martini Racing car of Valtteri Bottas and the Sahara Force India of Le Mans winner Nico Hülkenberg.
First Bottas showed very shrewd race tactics, passing the German on the inside into turn 2; but as he'd been close behind Hülkenberg, within detection range for the Drag Reduction System (DRS) before the corner, he was able to open up the DRS after the corner to pull away and confirm the pass.
Force India pitted Hülkenberg immediately and when Bottas came in the next lap to cover him, he emerged behind Hülkenberg. Bottas had to pass him again on track, which he managed. It was a great battle of driving strategy versus race strategy.
With the shortest lap of the season at less than 70 seconds, the grid is always tight which means qualifying is crucial. The four long straights also mean that getting past a car which has good straight-line speed is not easy. Track temperatures can vary a lot from day to day making tyre performance hard to judge. In 2014 the clear strategy was for a two stop race with the first stint on supersoft tyresand then the two remaining stints on soft tyres. The timing of those stops was key though because this is a track where the aggressive 'undercut' - pitting before your rival to force him to come in earlier than planned - certainly works for a team that can look after the tyres better than its rivals.
In collaboration with James Allen
Returning to the Formula 1 calendar after a hiatus since 2003, the newly named Red Bull Ring, near Graz in Austria, has played host to numerous memorable races in its previous twenty-five Grands Prix. Following a re-design of the original Österreichring by Hermann Tilke in 1996, the Spielberg circuit consists of much undulation and a combination of fast and slow corners, sure to make it a spectacle for fans. Michael Schumacher claimed victory in the two most recent races here - although his 2002 win caused plenty of controversy as Ferrari ordered Rubens Barrichello, Schumacher’s team-mate and the race leader, to let the German past on the final lap to open up his lead in the FIA Formula One World Championship™.
Circuit length 4.32 km
Race distance 307.020 km
2014 race winner Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)