What the teams said following the Sprint at the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix
It was a case of 'job done' for Red Bull in the Sprint, with Max Verstappen leading away from pole and keeping that position all the way to the chequered flag to seal a commanding victory. Sergio Perez meanwhile made his way up through the field from P13 on the grid to fifth – from where he reckons he can make the podium in Sunday's Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen, 1st
“It feels good to bring home the Sprint win at here at The Red Bull Ring. The first two laps were important for me to pull a gap, from there it was all about maintaining the pace. The Sprint race of course does not give you the full picture heading into the race tomorrow, but pace wise, it’s close between us and Ferrari.
"I still expect it to be a tough battle tomorrow, we’ll also have the hard tyres so it will be interesting to see how they perform during the race. It’s going to be very important to make good strategy calls during the race as you never know what can happen, it’s not going to be straightforward but I’m looking forward to it.”
Sergio Perez, 5th
“It was a good race and recovery, I had a good start and kept out of trouble, it was tricky with Lewis and a lot of people going side by side into turn three. We got the most we could out of the Sprint and I feel it is a strong result from us. Once I got past everybody, George Russell was a bit far for me to catch up with, I wish I had got back up to P4 but I can fight from fifth.
"There are lessons we can take from the Sprint race to make sure we are on the podium tomorrow. Patience will be key on Sunday; I want to get a good start and get in the mix straight away in the race. I made up four places in the first lap today so hopefully tomorrow is the same. We are still to unlock some potential from the car so we can look forward to the race.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“It was great to get the pole yesterday and to get the victory in the Sprint race and retain that for the race tomorrow is fantastic. Max hit the tyres very hard to break the DRS, it’s quite a long stint and Ferrari were saving their tyres, but that’s the strategy we chose and what you take out at the beginning you get back at the end. Max managed it well and it was a reasonably comfortable race for him. Yesterday was a tough penalty for Checo but he had an incredible first lap today, he managed to pick off the cars and made up eight places to get back up into P5, which was only one place behind where we thought he should have been.
"Tomorrow is going to be a fascinating race, you can see the Ferraris are quick so we need another good start, a great first lap and to get our heads down. The support we’ve had here in Austria at the Red Bull Ring has been amazing, for the Team and for Max in particular from the Orange Army. The fans everywhere in the world have been fantastic but it’s great to be racing at home and it sets us up for an exciting race tomorrow.”
Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz challenged pole-sitter Max Verstappen on the opening lap of the Sprint, but thereafter it became a fight between the two of them as they battled for P2. In the end, Leclerc came home ahead of his team mate, meaning they start Sunday's Grand Prix in the same positions they qualified in on Friday.
Charles Leclerc, 2nd
"I had a pretty good start. First, we had a battle with Max (Verstappen), which was a bit on the limit. Then Carlos overtook me but I regained my position in turn 4. I just focused on managing my tyres for the first few laps so that we could push more towards the end. It was a good plan, as we picked up pace and I felt good with the tyres.
"We lost a little time in the battles, but it was fun and I don’t think it changed much in terms of the overall outcome today. Tyre management will be key in tomorrow’s race and I think it could be an exciting one."
Carlos Sainz, 3rd
"It was good racing today, especially the first few laps battling with Max and Charles. At the start there was an opportunity to get Max at turn 3 and I went for it, but I couldn’t make it stick around the outside. After the initial laps, I then had to let the tyres and the battery recover, before getting back into my rhythm and that was pretty much it for today.
"Tomorrow is the real race and we’ll be starting all over again in the same positions. We are all very close at the front and the fight will be tight. Our rivals seemed to have a bit more pace today but we’ll do our best to challenge them tomorrow."
Laurent Mekies, Racing Director
"Today’s Sprint race confirmed that on this track too, it’s really close between us and our main rivals. It was important to verify this in race conditions and I’d say that this afternoon’s 23 laps confirmed it. I think tomorrow’s race will be very closely contested and anything could happen. It will come down to the details, which is why we will now, along with our colleagues back in Maranello, analyse everything in depth to work out how to get the most out of our package.
