What the teams said - Race day in Styria
After penalties dogged Lewis Hamilton last weekend at one of his bogey circuits, he answered his critics in style second time around. His imperious pole yesterday set the tone and he led from the start today, was never troubled and came home to win comfortably from his team mate. Valtteri Bottas had to work slightly harder from fourth on the grid but dispatched Carlos Sainz early on and chased down Max Verstappen superbly in the closing stages to grab second with no obvious return of the reliability issues that caused problems last weekend.
Lewis Hamilton, 1st
"This has tended to be one of my weaker tracks, so I am over the moon to have a performance like this today - so, so happy. This feels like a long time coming since the final race of last year and it is a great step forward to come back from a difficult first weekend. The team did a fantastic job with the strategy and then it was about keeping it together, staying off the kerbs and bringing it home. I tried to get the fastest lap towards the end, but I had 40-lap old Mediums, so it was going to be difficult against someone on new, fresh rubber. A big thank you to my team and everyone back at the factories, they have done a brilliant job. I think it's easy to lose focus and determination, but I don't ever see that with this team. We know there's a long way to go and it's a challenge for everyone, but this is a step forward, for sure."
Valtteri Bottas, 2nd
"Starting fourth, I think today was all about damage limitation and we managed to maximise everything available to us. Yesterday wasn't ideal so that's why it wasn't 25 points today, but we still scored some good points, the car performance was great and I'm still leading the Championship, so it's not too bad. I had a good battle with Max, I had quite a bit more pace than him at the end as we extended the first stint to create a tyre offset, but racing closely is always fun and it was good to get the pass done. It's been an encouraging first couple of races so I'm looking forward to next weekend."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"I think we can be very satisfied with this weekend, with a great drive to victory for Lewis and Valtteri coming home to secure a 1-2 finish for the team. It's been a tremendous job from everybody to get our worries from last weekend under control and deliver this level of performance. The gearbox issue was fixed, and the suspension concerns were still not 100% comfortable, but in the end, it was all good. This track hasn't been too kind to us in recent years, but we were never really troubled here and bringing the two cars home like this is a nice result. Now we look ahead to Budapest and the final round of this triple-header. We have been starved of motor racing for so long, so we can't wait to be back out on track again in just a couple of days. We just love the stopwatch, the brutal honesty of it and the Hungaroring is a great track and a very different challenge to Spielberg, so it will be interesting to benchmark ourselves there."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"A perfect result: well done to the drivers and to the team! And especially to everyone who was involved in getting on top of the electrical issues that we had last week. We only had three days to understand the problem and produce parts in time for free practice, but we seem to be in a good place now which is a huge relief. That certainly helped us have a much smoother race today. The car was pretty strong, and we were able to do what we needed in stint one. Lewis built a gap to Max and Valtteri got through the traffic so that we were in position to undercut or force him into stopping. We'd wanted to run a bit longer with Lewis on the first stint but we were approaching backmarkers so we decided to bring him in and bank the position. Valtteri stayed out to create an off-set tyre strategy to Max but again we decided to box as we approached some backmarkers at the end of the opening stint. The second stint for Lewis was straightforward, he was just managing his gap and looking after the car and power unit. Valtteri had a bit more on his plate; he lost a big chunk of time with some backmarkers who were racing each other. Despite that, Valtteri was able to put in some great laps and was forecast to catch him the end of the race, then Max suffered a bit of damage along with tyre degradation and Valtteri reeled him in more quickly, making a great pass to take the position. It's fantastic to leave here with two wins and leading both championships; it's not been our favourite track in recent years but we're now looking forward to getting going again in Budapest in five days' time."
Max Verstappen started second and kept Hamilton honest in the opening laps. From there he struggled to match the Mercedes for pace and was always going to come under pressure from Bottas behind, who had fresher tyres as well. Third is still a decent result and opens his points tally at least. Alex Albon had a more adventurous finish after a quiet afternoon. He looked set for fourth for most of the race until the closing stages when Sergio Perez closed him down with astonishing speed. The Mexican went for a move, Albon held firm and after a clash of wheels, managed to keep hold of the place in contrast to last weekend.
