Formula 1 racing has returned to Austria after over a decade and the three practice sessions before Saturday's qualifying will play a crucial role in determining the grid positions for the Sunday's race at the Red Bull Ring.
Only three drivers on the current grid - Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button of McLaren - have the experience of driving around this short track in Formula 1. They last drove here in early 2000s and it's been too long for them to have any memories of that grand prix weekend.
The Red Bull Ring features just nine corners with a number of long straights and it is important to get the right setup for the qualifying sessions, as a single error can make a lot difference in terms of grid positions.
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, after stopping the Mercedes' juggernaut in the Canadian Grand Prix, is looking forward for team's home race. The Australian is optimistic that the Austrian-outfit will show a strong performance on the home track.
"We've got a bit of steam as well from the last race," Ricciardo said. "I think we're all really excited - the home one for Red Bull. We'll see what happens on track. Hopefully we can be strong again but I think as the weekend goes it's going to be a lot of fun. Not only for us drivers but for the spectators as well. I think they're going to put on a good show."
The Milton Keynes-based outfit is currently second in the constructors' standings, 119 points behind the championship leader Mercedes, while Ricciardo is third in the drivers' standings with 79 points.
The 24-year-old, after clinching Red Bull's maiden victory of the season in Montreal, said the team is motivated after winning the grand prix, but they have to keep working hard for catching the Silver Arrows.
"We just have to keep... like everyone, everyone is chasing them and just keeps working," said the Australian. "Definitely the win gave us more motivation, not that we didn't have it but it's given us that extra little bit. It's encouraged everyone to want more of it."
"I saw the team on the pit wall when I crossed the line and it was as if it was their first win again in Formula One. It was refreshing, so the motivation is there," he added.
Sergio Perez, after facing a high-speed crash in Canada, has been handed a five-place grid penalty for Austria, although, Force India has requested FIA to review the penalty. Perez insisted that he is fine after the accident and maintained that it was not his fault.
The Mexican said the team is bringing few updates for the race and is hopeful that the track will suit the characteristics of the Silverstone-based outfit.
"Yeah we have a couple of upgrades, so we are really enthusiastic," Perez said. "I think this can be a good track as well for us. Yeah, we were doing so well in the last race; the strategy was going really well, we managed to do one stop and keep a very competitive pace, so I think we are really enthusiastic. It's the first really big upgrade we bring to the car since the beginning of the year, so hopefully that will put us in better shape and a better position."
Where to Watch Live:
First Friday Practice Session: 10:00 am local time, 1:30 pm IST, 8:00 am GMT
Second Friday Practice Session: 2:00 pm local time, 5:30 pm IST, 12:00 pm GMT
Final Practice Session (Saturday): 11:00 am local time, 2:30 pm IST, 9:00 am GMT
|India||Star Sports 4, Star Sports HD2|
|US||NBC (Practice 2)|
|Canada||TSN 2 (Practice 2)|
|United Kingdom||BBC, Sky Sports|
|Middle East and North Africa||Bein Sports Arabia|
|Germany, Italy||Sky Sport|
|Germany and Italy||HERE or HERE|