The Mercedes driver, a teenager when Austria last hosted a grand
prix in 2003, needs to win at Spielberg to rein in
championship-leading team mate Nico Rosberg after the blow of
retirement in Canada 10 days ago.
"I've never driven the circuit but I've been working on it in the
simulator and I'm sure I'll learn it pretty quickly when we get out
on track," the 2008 world champion said in a team preview.
"It's always exciting to go to a new venue, so it should be an
interesting weekend. I'm feeling good in the car right now and I'll
be pushing flat out to come away with maximum points this time
With Rosberg finishing first or second in every race so far this
season, while Hamilton has retired twice, the German now has a
22-point lead as the championship arrives at Red Bull's home track
for the eighth race of 19 this year.
Hamilton may have to win another four races in a row, as he did
earlier in the year, just to regain the upper hand if Rosberg stays
"There is a long, long way to go. I caught up before and I'll catch
up again," said the Briton, who started the season with a retirement
in Australia that left him 25 points adrift.
"It's going to take another four wins to make the difference so I'm
going to do my best to get those results."
Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff was not discounting that
"Obviously, Nico now holds an increased gap at the top of the
championship but Lewis is a fighter and I have no doubt that he will
come back stronger than ever," he said.
Mercedes have been dominant this season but Austrian-owned Red Bull
broke their winning streak in Canada when Australian Daniel
Ricciardo took his first F1 victory ahead of what amounts to a home
race for the team.
The short but scenic track, in the southern Styrian mountains,
remains largely the same as the old A1 Ring and is set to be a big
celebration of motorsport in Austria with every living Austrian F1
driver taking part in a legends parade.
How much of a celebration it will be for Red Bull remains to be
"We're going to have a lot of home support. There's still a gap to
Mercedes, we are working on closing that down," team principal
Christian Horner said after Montreal.
[to top of second column]
"To have a race at the Red Bull Ring as Red Bull Racing - with that
comes a bit of pressure but it will be fantastic to perform in front
of effectively a home crowd."
Quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel has driven the circuit on
a number of occasions but only four current drivers - Jenson Button,
Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen - have raced there
in Formula One.
None have won and only Raikkonen has stood on the podium.
The last winner at the track was Michael Schumacher, the seven times
world champion who is now in hospital in Switzerland after recently
emerging from a coma following a ski accident at the end of last
Schumacher also had one of the most controversial wins of his career
at the circuit in 2002 when Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello
was ordered to let him pass despite dominating the race.
Of the newcomers, McLaren's Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen and Toro
Rosso's Russian newcomer Daniil Kvyat are those with the freshest
experience having raced there last year in the Renault 3.5 World
Series and Formula Three respectively.
"It's a very cool place - it's a circuit where you never really get
to rest in the cockpit because the track is always going somewhere,"
"Every lap is a real adrenaline rush because the corners never stop
(Editing by John O'Brien)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.