“The best of 2023 are Verstappen, Alonso and Yuki Tsunoda”

Very little movement in the paddock from Red Bull Ring a few hours before the start of another of those tight format grand prix, with no rest time. The drivers’ briefing was held on Thursday without having touched asphalt yet, as required by the script. Before, the pilots fulfilled their protocol press conferences. Leclerc confirmed that he has started, “slowly”, talks with Ferrari to see what the future holds for them beyond 2024. A few days ago, ‘Autosport’ published an interview with Sainz in which the Spaniard expressed his interest in being clear about his future before starting next season.

Likewise, Hamilton proposes to the FIA ​​the creation of a rule so that no team (see Red Bull) gets ahead when designing next year’s car and start the next season with an advantage. Verstappen responded to him at the official press conference with common sense: “When Mercedes was in front, they did not ask for changes in the rules.”

The seven-time English champion remarks that he is not so concerned about “winning a race” in 2023 as “winning the World Cup next year”. In any case, the progress of Mercedes have everyone pending in the paddock. There is talk of another package of evolutions ready for the next race, the British GP, and expect plenty of performance from the W14 at a circuit they have always been good at, Silverstone. For now, Mercedes is in second position in the constructors’ championship with a 13-point advantage over Aston Martin, which is based almost exclusively on the driver line-up: while Hamilton (61%) and Russell (39%) equally share the sum of points from his team, Alonso (75%) and Stroll (25%) have aspired to very different results in the eight races of this course.

Press conference of the Austrian GP of F1 2023.
Press conference of the Austrian GP of F1 2023.VLADIMIR SIMICEKAFP

Perhaps that influences the responses of some drivers yesterday about who had been the best in 2023 so far. Russell said: “Max is number one. Two and three, nobody cares. This sport is very difficult to judge. Several pilots are doing a great job. Ferdinand (Alonso)Lewis (Hamilton)Lando (Norris) and Oscar (Piastri)”. Hulkenberg voted for “Max, Fernando and Pierre (gasily)” and Piastri and De Vries opted for “Max, Fernando and Yuki (Tsunoda)”. Beyond friendships, which are appreciated, there is a common denominator.

Read Also:  Fernando Alonso Criticizes Mercedes' Dominance, Feels It's Not Enjoyable to Compete with the Team

Sprint and rain at Red Bull Ring

The Austrian GP is the second of the year with a sprint race, after Azerbaijan. For this reason, today there will be qualifying (5:00 p.m. CET) for the main race and tomorrow, qualifying for the sprint (12:00 p.m.) and short race (4:30 p.m.). This format which was first implemented in Baku separates the F1 Sprint from the rest of the grand prix. On Saturday the same points are distributed as last year: eight for the winner and one less for the following classified until reaching eighth, which adds a point. There will be four more events with this format: Belgium, Qatar, the United States and Brazil.

If the weather forecast does not fail, there are two classifications in the wet and two races in the dry. For Friday there is a risk of a storm with a 60% probability since the beginning of Q1. On Saturday morning, it will rain with the same probability. For the sprint the number decreases to 40%, and on Sunday it falls definitively (20%). There will only be one free practice session this Friday, which will presumably be dry.

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