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Now or Never

The ninth round of the Formula 1 Championship takes place this weekend in Austria, the first of five races in four weeks with a test session thrown in there somewhere as well just for good measure. Every week I say that Ferrari or Red Bull might be able to challenge Mercedes at the front of the field and every week I’m proven wrong as one of the two Mercedes always manage to get themselves to the top step of the podium.

So is it now or never for the chasing pack? We’re almost at the halfway mark in the season and it’s the two Mercedes boys at the top of the standings with Nico Rosberg enjoying a 24 point gap over Lewis Hamilton who is a further 21 points ahead of Sebastian Vettel. It hasn’t been the easiest year for the defending champions but they have still managed to collect seven out of eight wins in 2016, the only blip on the radar was the pairs coming together in Spain. Other than that, Mercedes still look unstoppable and are surely on their way to another championship belt. The question now is which one of their drivers will lift the title at the end of the season.

The momentum shift couldn’t have come at a better time for Rosberg. With a jam packed calendar over the next five weeks before the summer break, the German could stomp his authority on the championship and go on holiday with no stress whatsoever. Hamilton on the other hand was looking good until his small mistake in qualifying in Azerbaijan cost him a chance at taking his third win of the season. But it wasn’t just qualifying that cost the Brit, a minor technical glitch that he couldn’t reset saw him lose power compared to his opposition while Rosberg on the other hand had the same problem but was able to find and fix it soon after it happened.

Kimi Räikkönen is the man under pressure at the moment. The silly season has obviously already begun and rumours are flying about the paddock about where the Fin might find himself next year or if he’ll even have a seat in the sport. Average performances in 2016 and a lacklustre season last year is building pressure on the Ice-Man to step up or step out. Sergio Perez’s name has been thrown in the mix for a drive at the Scuderia after he picked up another podium finish at the European Grand Prix. Another man under fire is Felipe Massa who keeps finishing runner up to his teammate Valtteri Bottas. It might be time to bring in some fresh faces in the Williams line-up.  

Lewis Hamilton messed up my picks for the previous round so let’s see if I can get it right this weekend. The Mercedes duo are going to be extremely hard to beat so it’s down to the final podium position where things will surely get racey between Ferrari, Red Bull, Williams and let’s not forget Force India who are becoming “a force” to be reckoned with.

  1. Nico Rosberg 2. Lewis Hamilton 3. Sebastian Vettel

Enjoy the race and if you’re taking a bet, the best of luck to you. You can also catch me on Twitter @ChrisFletch46 for questions, comments and all sorts of banter.

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