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Red Bull starts party early in Austria

2014-06-10 08:48


THEY'RE BACK! Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel (left) sprays his team mate Daniel Ricciardo after winning the 2014 Canadian GP. Seems as though the team's luck has changed? Image: AFP/Mark Thompson

MONTREAL, Canada - Formula 1 will return to Austria for the first time in 11 years later in June (2014) but host Red Bull got the party rolling early when Daniel Ricciardo took the team's first win of the season in Canada on June 8.

Until Montreal it had seemed almost inevitable that dominant Mercedes and its title-chasing duoNico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton would be party-poopers at the Red Bull Ring (it's the home of the fizzy drink) on June 22 but with perfect timing the Austrian-owned team halted Mercedes' run of six consecutive victories with Australian Ricciardo celebrating the first victory of his career at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit on the St Lawrence River.

With the race at the renovated Ring already sold out there was no need to give Austrian fans even more of an incentive to make the trip to Spielberg but Sunday's result, and third for quadruple Drivers' champion Sebastian Vettel, has given them plenty to talk about.


Mercedes is still a step ahead but, with Hamilton halted by brake problems and Rosberg slowed by overheating in Canada, there's a little less certainty in the air. Team principal Christian Horner said: "We've taken 40 points today (Sunday) - it's the first time we've out-scored Mercedes - and that is great in view of Red Bull's home race in Austria in two weeks. We're going to have a lot of home support.

"There's still a gap to Mercedes - we're working on closing that - but when you consider where we were three months ago in pre-season testing to where we are now it is quite incredible. We'll keep fighting, keep pushing, and hope we can continue to close that gap."

Mercedes is 119 points clear of 2013 champion team Red Bull in the Constructors' standings after seven races with Rosberg 22 points ahead of Hamilton in the Drivers' table. Horner added:

"To have a race at the Red Bull Ring as Red Bull Racing... with that comes a bit of pressure but it will be fantastic to perform in front ofa home crowd. They sold out within a matter of hours - a colossal number of tickets - and I think it is going to be a huge spectacle.

"For us as a team it will be trying to get the most we can out of the weekend."

Fans will also be looking forward to a return to the circuit for the first time since 2003 when Michael Schumacher won.


McLaren's Jenson Button, who had his F1 debut there in in 2000 and is now the most experienced racer on the grid, said: "Lots of camp sites and lots of very merry Austrians. It's one of those races they really embrace the sort of party scene and the camping scene which is really cool.

"It reminds me very much of Spa, the British GP, those sort of races. It's a true racing fan's GP. I enjoyed racing there."

While Red Bull has its name on the circuit Mercedes can count on support of its own with retired Austrian triple champion Niki Lauda now the team's non-executive chairman and compatriot Toto Wolff in charge of motorsport activities.

Wolff said: "It is a fantastic place with so much history and heritage. I think what (Red Bull owner Dietrich) Mateschitz's done there has just revived the region. I hope on the Sunday night we will spoil the party but I think he has a bigger picture than just a racing team."

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