Max Verstappen, 3rd
“Today we maximised the result with the podium and it’s of course good to be back up there, but we were just too slow to really fight for the win. I pushed as hard as I could and tried everything to stay with Lewis but it just wasn’t possible. We have work to do and we will keep pushing as hard as we can to improve and I know how hard everyone is working. For me, it wasn’t the most exciting race up until I had a lap of fighting with Valtteri. My tyres were pretty dead at that point and I knew he was going to pass me, but I wasn’t going to make it easy and had a bit of fun re-passing him around the outside. I had nothing to lose as there was such a big gap behind so there was no risk. P3 is of course good points but it’s still not what we want, we want to fight for victories every weekend, so I hope Hungary is better for us. With less straights, we should hopefully have more chance and maybe it will be hotter than today. For now it’s time for everyone to have a few days to rest and re-set for next week.”
Alex Albon, 4th
“The race was okay and P4 is a good amount of points for the Team, especially after last week’s DNF, so we definitely needed that. On my side, I was fighting a bit further back than I would have liked and my race pace wasn’t amazing. There’s time to find on my side but we’ve understood the car better this week and I think we know where to improve. With the long straights and types of corner here we struggled a little but I think Max and I both agree on where we can improve the car. Towards the end of the race, Perez was very quick. On the last lap he had a decent run on me into Turn 4 but I left him enough space. I think he ran a bit wide and we touched but we avoided a crash so it was ok and just hard racing. We’ve got a week now until Hungary to see what we can do, I think Mercedes will be hard to beat as we saw today as they’re really strong, but we’ll keep pushing.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
"Whilst it’s good to get our first podium of the season, it’s frustrating to not quite have the pace to challenge for the win today. Mercedes were quicker than us and strategically they had more options. We covered them with Max on the medium tyre and he was running comfortably in second but he sustained some front wing damage from the kerbs which I don’t think helped his tyre degradation. He pushed Bottas to the end but P3 was the optimum for him today, albeit somewhere ahead of the rest of the field. Alex seemed to struggle in the first half of the race despite a couple of good moves on Ocon and Sainz. After the pit stop his pace improved and he fought hard to retain fourth place, keeping a very fast Sergio Perez behind him. It has been a huge Team effort from everyone back at the factory who enabled us to bring upgrades this weekend in order to close the gap and we will continue to push on all fronts. It’s great to be racing again and now our focus is on Hungary where we hope to close the gap further.”
Charles Leclerc’s podium last weekend papered over some cracks for the Scuderia, but despite bringing some upgrades here their weekend went from bad to worse. Qualifying down the field with Leclerc getting a three-place grid drop to boot, both drivers started in the pack and were right in the thick of it through the first few corners. Leclerc saw some space on the inside and dived down into Turn 3, but the gap closed and he collided with his team mate Sebastian Vettel, sending them both into retirement. He apologised immediately but it was a wretched end to a poor weekend for the Scuderia.
Sebastian Vettel, DNF
"I was really looking forward to racing today and had a good feeling about it. I didn’t get a very good start, losing a bit of momentum off the line. Then, it was very busy in Turn 3 and I was already fighting two cars. I had the inside line so I was not expecting anyone to try anything. I could not see that Charles was coming and unfortunately, I had nowhere else to go as there just wasn’t enough space. However, we are both mature enough to move on from this incident. It is very disappointing, but in my mindset, I am generally optimistic and at least I don’t have to wait long to be back in the car, so let’s hope that Hungary will be a better place for us."
Charles Leclerc, DNF
"What happened today is clearly my fault, there’s nothing else to say. I take full responsibility. I made a mistake and apologising is not enough. We need to take every opportunity and today we could have had one, because even though we might not have the performance to collect a lot of points at the moment, every single point is important and anything can happen in the race, as we saw last week. But we didn’t bring home any points. I was so eager to do well for the team and I thought I might be able to gain three or four places and I went for it. But in fact the opportunity wasn’t there. It’s not easy for the whole team who worked hard to bring upgrades here. We are going through a difficult time and we don’t need this.
