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Out to right the wrongs


Vettel was slow to brake on the Paul Ricard circuit and clipped Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes at the first corner

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, of Germany. Picture: Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP

Sebastian Vettel hopes to quickly right the wrongs from the French Grand Prix with Formula One back in action in Austria after just a week.

The back-to-back races, which will also be followed by the British Grand Prix on July 8, give the Ferrari driver the chance to make up for a first lap crash in France which ultimately left him finishing fifth.

Vettel was slow to brake on the Paul Ricard circuit and clipped Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes at the first corner. The four-time champion received a five-second time penalty but did well to get back up the field and Ferrari hope to take some momentum into Austria.

“We have to focus on making up the lost ground,” Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said. “The team gave its all (in France), making the right strategy calls to give the drivers every chance to get the best result possible in the circumstances.”

The quick turnaround for the Austria race means Vettel has not had long to sit and ponder what might have been. He can quickly get it out of his mind with a strong showing in Spielberg. The problem for Vettel and his Italian team is that a Mercedes has won all four Austrian races since Spielberg returned to the calendar in 2014.

Mercedes world champion Lewis Hamilton is on a high after winning in France to retake the lead from Vettel in the drivers’ standings, by 145 points to 131 after eight races of the 21-race season.

Mercedes believe qualifying could be all important in Austria.

“At that track you can’t really overtake,” Briton Hamilton said. “Even though you’ve got those long straights, it’s very, very difficult to overtake. It’s been a decent track for us in the past, so I don’t see why it should be any different now.”

The track is owned by Austria-based energy drinks firm Red Bull, making it a home race for their team even if the F1 factory is in Britain. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, third in the standings on 96 having already won two races this year, is looking forward to a battle.

“Austria is a short lap, but a very busy one. It’s pretty hectic. The middle and last sectors are really fast, in fact the final two corners are my favourite, especially in the current cars,” the Australian said.

“The race is intense and feels high paced from start to finish so you have to concentrate hard.”

Teammate Max Verstappen has calmed down after a crash-strewn early season to finish third and second in the last two races. He has his eye on Austria for other reasons.

“One of the highlights of coming to Austria for me is the food. I am a big fan of schnitzel and potato salad, so I’ll definitely try to get a few local meals in during the weekend,” the Dutchman said. – DPA