"Tyre management, especially at the start and end of the stints could be the key element and we will have to be ready to make the most of any opportunities that come our way. Tomorrow will again be a case of two against two, as Sergio Perez made up several places this afternoon and so the contribution of both our drivers will be essential if we are to get the result we are after."
George Russell said he had something of a lonely run to P4 in the Sprint as he wasn't quick enough to catch the leaders but had a gap to the cars behind. Lewis Hamilton had a more exciting afternoon, surviving contact with Pierre Gasly at Turn 1 on the opening lap, before dicing with Mick Schumacher and finally passing the Haas to take the final point on offer for P8.
George Russell, 4th
"First, thank you to everyone in the garage to get the car ready today. It was a huge team effort, so it was good to get points on the board. As for the performance, the gap was more than we were expecting. We were 13 seconds behind after 23 laps, so that’s nearly half a second per lap.
"We need to work overnight to understand why we dropped off the pace. Small things can make a difference – the tyres weren’t easy to manage, and different approaches to downforce levels will play a part tomorrow. But we are in no doubt that we’ve got work to do."
Lewis Hamilton, 8th
"I’m grateful I managed to survive out there today. The team did such a great job to get the car back together last night and this morning. A big thank you to them and I’m glad I brought it back mostly in one piece. I didn’t have a good start, then Pierre [Gasly] moved across on me at Turn 1. I don’t understand why drivers do that when there’s so much space to the right, and I couldn’t do anything about it.
"Then the same happened in Turn 3 with a Williams and Red Bull. I got some sort of damage, but at least could continue. After that, I was just trying to catch up. We are slower on the straights, so I had to wait until I was out of the DRS train to overtake the cars in front. That’s why it took a few laps to get ahead of Mick. Hopefully we can race stronger tomorrow – fingers crossed!"
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"After such an incredible effort from the mechanics to get the cars built and able to race, that was a bit of a disappointing performance in speed terms. We failed to show our usual improvement in race pace versus single lap performance, like at other events this year. George did a strong job, but the car was lacking the pace to hold on with the train in front.
"For Lewis, he had contact on lap one which cost him ground. Then it was a good battle with Mick, who was fighting hard for position. Lewis eventually came out on top, so he starts the race one place higher than he qualified. Now we need to learn the lessons and improve our pace in the Grand Prix tomorrow."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"Everyone in the garage did amazing work to get the cars out in time for the second practice session. We had a huge amount to do, including a chassis swap with Lewis. But it was great to see how well the team worked under pressure. The sprint race by contrast was rather underwhelming. Lewis was lucky not to be taken out when he got squeezed by Gasly in the run to Turn 1, so in some ways a relief to survive that. We’ll check the car for damage when we get it back but it was a big hit.
"George didn’t quite have the speed to chase the Ferraris and Verstappen, so we were always going to end up fourth but at least we’ve made it onto the second row for tomorrow. We’re clearly missing a bit of pace and will study the data and look at what we can do in terms of fine tuning but it’s hard to find much now we’re in parc ferme."
Fernando Alonso's Sprint was over before it had begun when his car failed to fire up on the grid, and the team were unable to get it going in the pit lane. Esteban Ocon had a good run to P6, but he too had a problem with his car that luckily didn't stop him until just after the chequered flag had flown.
Esteban Ocon, 6th
“Obviously I'm very satisfied with this sixth place at the end of the Sprint Race today. We got off to a good start and managed to stay ahead of Kevin [Magnussen] in the first two laps, before building a comfortable lead over the two Haas. George [Russell]'s Mercedes was too fast for us.
