What the teams said – Qualifying at the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix
Max Verstappen sent the huge crowds of Dutch fans who have come to Austria to see him race wild when he snatched pole position from Charles Leclerc in the dying seconds of qualifying – but it was a different story for Sergio Perez who qualified fourth, only to see his Q3 lap times deleted for track limit infringements, dropping him to a final qualifying position of P13 for Saturday's Sprint.
Max Verstappen, 1st, 1:04.984
“We can definitely be happy with the result today. On the final lap in Q3, turn one and three weren’t the best so I knew the rest of the lap needed to be spot on. I was down on the first and second sector so pushed hard in the final and it paid off. It was a good session and of course it’s good to be close to the Ferraris again. This season so far, the car has been good in the race compared to qualifying where we’ve been weaker, so hopefully tomorrow we can be competitive in the sprint.”
Sergio Perez, 13th, 1:06.458
“It was a tricky day, going into qualifying from FP1 things didn’t feel great so there is a bit of understanding needed from our side and hopefully tomorrow we are able to recover. The car was in and out for me during the day and during quali, I wasn’t able to get into the rhythm.
"It is disappointing to lose fourth place, the track limits are very tight here this season, but it is frustrating that the Team weren’t told my lap time had been deleted during Q2. We have the Sprint tomorrow to make up ground and a long race ahead, we have to keep our head down and push hard to make progress and put us in a good position for Sunday.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“To get pole today was a great result for Max, he was just a little bit quicker in the last turn and that made the difference; to have three cars within one tenth of a second is incredible. Ferrari are looking very strong right now, we saw that after their win at Silverstone and right across the season, so to get the pole today was extremely valuable.
"It’s great to be back in Austria, the Team love racing here and the support we get is incredible, passion is great but shouldn’t spill over into jeers at our opponents. We feel the penalty for Checo was very harsh and should have been dealt with before Q3 to enable us to improve subsequent performance. He will do his best tomorrow from P13 and try and put us into a better position for Sunday’s race.”
With just seconds to go of the qualifying hour, Charles Leclerc was on provisional pole with team mate Carlos Sainz in P2 in what would have been a perfect result for Ferrari. Ultimately Red Bull's Max Verstappen squeaked ahead of them both to take pole, but both Scuderia drivers were less than a tenth behind, suggesting the Sprint and Grand Prix could be extremely close affairs...
Charles Leclerc, 2nd, 1:05.013
“It was very close, but Max was just in front today. I had some understeer after the red flags as I struggled to get the tyres back in the right window, so I didn’t have a perfect lap. It’s a shame, but it’s only Friday and it’s Sunday that really counts. Tomorrow it will be important to work on driving style in FP2 and then have a very good Sprint.”
Carlos Sainz, 3rd, 1:05.066
“That was extremely close! It was a positive qualifying in general. We managed to build the speed through the session and put in a good lap at the end. The first couple of corners of that final run were very tricky as we had lost temperature on the tyres due to the second red flag.
"In the end, we missed out on a better result by less than a tenth, so I think we are up for an interesting Sprint tomorrow and GP on Sunday, as we have a strong pace. We’ll prepare as best as possible and fight for a good result!”
Laurent Mekies, Racing Director
“We knew it would be a very closely fought qualifying, a head-to-head between us and our competitors. During this morning’s free practice, we worked a lot on optimising our package and we were then competitive enough to fight for pole down to the nearest thousandths of a second.
"We didn’t manage to secure the number one slot, but that’s what can happen when the gaps are so small and it’s all part of the game. We will try and change that in the race. The main aspect of this weekend is that it’s a very long one. Effectively it’s a 400 kilometre race run in two parts. We have seen that our potential is there and that we have started out on the right footing.
"Now, those of us here at the track and our colleagues back in Maranello can expect a really interesting challenge. The gap to our rivals is minimal, so if we want to reverse today’s result, the slightest detail can make the difference. We will do our utmost to ensure our drivers have everything they need to extract even more performance from their F1-75s.”
Mercedes were looking super quick at the Red Bull Ring as they continue to squeeze more and more performance out of the W13. But any hopes they had of troubling the top three or even the front row in qualifying were dashed when first Lewis Hamilton and then George Russell both crashed in Q3, leaving Russell P5 and Hamilton P9 – after Sergio Perez had his Q3 laps deleted and dropped to 13th.
