As the final leg of an F1 triple-header, the Austrian GP completes a back-to-back Red Bull Ring event created as part of the reshuffled F1 calendar for a second consecutive year due to the COVID-19-enforced changes.
Max Verstappen took a commanding victory in the opening race in Austria, leading every lap on his way to a fourth F1 win of the season to extend his lead in the drivers’ championship to 18 points over Lewis Hamilton.
With Mercedes planning to bring aerodynamic and engine improvements for the next races, the defending F1 world champions will be eager to strike back against Red Bull, while Hamilton is enduring his longest winless stretch since going six races without a win between the end of the 2017 season and the start of the 2018 campaign.
Behind the title-fighting teams, Ferrari trimmed the gap to McLaren in third place in the constructors’ standings to 12 points thanks to impressive comeback drives from both Carlos Sainz Jr and Charles Leclerc in the Styrian GP.
Pirelli has opted to go one step softer with its tyre range for the Austrian GP, selecting the C3, C4 and C5 options – rather than the C2, C3 and C4 compounds it offered at the Styrian GP. A similar strategy was also used for the Silverstone double-header last year as a method to spice up the two races.
Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli will also be getting teams to test a new construction of rear tyre during free practice at the Red Bull Ring in a bid to improve the robustness of its rubber following the blowouts suffered by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll at the Azerbaijan GP.
After F1 completes this triple-header the paddock has a week off before the British GP which will also feature the first-ever sprint qualifying race.
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
2021 Formula 1 Austrian GP session timings
F1 will continue to run its revised weekend schedule for 2021, with shorter practice sessions on Friday. Two free practice sessions lasting 60 minutes each (rather than the previous 90-minute sessions) are followed by an additional practice session also running for one hour on Saturday morning.
The Q1, Q2 and Q3 knockout-style qualifying format is also being retained on Saturday afternoon to decide the grid for the Austrian GP on Sunday.
F1 has also ditched starting races at 10 minutes past the hour mark for the 2021 season, with all races starting at the top of the hour.
Friday 2nd July 2021
Free Practice 1: 10:30am-11:30am BST (11:30am-12:30pm local)
Free Practice 2: 2:00pm-3:00pm BST (3:00pm-4:00pm local)
Saturday 3rd July 2021
Free Practice 3: 11:00am-12:00pm BST (12:00pm-1:00pm local)
Qualifying: 2:00pm-3:00pm BST (3:00pm-4:00pm local)
Sunday 4th July 2021
Race: 2:00pm BST (3:00pm local)
How can I watch the Austrian GP?
Channel: Sky Sports F1 HD
Channel numbers – Sky: 406
Channel numbers – Virgin Media: 506 (Sky Sports F1 HD)
Sky Sports has live and exclusive broadcasting rights in the United Kingdom with the build-up to the F1 race starting from 12:30pm ahead of lights out at 2:00pm.
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02, Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21, and Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
When can I watch the Austrian GP highlights?
· Channel: Channel 4
· Start time: Saturday qualifying 6:30pm, Sunday race 6:30pm
Channel 4 has the rights to show Austrian GP highlights of qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.
Will the Austrian GP be on the radio?
Live radio coverage of every practice, qualifying and race for the 2021 F1 season will be available on the BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra stations.
Coverage of the Austrian GP will start at 2:00pm BST on BBC Radio 5 Live, available on both DAB radio and the BBC Sounds app.
Weather forecast for the Austrian GP
Spielberg is set for mixed weather conditions throughout the race weekend, with hot and sunny spells to start on Friday before cloudy weather and a strong chance of thunderstorms on Saturday and Sunday. Across the weekend highs of 25 degrees Celsius are predicted – around two degrees cooler than the hottest conditions at the Styrian GP.
Most F1 Austrian GP wins
Alain Prost: 3 wins (1983, 1985, 1986)
Ronnie Peterson: 2 wins (1973, 1978)
Alan Jones: 2 wins (1977, 1979)
Mika Hakkinen: 2 wins (1998, 2000)
Michael Schumacher: 2 wins (2002, 2003)
Nico Rosberg: 2 wins (2014, 2015)
Max Verstappen: 2 wins (2018, 2019)*
Valtteri Bottas 2 wins (2017, 2020)
*Not including Verstappen’s 2021 Styrian GP win