"All in all, I think we maximized our chances today, securing a good grid position for tomorrow's Grand Prix, while also scoring a few points along the way. However, one more lap today and the story could have been different, as I had to stop the car at Turn 1 during the re-entry lap. The team is reviewing what happened and I'm sure we'll be ready for tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso, DNS
“It's very frustrating not to have been able to start the Sprint race today. We couldn't get the car started on the grid so we went into the pit lane and then tried an external battery but it still didn't work we had to give up.
"The problem appears to be electrical in nature, and we are still investigating it. Unfortunately, despite a competitive level of pace this year, I have also been the victim of bad luck, which has cost us points. I hope luck will turn tomorrow. Let's see what we can do in the race.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal
“Unfortunately today's Sprint race didn't meet our expectations and we weren't able to build on our good qualifying performance yesterday. While starting sixth at the start of tomorrow's race is an excellent result for Esteban, we are disappointed that we were not able to offer Fernando the opportunity to start the Sprint race today. It seems to be an electrical problem, which is why his A522 did not start on the grid, nor in the pit lane or in the garage.
"We will look into this concern and the options we have on his car before tomorrow's race. Esteban was on a good pace today and we were able to learn some good lessons about the behavior of the tyres, which we will use to maximize our strategy tomorrow. Certainly, all is not lost. Esteban has a good chance to score points tomorrow and with Fernando you can never say never. I'm sure he'll do everything to finish in the top 10."
Another excellent day for Haas. After getting both cars through to Q3 on Friday, Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher followed that up by finishing the Sprint in the top 10. Magnussen grabbed two points for P7 while Schumacher held off Lewis Hamilton for lap after lap, until the seven-time champ finally passed him to leave the young German ninth at the flag.
Mick Schumacher, 9th
“I think the battle with Lewis was quite fun. It’s surprising to see that we were able to fight for that long, and even the Red Bull behind us wasn’t that much quicker, so that was a nice feeling. I think that we could’ve had points today but we didn’t."
Kevin Magnussen, 7th
“I didn’t expect that we would be able to do that, especially after this morning in practice. It didn’t look good, it didn’t feel good, so we made some changes but the cars are under parc ferme so it’s very limited to how much you can change.
"The changes worked and the pace was more of less back for the race. We’ve got two points so I’m very happy and we can certainly fight for points tomorrow given yesterday’s performance. I’m looking forward to another try tomorrow.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“Following a little bit of a troubled FP2 where we weren’t where we wanted to be with the balance of the car, the guys did a great job to put the car in a place where it was performing in the Sprint Race.
"Both drivers did a good job, Kevin was the only one who brought back points, but that was thanks to the help of Mick. He first held off Perez and then Hamilton for a long time. It was very cool to see Mick holding off a seven-time world champion. It was very good team work and I’m pleased with the result, hopefully we can do something similar tomorrow again and get both cars in the points.”
A mixed day for Alfa Romeo as Valtteri Bottas gained a couple of places to finish 10th, while Zhou Guanyu had a scare on the formation lap when his car shut down. He was eventually able to get going again, and recovered to P14. Bottas will start Sunday's Grand Prix from the back of the grid following an engine change.
Valtteri Bottas, 10th
“It was a good drive with some nice battling, but we ran out of laps to make it higher than tenth – it’s a shame the points only go down to eighth! We struggled a bit in the beginning, with a slight engine issue, but in the end we had better pace than the Haas, even though we were still a bit too slow on the straights – probably a bit too much wing.
"Tomorrow should be a completely different kind of day, starting from the back: it will be a longer race but I am confident we can make up ground. The pace is there and I absolutely think we can make it to the points: you never know what can happen.”
Zhou Guanyu, 14th
“At the end of the formation lap, right before the last corner, my engine suddenly switched off. That was very strange, and the first time happening to me; I had to do the whole switch-off procedure, and that took a bit longer but luckily, we got going again. Apart from that, the race has been very enjoyable for me, it was a good comeback from last week’s crash, and I managed to confidently attack and move up the grid.