"I have apologised to the team and to Seb, who didn’t do anything wrong. I let everyone down today and I am very sorry. I will learn from this and come back stronger next time."
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
"It is painful, very painful, to see both our cars back in the garage after just a couple of laps. Incidents like this can always happen when you start in the middle of the pack and it’s pointless to apportion blame. It’s the worst possible end to a weekend that was already very disappointing. It’s true we took no real part in the race, but we can’t hide behind the collision that eliminated both cars. However, now is not the time for accusations. Instead, we must just get on with our work. Difficult moments can bring out the best in people and I’m sure that will be the case now."
Mixed fortunes for Mclaren. Carlos Sainz was running strongly before a lengthy pit stop dropped him down the field. He recovered to the top 10 but let his team mate through, Norris being on much fresher tyres. The Spaniard at least had the consolation of the bonus point for fastest lap after a free pitstop for fresh rubber. As for Lando Norris, he atoned for the three-place grid drop superbly, passing Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez on the last lap to come home an astonishing fifth.
Carlos Sainz, 9th
“A very disappointing day for me. We missed out on big points after a problem at the pit stop. The first part of the race we were running P5 with a solid pace and managing the gap to the cars behind. Unfortunately, we had a bad pit stop, which meant we came out of the pits in the middle of traffic. I had to push too hard too early to try to recover the gap, and that drained my battery and ultimately compromised my tyres for the second part of the race. One of those days when nothing goes your way. Time to turn the page and come back stronger, but we missed out on a good P5 today. We win and we lose as a team, so we’ll try to fight back in Hungary next week.”
Lando Norris, 5th
“A very good race from us today. First of all, the team did an awesome job with the strategy and I did a good job with managing the Soft tyres in the first stint. We got to Lap 39 before we boxed and that was one of the key aspects to our race in allowing us to be so strong in the second stint, to go out on the Mediums and be one of the fastest on track for some of the laps. We managed to go from tenth all the way up to fifth, with three of those overtakes on the final two laps.
“It was a race where I had to go forwards and not maintain my position like I had to last week. It was much more a race of attacking and overtaking, which was nice to do. Very happy for myself but even more for the team, and getting some more points on the board with also the fastest lap from Carlos. A really good two weekends and a very good start to the season. We just need to try to maintain it into the next one.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“Second race in a row here in Austria and another good performance from the team and both drivers. It's great to see both cars finish in the points, confirming we’re making progress in the right direction. We could see that both in dry and wet conditions we have a car that can fight with the competitors around us, which is obviously very encouraging moving forward. It will be very interesting to see if we can now carry this performance and momentum into Hungary and to other tracks with different characteristics.
“We want to apologise to Carlos for the issue we had at his first pit stop, which made his race more difficult than it should’ve been. The delay cost him several track positions and we sent him into heavy traffic, which ruined his tyres and didn’t allow him to fight for the position he deserved to be in today. Carlos didn’t give up and did a great job securing the fastest lap, the second time in a row for us. Lando showed he’s a fighter despite the pain he suffered during the weekend. He continued to perform and stepped up when it really mattered, especially in the second half of the race and again with some exciting final laps. Great teamwork between the two drivers swapping on track when it was needed.
“Thank you again to Renault for ensuring we got the most out of our power unit and maximising our performance over the course of this weekend in varying weather conditions.
“Tomorrow we start another race week. We’ll take away a lot of positives from these first two weekends, but at the same time we’ll focus on all the areas we have to improve. As always, we'll use the time next week to analyse in detail what happened, try to learn from it and come back stronger in Budapest. “Well done to the FIA, F1 and the local promoter here in Austria, who allowed us to race again in the safest manner possible. Finally, a massive thank you to our partners and fans for their continued support, which has been incredible again despite not being able to be at the track with us.”