George Russell, 5th, 1:05.431
"I think that was our best qualifying session of the year in terms of pure pace – and the worst in terms of the outcome. Racing can be like that sometimes. I could have been P4 this afternoon and I was one tenth up on my lap, and absolutely went for it because I thought there was a chance of P3. I’m feeling fine physically - but I’m concerned about the car. I hope we can recover it.
"In terms of performance, there are positive signs. We have brought some things to the car, and the interpretation of some rules has probably been in our favour, too. Lewis was doing a phenomenal job and absolutely flying today. Maybe I went a bit the wrong direction on set-up for qualifying; but hopefully that will be good for the race. Ordinarily we have better race pace than single lap, so hopefully tomorrow, we can make up for today.
Lewis Hamilton, 9th, 1:13.151
"I’m incredibly disappointed in myself ultimately and so sorry to the team. Everyone worked so hard to put the car together -and I never like to bring it back damaged. I don’t have an answer right now to what happened. I lost the back end in Turn Seven and that was that.
"I was encouraged to see our performance, though. I think we were fighting for a top three start – and we weren’t expecting to be that close. That’s a huge positive for the team. I’m starting quite far back, and I’m not sure what’s possible from there. We have the Sprint tomorrow as well as the race on Sunday; hopefully tomorrow I can make up for some lost time."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"A frustrating finish to what was looking like a decent qualifying session. The car has been working well and first practice was busy and productive. The balance was pretty good through that session which is useful with only one hour before qualifying to sort out the setup. We’d tweaked the balance a bit going into qualifying and were putting some solid laps in when both drivers had moments and ended up in the wall.
"We’ve got our work cut out trying to get the cars onto the grid tomorrow. We are still assessing the extent of it but both accidents caused damage to several of the same components on each car, which makes it quite difficult from a spares point of view. We’ll do what we can to make sure that both cars are competing. If there is a silver lining to this cloud, it’s that the Sprint gives us some opportunity to make it further up the grid ahead of the main race. We’ll be working hard towards that objective."
Esteban Ocon was beaming after sealing an excellent P6 in qualifying – later bumped up to fifth following Sergio Perez's demotion to P13 – while Fernando Alonso was equally bouyant, but said a damaged floor cost him even more speed – and a better grid slot – in the latter part of the session.
Esteban Ocon, 5th, 1:05.726
“I am very satisfied with our result today during this qualifying session which we finished in sixth place [later promoted to fifth]. I had the impression that the car had regained liveliness in Q2 and Q3 after free practice and a rather difficult Q1. We are in a good position for the Sprint Race tomorrow and hope that we can first consolidate our grid position for the main race, while also picking up some valuable points.
"We still have room for improvement and still need to work on the car when the fuel level is high, which we will do tomorrow in Free Practice 2. I am optimistic that we will be able to do two good races. We have to stay focused."
Fernando Alonso, 8th, 1:06.103
“The car was very competitive today and to be invited back to Q3 was a good thing. However, I damaged the floor after going wide on my first lap in Q3, which cost us some performance. I think without that damage we could have gone for top five or top six, which would have been great for the Sprint.
"Our aim will be to grab a few places tomorrow, and I'm sure we can do that. Overall we had a good day and hopefully we can have fun in the Sprint Race and Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon, while scoring some big points.
Alan Permane, Sporting Director
“We can be relatively satisfied with our performance in qualifying today. Looking at how the session went, I think sixth and seventh place was probably the best we could have hoped for if things had turned out in our favour, but that's the way it is... Esteban was solid throughout the day, growing in power lap after lap, session after session, which allowed him to progress well until his last attempt in Q3.
"Fernando can consider himself a bit unhappy after damaging the floor on his first lap in Q3, which caused him to lose performance. We will, of course, fix this before tomorrow's Sprint. We are happy with the way the car behaved today and we are in a good position to score points with both our cars in the Sprint Race tomorrow and then again on Sunday.
After getting both cars into the points last week at Silverstone – with Mick Schumacher netting his first F1 points in the process – Haas had another excellent day at the office in Austria, as both cars made it into Q3, and then gained another position from Sergio Perez being demoted, leaving Kevin Magnussen sixth and Schumacher one place behind in P7.