"We showed very strong pace overall, and I am quite happy with how the car was performing today. I am happy with my starting position for tomorrow’s race, it’s what we were aiming for after qualifying. We need to understand what happened today in the formation lap, but I am confident for tomorrow, I reckon we have a good chance to battle for points.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“Today saw both our drivers show good pace, and we have set ourselves for a chance of points in tomorrow’s race. Valtteri had great reflexes to avoid a tangle just in front of him, and was able to close in to the top ten ahead: he made good progress, although he will have to start from the back tomorrow, having changed the power unit earlier in the weekend.
"Zhou’s performance was remarkable, going from the pit lane to 14th at the flag while showing really good speed. It was a really good comeback after a difficult Saturday: if we are able to replicate tomorrow the speed we had today, he will be well within the battle for the points. I am confident we still have a role to play with both cars in tomorrow’s race and I’m looking forward to seeing how the race unfolds.”
Both Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo made up places in the Sprint after a difficult qualifying session on Friday for both drivers saw them start down the grid. But they're bang in the middle of the pack for Sunday's Grand Prix and the team's aim is a double points finish.
Daniel Ricciardo, 12th
“There are certainly some positives to take. We moved forward and had a bit more pace than a few of the cars in front as well. It’s been a pretty tricky weekend, so I’d say that was one of our better sessions. We’ll obviously try to get into the points tomorrow.
"I think with a few more laps today, we would have had a chance to crack into the top 10. So tomorrow with a longer race we might have a bit more of an opportunity. I think the others will try to improve overnight, so we have to still find a bit more in the car, but it was more encouraging, and we look forward to tomorrow.”
Lando Norris, 11th
“Positive overall, we went forward a good few positions and we should be starting P10 tomorrow, but it wasn’t easy. I had to use the tyres a lot in the first part of the race and they then dropped off a bit halfway through. Apart from that, I'm happy with the result. We did pretty much exactly what we wanted to do.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“We hit the ground running today, following a lot of hard work overnight to solve the issues that affected us yesterday. The objective for the Sprint was to move up positions and get ourselves into a better spot to start tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix. We managed that very well.
“The plan for tomorrow is much as it was for today: race hard, move up further positions, score points with both cars. This is an exciting circuit that produces dramatic races, spurred on by a big crowd that generates a wonderful atmosphere. We’re looking forward to it.”
Sebastian Vettel eventually finished the Sprint dead last, after he made contact with Alex Albon while trying to pass and spun off into the gravel as a result. He faces a tough fightback in Sunday's Grand Prix, but Lance Stroll is better placed, having climbed up to P13 at the chequered flag.
Sebastian Vettel, 19th
"I think Albon was a bit optimistic when we were fighting in Turn 6 and slid into me, which cost us the chance to bank a decent grid position for tomorrow. I made it out of the gravel, but the car had some damage. It means I will start tomorrow's race almost where we started today.
"It is a shame because we made some good progress in the early laps, and I think starting on the Softs was the right decision. There is still a long race ahead of us and we will try our best to move up the order tomorrow."
Lance Stroll, 13th
"We had a good Sprint today. On the Soft compound, we were able to make up some initial positions but then got stuck in a DRS train. It is difficult to make progress given how close the midfield is and the way the Softs dropped off towards the end.
"We will gain a position on the grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix due to Bottas's penalty, so that is one place closer to the points. We are understanding more about this new package as well, especially after a strong practice session earlier today."
Mike Krack, Team Principal
"Lance managed his Sprint very well. Like Sebastian, he was one of the few runners to start on the Soft compound, and he looked after those tyres, chasing down Albon and both McLarens. He finished 14th on the road but gained a position due to Albon's five-second penalty. That puts him in a solid position for tomorrow.
"Sebastian made a good start and was able to quickly catch Albon. He made a fair move around the outside of Albon into Turn Six, but Alex ran wide and his front-right tyre rubbed against Sebastian's left-rear, spinning him into the gravel. Sebastian was able to continue, but we could see his car had suffered some bodywork damage, and we felt the safe thing to do was retire him.