Starting 17th and 13th after a disappointing Saturday, Racing Point bounced back in style. Both drivers scythed their way back through the field, with Sergio Perez the pick as he overtook his team mate for position before making short work of Ricciardo. He came incredibly close to fourth too, but understeer cost him as he tried to overtake Albon and the two collided, leaving the Mexican with damage. Meanwhile Lance Stroll had been bottled up behind the Renault for longer than he’d have liked but he did make an aggressive elbows out move stick on the very last lap before coming ever so close to taking his ailing team mate on the line.
Sergio Perez, 6th
“The team did a fantastic job today: the strategy was good and the car had strong pace. We managed to achieve our goal of recovering positions and managed to drive all the way to P5 - almost P4 at the end. I was pushing Alex Albon hard through the second stint and I only had the one opportunity to overtake him. Unfortunately, we touched, and I lost a position and finished in P6. The important thing is that we made a good step from last weekend to this weekend at the same circuit. Considering the car is a new concept this year, we’ve shown that we are still learning and trying to understand it. I’m excited to go racing in Hungary next weekend.”
Lance Stroll, 7th
“We started the race strongly and settled into it quickly, making up some places. We managed to close in on the Renaults ahead too. The second stint was a little trickier and it was very difficult to pass Daniel Ricciardo - because he was strong on the entry and exit of Turn 1. But I was patient and I saw an opportunity to pass him on the final lap and made the move stick. That was such an exciting end to the race and I hope the fans at home enjoyed it as much as we did. The car was competitive today and we performed strongly against our rivals. That’s promising for the coming races.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
“After a difficult Saturday, we recovered well to score some important points this afternoon with both cars. The end of the race was a bit messy, but we gave it everything in those final few laps. Both drivers performed well with some strong overtakes to move forward from their starting positions. Sergio enjoyed a great battle with Albon over fourth place, while Lance was fighting with Ricciardo and Norris. It’s a shame there was contact with Albon because the resulting front wing damage dropped Sergio to sixth place at the flag. Despite the late drama, we still come away with 14 points and take more encouragement from the car pace as we prepare for next week’s race in Hungary.”
The team mates were allowed to race from the off, with Daniel Ricciardo eventually getting the better of the Frenchman. Esteban Ocon later pulled into the garage with a suspected cooling issue in a reverse of fortunes from last weekend when Ricciardo was forced to retire. As for the Aussie, he drove a superb race with fifth on the cards and fended off the quicker Racing Point of Lance Stroll for lap and lap, before ceding at the close. Undeterred he fought back and came close to pipping both Racing Points on the line in what was a photo finish.
Esteban Ocon, DNF
“We had a cooling issue with the car and that was very unfortunate. These things happen in motorsport, but we know we had a great opportunity today and it’s a shame where we were running to retire the car. Hopefully it won’t happen again this year. It was good to have some fun with Daniel; we were both on different strategies and I think he had a bit more on tyres. We looked on for a good team result, so it’s a shame what happened. We have another opportunity next week to score some points.”
Daniel Ricciardo, 8th
“We certainly hoped for more today. I had a good start and made some decent progress up the order. The mediums felt good on our first stint, but when we put the soft on it wasn’t as quick as we’d hoped, and it didn’t really give us as much as we’d thought. The end of the race was frustrating, and I was struggling to hold on to the position on the last couple of laps. On the incident, I did see Stroll coming but I felt if I turned in, we would have crashed, so I had to make that call. I maybe should have blocked him and it’s a shame to lose a couple of positions from that one moment. The overriding feeling is frustration, but we’re up and running for the season now.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal
“Lots of emotions after a weekend like this one. We had good emotions after qualifying yesterday with both cars reaching Q3 and Esteban who showed a very strong pace in extreme conditions, demonstrating his outstanding driving skills in his second qualifying with us. Today, the emotions were much more painful after another retirement for one of our cars caused by exactly the same issue as last weekend. We had put lots of effort to return, examine the parts in Enstone, and send it back to the track, but clearly there is something that we missed. This poor level of reliability is, obviously, not acceptable in a field that is so tight. The race also showed that we need a bit more pace against our direct competitors. Daniel had a good race and he did well to defend for so long. Overall, the prevailing feeling is one of disappointment, however, we should not deter from the fact we’ve improved massively at this track compared to previous years. The car has made huge steps forwards but so have the other teams. Now it’s gloves off for the rest of the season.”