Kevin Magnussen, 6th, 1:05.879
“It’s been a good Friday. We got the car on track for the first run in FP1 and it looked competitive. I was pretty confident going into qualifying and it’s been a strong day. I don’t even feel like we got the most out of it, it felt like there was a little more lap time in it. It’s funny as I’m P7 [later promoted to P6] and I’m not super happy, so that’s a very good position to be in.”
Mick Schumacher – 7th, 1:06.011
“We came quite close with that Q3 cut-off, so we were lucky there as we didn’t quite maximize the lap but otherwise it was ok, but not the cleanest of sessions. Trying to push the tires to get them warmed up again is never great, you’re already taking some potential out of them and I think there was definitely more lap time in it. If we hold position tomorrow, we have points and if we move forward, we gain even more so we’ll go for the more points option hopefully.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“It was a very good day today. We started strong in FP1, everything was calm and we had no issues. Then we went into qualifying knowing that we can make it into Q3 on performance and we executed it. It was a good job by the whole team, and hopefully we can take it over to tomorrow’s Sprint, keep on getting points and continuing like last week.”
It was a tale of two different moods among the AlphaTauri drivers in Austria: Pierre Gasly felt 11th – later bumped up to 10th thanks to Sergio Perez's demotion – was a good effort, considering the team haven't upgraded the car recently. But Yuki Tsunoda was visibly frustrated after he missed out on Q3 and was left P14 thanks to a big snap of oversteer on his final lap.
Pierre Gasly, 10th, 1:06.160
“I’m pretty happy with today, we haven’t had any upgrades for a few races, so we know compared to other cars we’ve been struggling quite a bit more lately. It’s always frustrating to miss out on Q3 by such a small margin, but I must say I was pleased with my lap, it was pretty tidy and I was able to put it altogether for Quali today.
"We’re starting just out of the top 10 for the Sprint tomorrow [now P10 after Perez's demotion], so we’re in a good position to make our way forward and hopefully move into the points on Sunday. We need to work more, as we can’t be satisfied with the overall performance, but we know we have some upgrades coming, so if we are able to improve from this current baseline then we should be quite competitive in the upcoming races.”
Yuki Tsunoda, 14th, 1:06.851
“I’m really disappointed with today. I was happy with the balance of the car and how we were progressing through Quali, but unfortunately on my last push in Q2 my tyres were cold, I had a huge snap at Turn 1, this ruined my lap, so I couldn’t progress further. I think the pace of the car was quite good and we had a chance to get through to Q3 today, so it’s a real shame.”
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer
“We are in Austria for our second sprint event of the season and, as is typical for this format, our Friday has been a very busy day! We enter Parc Fermé as soon as we leave the pits for Qualifying, so we have to do all of our setup work in the one-hour FP1 session – on a typical weekend we normally have all three practice sessions to complete this. So, we kept the car on track for as much running as possible, with minimal changes between the runs.
"The session was used to understand the general car balance and to check the stabilised temperatures over a sustainable run. The high wind made it quite difficult, with the balance being different corner to corner. Also, there is a lot of warp in the track, so brake locking made some corners inconsistent, particularly T3. Heading into Quali we knew the competitiveness was not enough for Q3 and actually with the short track, we were close to the Q1 cut-off, so we elected to have three runs in Q1. This worked well and both drivers progressed through to Q2. This meant we were left with only a single new set of Softs, so we set the first timed on the Used tyres, before fitting the new tyre for the last lap.
"The step-in grip was there, and Pierre put his best sectors together to finish P11, only 9ms away from a place in Q3. Yuki’s prep lap didn’t quite go to plan, so he had cold tyres going into T1, he had to abort his lap and unfortunately ended the session in P14, with the used tyre time. Still, the performance has been slightly better than we expected, so we will do all we can in the Sprint tomorrow to progress both cars forward.”
Both Williams drivers were pleased with their day's work in Austria, with Alex Albon thrilled to be back in the car and able to demonstrate the potential of the team's new upgrades by going 12th quickest – with his grid slot later bumped up to P11 after Sergio Perez was demoted for track limits infringements. Nicholas Latifi also felt he drove well considering he doesn't yet have the new upgrade package, and was happy with his pace – if not his P19 grid slot.