"From our grid positions today, we showed we can make progress, and we feel we can once again challenge the cars ahead in tomorrow's Grand Prix."
Not a good day for AlphaTauri. Pierre Gasly was facing the wrong way just seconds into the Sprint after contact with Lewis Hamilton spun him at Turn 1 and caused car damage that hampered him for the rest of the day. Yuki Tsunoda had no such dramas, but simply couldn't find any speed in his AT03 and came home 17th.
Pierre Gasly, 15th
“I’m extremely disappointed, we started the Sprint in the top 10 and before the first corner it was already over. I don’t really know what happened, so I need to review it later, but I was alongside Lewis and all of a sudden, I was facing the wrong way on the race track.
"The left-hand side of the car was broken after that, so it was horrendous to drive for the rest of the race. Tomorrow will be a long race, so we need to go away tonight and see what we can do to make our way forward.”
Yuki Tsunoda, 17th
“It’s been a tough day. I had absolutely no pace from my side, it was a different level compared to the others and the car was just too slow. We’ve lacked grip in general and had unpredictable balance across the weekend, we’ve looked at the data and so far been unable to find an issue, so we need to go away and look more deeply at this.”
Jody Egginton, Technical Director
“A very disappointing race for everyone in the team. Pierre and Lewis had contact into T1 on the open lap, which resulted in Pierre’s car suffering damage to the front wing and floor, and this meant he re-joined at the back of the field. Yuki’s start was ok, but he lost positions to both McLarens and Aston Martins early on and was unable to recover these later in the race, because he was struggling with the balance of his car as the race progressed.
"The net result of this is that both cars have come home at the back of the pack. We now have a lot of data to go through to diagnose the impact of the damage Pierre’s car had on his performance today and to understand why Yuki was struggling with the balance of his car so much, so that we can get both cars moving forward in tomorrow’s race.”
Alex Albon had an eventful day, making contact with Sebastian Vettel when the German tried to pass him, and being hit with a five second time penalty after the stewards deemed he had forced Lando Norris off the track when they were battling wheel to wheel. Nicholas Latifi had a quieter Sprint, but struggled on the soft tyres and came home P18.
Nicholas Latifi, 18th
“Not the result we wanted today. I felt after the second lap that the tyre could be a struggle. However, we made a decision as a team to go for it and to try that tyre. It didn’t feel bad in practice, but we need to understand why it didn’t work as well in the Sprint. We had nothing to lose, so we’ll reset and see what we can do tomorrow.”
Alex Albon, 16th
“We had a good start but then had to avoid a crash so lost a few positions, which was frustrating. I don't regret the tyre choice [of softs]; we were generally struggling with pace out there, especially when we were following other cars and the wind changed quite a lot which didn't help us. We were better when we were in clean air, but we know what we can do better for the race.
“I feel the penalty I got was a little harsh. I'm braking in a sensible place and I wasn't trying to push anyone off, I'm staying away as much as I can. But I feel when you put yourself on the outside with a car with limitations, you're putting yourself at risk. It's a shame because we lost a few places with that penalty. It was a tough race for us today, but we'll fight back tomorrow and hopefully come back stronger.”
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
“The Sprint was very frustrating. We chose an aggressive strategy for both cars and showed some decent pace. However, a penalty for Alex was very penalising and undid a lot of the good work from yesterday. Overall, it was a very busy Sprint with numerous incidents, and this has at least confirmed that a lot can still happen tomorrow.”
Mario Isola, Motorsport Director
“Today the teams were able to get some useful long run data on the medium during the sprint: good information for the race tomorrow, which looks likely to be a medium to hard one-stopper, as also confirmed by the performance of the tyres today.
"Both compounds performed well, with the medium being the more conservative choice that made it the most popular option for the sprint this afternoon. The soft was chosen by four drivers starting from further down the grid, and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll used it well to make up four places.”