Pierre Gasly started in the top 10 and ran a good first stint on the soft tyre despite some initial contact. Once he stopped for the hard compound though, he struggled for pace and dropped through the field. The team switched him to a two-stop strategy but it was too late to make in-roads back up the pack. Daniil Kvyat did well to come home in the points in what was a good comeback after his disappointing DNF last weekend.
Pierre Gasly, 15th
“It was a very disappointing Sunday after a great qualifying yesterday. We had a good position on the grid, so we were expecting to have a good race, but it didn’t start well, as I had contact with Daniel (Ricciardo) in Turn 1 and I almost spun the car. After that it was very tough, and the rear of the car just felt a bit strange. We tried what we could with the two-stop strategy, but we just didn’t have the pace.”
Daniil Kvyat, 10th
“I have to say that even if Friday and Saturday were quite difficult, it was a fantastic race for me today. I did my job and I brought the car home to score one point, with much fewer retirements compared to last week, so I’m happy. Everything was executed well and while I was often under attack, I was able to defend my position and I could even open the gap with the ones behind me towards the end of the race. Let’s think of Hungary now, it’s just around the corner.”
Jody Egginton, Technical Director
“We came away with a P10 but to be honest our cars lacked race pace today and we have not been as competitive as we should have been. Pierre's car took a hit on the right rear at the start of the race and there are some signs we have suffered some damage as a result, so we now need to investigate this. Dany had a cleaner race and worked hard to finish 10th today making no mistakes. We should be pleased with finishing in the points, but overall we expected more from our package today and a detailed analysis will be conducted to ensure we understand all the factors behind today's performance and address the key points ahead of the next race.”
Haas at least got both drivers to the flag which after reliability issues yesterday, was progress in the right direction. Romain Grosjean had a great first lap after starting from the pit lane, and slowly worked his way through the field by keeping his head down. Likewise Kevin Magnussen managed to come home 12th after staying out of trouble, but on pure pace they look some way off the midfield runners.
Romain Grosjean, 13th
“Today the car was much better. It obviously wasn’t fast enough, but much better, so we’ll keep working from there. It’s important to feel good in the car, to feel confident. I had to keep pushing. Obviously, things were better than Friday and Saturday. That’s the positive to take from here.”
Kevin Magnussen, 12th
“We knew we wouldn’t have the pace today, we knew something odd would really have to happen to be up there. Unfortunately, the race didn’t really unfold like last weekend with a lot of retirements. I know there weren’t a lot today, certainly not enough for us to score points. I had fun again in the race though. I made a good start, gained a lot of positions on the first lap – it’s become my only weapon. The car was consistent, we were able to extend that first soft stint enough before going on the medium, and that was more than we’d hoped for. That’s showing this car can look after the tyres and we can push the car in the race. We need to find some qualifying pace so we can start higher up.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“It was a better weekend than last weekend. The race was actually quite interesting, at least for us. The driver comments were a lot more positive than last weekend. We still need to find some pace. We at least showed here that we can race in our group. It’s a good starting point and hopefully we can continue this trend in Hungary. While last weekend was very disappointing, and we went away almost broken, now we’re really looking forward to the next race to see if we can do any better and improve on our results from here.”
Antonio Giovinazzi had a five-place grid drop for the race after a late gearbox change, but given he was at the back anyway, that wasn’t too costly. Roll on the race and Kimi Raikkonen opted for a long first stint on the medium compound tyres, going the furthest of anyone before swapping to the softs. He came out behind his team mate who fairly let the Finn through but Raikkonen couldn’t close on Kvyat in the battle for the last point on offer.