Alex Albon, 11th, 1:06.230
“I’m very happy. Firstly, the team did a great job to get everything ready after the damage from Silverstone; they worked flat out at the factory and here at the circuit, so to repay them with a P12 is great [which later became P11 thanks to Sergio Perez's demotion].
“We have obviously brought an upgrade and it’s nice to see the performance increase because of it and I hope we can progress forward each weekend. “We were only a tenth away from Q3 - it’s almost frustrating as you can always think of places you could have improved - but I’m very happy. I think it’s all to play for tomorrow.”
Nicholas Latifi, 19th, 1:07.003
“Even though the position and lap time were not good enough, I still felt good behind the wheel carrying over what I felt in Silverstone. I made a mistake in Turn 3 but with that, my lap time and how much the upgrade should give, I should be quite a bit slower than the other car. I think I’m actually right where I need to be, so for me, that’s two strong Qualifying sessions in a row which is nice.
"Honestly, I’m happy with that because I know what the gap should be and where we need to be. The car is still struggling around here but I’m happy that I’ve found a little bit more driveability. I am more optimistic going into the Sprint despite the lack of pace. Hopefully, there will be some opportunities tomorrow.”
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
"We always enjoy the challenge of a Sprint Event Friday and today was no exception. FP1 was a bit disrupted and we also had to focus on race preparation, so we didn’t learn a huge amount more about the new parts that we introduced on Alex’s car in Silverstone. However, the driver comments continue to be positive and although we know there is more to do to understand - and optimise - the new package, we are confident that we have taken a step forward since Canada.
"Qualifying is often tricky at the Red Bull Ring with 20 cars fighting for position on a track that is barely 4km long. Fortunately, Q1 was fairly smooth with both drivers having mostly clear laps and three good opportunities to set a lap time. Alex was able to make the most of the opportunity and the new parts and made it to Q2, finishing in 12th place. He again drove very well and pushed hard on his new tyres at the end of Q2.
"Nicholas’s car is heavier than Alex’s this weekend and he is obviously still driving with the Canada car specification, but despite this he drove well again, building on his impressive display in the wet last weekend. “His team worked very hard to get everything out of his car today and although they succeeded in that regard, they are looking forward to getting their hands on the new package in France.
"Thanks to all the hard work and dedication of the team back in Grove, all of whom worked tirelessly to ensure that we had enough parts available in Austria, we have had an enjoyable day today. However, there are still two days left to go and plenty of opportunities to make and lose places; although the cars are now in Parc Ferme, we still have a lot of work to do if we are to maximise our chances in the Sprint race and the Grand Prix.”
Zhou Guanyu was back in the car on Friday after his horrific crash at Silverstone last week, and said he felt no ill effects – though he was frustrated with the tyres which he said weren't giving him the grip he needed, as he ended up P18. Valtteri Bottas did somewhat better, qualifying 13th – though an engine change penalty will see him drop to the back of the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas, 12th, 1:06.319
“The feeling with the car wasn’t too bad, but obviously this is not where we want to be. It was close in the midfield, I lacked a bit of grip and top speed and these were the main issues in terms of laptime. Still, the laps were good and I am confident in the pace we can have in the race. I will start at the back of the grid on Sunday, but there are still points to be won tomorrow and we’ll give everything we have to bring home some.”
Zhou Guanyu, 18th, 1:06.901
“Today has been quite a frustrating day for me: I struggled with the tyres on the first lap on a short track like this one. The tyres were working much better on the second lap of the run but, even though I slightly improved my lap time, I still didn’t have the grip I wanted and that resulted in us being out in Q1. The car has obviously been built new and, having had just one session to get ready and adapt to it, this hasn’t been the easiest for me either.
"Nevertheless, the car seems to be working fine, we just lacked some performance today. It’s my second Sprint weekend overall, and I didn’t really get to experience in the previous one in Imola as I was out in the first lap, but hopefully we will have a good one tomorrow and move up on the grid ahead of Sunday, so that we can battle for points. I think everything’s open for us, we just have to figure out what went wrong today and improve from that.”
Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal
“It’s been a difficult day for us in qualifying, with Valtteri in P13 and Zhou in 18th. The car was not at its optimal balance, and on such a short track, with such small margins separating teams in the midfield, not being at your 100% means you end up missing out on the top places. Tomorrow’s sprint race is an opportunity to shake up the order a little and hopefully we can move up a few places with both drivers ahead of the race on Sunday.