Kimi Raikkonen, 11th
“We actually had a pretty decent car today and our pace was definitely a step forward, so it’s a bit frustrating not to be able to fight for the points. I lost a lot of time at the start, having to avoid the crash between the two Ferraris. I had to nearly stop, the car went into anti-stall and I couldn’t get it out. In the end, I managed to recover into a good position but I had to save fuel in the last 20 laps so I couldn’t push to catch Kvyat. On pure speed, I feel we could have got to the points but we fell a bit short. We get another chance next week so hopefully we will have a better end result then.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 14th
“It’s been a bit of a tough weekend but after yesterday it was always going to be hard to salvage a point. I had a good first lap and made up a few places, but in the end we couldn’t make it up to the top 10. We can still be happy to be leaving Austria with two points in the bag; I am looking forward to racing on a different track next weekend. Hungary is very different from Spielberg, the layout requires a lot of downforce and it’s less about straight-line speed, so we will need to focus on trying new things to extract the most from our car.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“We got so close to the points but in the end we couldn’t clinch that all-important tenth place. It’s disappointing to leave empty handed, but we definitely have a lot of positives to take with us. Our pace was an improvement and we could fight on track with cars that used to be ahead of us. Starting from the back after yesterday’s qualifying put us on the back foot and so did the time Kimi lost having to avoid the Ferrari crash, but that we could recover to nearly claim another top ten was a sign of things going in the right direction. We will need to carry this momentum to Hungary next week.”
George Russell started a career-best P11 and was trying hard to hold position with Kevin Magnussen close behind on Lap 4. Unfortunately it didn’t come off and an evasive trip through the gravel sent him tumbling down the field. He managed to recover and pass his team mate but was disappointed after such a stellar qualifying. As for Nicholas Latifi, he again managed a quiet race to gain that much-needed experience, and will hope to start closing the gap to his team mate in the weeks to come.
George Russell, 16th
"Firstly, I need to say sorry to the team. I completely messed it up in the early stage of the race. I made a good start and maintained the position and was trying to hold it on the outside of Turn 6 and just completely lost it. There was no grip out there and I need to say my apologies to the team. Who knows what today could have been, but I’ll bounce back next week."
Nicholas Latifi, 17th
"It was a tough one, but overall, I thought I did a much better job in terms of the driving and I felt more comfortable behind the wheel. Today I had to fight a few cars, most of the fighting was with George, but that was nice to experience a bit of that consistently. We were lacking more pace than we thought coming into the race, so it was a shame we couldn’t fight more. We have some homework to do, but we still learned a lot which is the main thing."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
"It was a tough day today. We knew that we had outperformed the car yesterday with George and we were prepared to be defensive, but we didn’t think that today would be quite so tough. On a positive note, we got both cars home and we made some clear improvements to the car from last weekend. Our drivers were able to race each other cleanly, and the opportunity to race at the same venue in cooler conditions was very valuable for Nicholas’s understanding of the Pirelli tyres.
"We need to go through everything again in the next couple of days and see where we can find some extra pace for next week in Hungary. There were some good things from this weekend but overall it is clear that the car needs improving in all areas."
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"We had dry conditions for the first time since Friday, although as expected the ambient and track temperatures were lower than those seen during the race last week, making it a comfortable one-stopper even with the two softer compounds. Although there was a free choice of tyres for all drivers at the start this week due to the wet qualifying, the majority still chose to start on the soft, confirming the consistent performance shown by this compound here last weekend. Some drivers stopped twice today to go for the extra point for fastest lap, which was claimed by Carlos Sainz setting a new track record: an indication of the progress that these cars make not only from year to year, but also week to week. We're satisfied with the performance of all the tyres throughout both Austrian race weekends, during which we saw a huge variety of conditions that ranged from torrential rain to track temperatures in excess of 50 degrees".