"This is a track where overtaking is possible and where we had lots of action in previous years, even before the arrival of the new generation of cars, so we will give everything to bring back a positive result and set us up well for Sunday.”
It was not a good day on either side of the McLaren garage, with Daniel Ricciardo simply struggling with his pace and being knocked out in Q1, while Lando Norris was suffering from a "scary" brake issue that meant he couldn't get the most out of the car and ended up P15.
Lando Norris, 15th, 1:25.847
“Tough qualifying. We should’ve been in Q3 but we had a few problems today that haven’t allowed us to be pushing anywhere near as much as we should have been, which is disappointing. I had a braking issue in qualifying that meant I couldn’t confidently push and set a representative lap.
"Technical issues got us down today, but that happens sometimes. We’ll work hard to fix them, come back stronger tomorrow and try and make up a few positions in the Sprint before the Grand Prix on Sunday.”
Daniel Ricciardo, 16th, 1:06.613
“Being out in Q1 is never nice, and not what we wanted here. We had a few things we had to solve after a disrupted FP1, but not enough to put us out in Q1, so I don't want to use that as an excuse. We’re simply still a bit off the pace, and on such a short lap, with everything so close, it costs you. 30 milli-seconds would have put me in Q2, the margins are that small.
"The lap times are what they are. We’ve got to work on it now. We’ve got a long weekend ahead, so my focus moves to taking opportunities as they come. We’ll have a chance tomorrow in the Sprint to make up some spots and then a chance on Sunday where most of the points are handed out. We’ll look to the rest of the weekend and get after it to make it better.”
Andrea Stella, Executive Director, Racing
“The first day of this Sprint event has been difficult, with many issues impacting both our preparation for qualifying, and our qualifying performance itself. Fortunately, this is a long event. On Daniel’s side, we had a compromised FP1 that disrupted his preparations for qualifying. With very fine margins determining progression to Q2, and elimination in Q1, every tenth of performance we can extract from the car can make all the difference.
"Before experiencing a problem with his braking system, Lando demonstrated that our car had the pace to be in Q3 and fighting at the top of the midfield, so we’ll do our best this evening to solve our issues and be ready to fight for points tomorrow in the Sprint and on Sunday in the Austrian Grand Prix.”
Sebastian Vettel had his best lap time in Q1 deleted for a track limits infringement and ended up last in the session – though he admitted he didn't have the pace to progress to Q2 even without the penalty. Lance Stroll did a little better with P17, but both Aston Martin drivers will be hoping their race pace is a lot better than their one lap speed when the lights go out for Saturday's Sprint and the Grand Prix on Sunday.
Lance Stroll, 17th, 1:06.847
"It is always a challenge here with the track limits. But despite that, we did not quite have the pace to make it through into Q2 today. Obviously, we are going to try and recover some places in the Sprint tomorrow, and our pace is looking okay after Free Practice earlier, so there is still plenty to play for this weekend."
Sebastian Vettel – FP1: 1:59.168, P10; FP2: 1:30.057, P12
"It was a shame to get my lap-time deleted for crossing track limits. I had actually lost a little time at Turn One anyway – so it was effectively a double penalty. Still, we did not have the pace today to get through into the next part of qualifying – but there are plenty of opportunities in tomorrow's Sprint Race and we will hopefully start in a better position for Sunday's Grand Prix."
Mike Krack, Team Principal
"We pushed hard in qualifying today, but there was no more time to find in the car. Nevertheless, it is still only Friday – we have the Sprint tomorrow and we have proved recently that we can race strongly. There is still plenty to play for, and both Lance and Sebastian will be pushing hard to maximise every opportunity ahead of Sunday."
Mario Isola, Motorsport Director
“It was another close session, with three drivers within only 0.082 seconds at the front of the grid – just think about that for a moment – which underlines how hyper-competitive the modern generation of Formula 1 cars and tyres are. Today we’ve seen only some light abrasion on the soft compound, which could make it an option for the Sprint race tomorrow, where the cars won’t make a pit stop but don’t run on full fuel, reducing stress on tyres.
"With more rain forecast on Sunday morning before the race, the conditions that the drivers experienced in FP1 today could be quite representative of Sunday afternoon, so there was probably some useful information gained there as well.”