"The asphalt at the Red Bull Ring offers reasonably low grip on a low-severity circuit, which makes it possible to bring the softest tires in the range. entertainment, at a venue that has often delivered exciting races in the past, thanks to a busy and compact lap that's essentially a series of short corners. Traction and especially braking are key here: with a particular risk of lock-ups in some of the tricky downhill braking areas. Maintaining the performance of the rear tires throughout the lap is also vital to ensure adequate traction. Our tire nomination makes a variety of different potential strategies possible".
"I'm really excited to be back in Spielberg for the Austrian Grand Prix. It's a Sprint and it's one of my favorites on the calendar so it's shaping up to be a nice weekend. Whilst we may not necessarily be fighting for podiums like in the last two years, there is definitely an opportunity for some good points and to have some fun battles . It was great to see so many people in papaya this past weekend and I'm buzzing to see all the orange in the crowd this weekend clearly there supporting McLaren... There's always a great atmosphere and I'm hoping to build on my solid performance at Silverstone. We do still have a lot of work to do but we keep pushing forward and we keep fighting".
"The Austrian Grand Prix is always a fun one. It's a great track in a beautiful location and it's always an exciting race. The past few Sprint races have proven anything is possible so I'm ready to pounce on any opportunities that come my way, as well as creating a few of my own. Whilst the fans were sensational, the British Grand Prix result wasn't what I wanted it to be, and we've got some work to do before this weekend. We're putting in the hours to figure out why we lacked pace and are doing everything we can to get further up the grid in the second half of this season. Hopefully we will make some improvements this weekend and move forward. Let's keep our heads high and keep going".
Staying at McLaren, Piers Thynne, Executive Director, technically analyzes the most critical points of the route, dedicating himself to an estimate of the possible risks and consequences, both in terms of costs and of the team's working hours:
"We've hit the halfway point in the 2022 season and the team is working harder than ever. Working within the cost cap forces teams to work efficiently, and with three grands prix and a tire test to go before the summer break, everyone both at MTC and at track is working hard to give us the best possible chance to score good points over the coming races, particularly with opportunities that may present themselves within the sprint format in Spielberg. There are many elements at play at the Red Bull Ring that we take into consideration when preparing the cars and all parts for the weekend. There are high levels of attrition possible with the harsh curbs which can easily damage components so we have to ensure we have enough spare parts available for all key areas of the car. This is particularly important from a production perspective when taking into consideration the increased risk of damage that comes with the sprint format and it being the second half of a double header, but something we work into our long term plans when preparing for the season so the team are ready to go. The track itself has lots of great features, from the changing gradient and the uphill right-handers to the three fast straights, it will be interesting to see how the new iteration of cars handle at the circuit".
Guenther Steiner, Haas’ Team Principal, comments on the double position in the points area conquered at the British GP and underlines which, albeit with one gaze to the Championship points, the goal is to keep going on this way:
"It was a good surprise to finish with two cars in the top-ten, but we know that the car is able to do it, and the team is able to do it, it's just that the last five races were very difficult . When the opportunity arose this time with the red flag, and we were shifted up a few positions forward, we were not given anything for free . The car was strong, the drivers were strong, so we just capitalized on it and pushed forward. I think it was deserved after quite a few races which were frustrating. July is a very packed month with races. It would be nice to have some more points but as I've said before, I don't want to hype up the expectation now that when we don't score points, we're upset, that's not true. The midfield is very tight together this year and at each race somebody else can get into the points. We need to have a flawless weekend to get into the points because our competitors are strong. Obviously, we will fight for points but if they are not coming there is a race two weeks later in France where we can score points. I think we can potentially score points in each of the races".
He also comments with happiness Mick Schumacher's eighth place:
"I'm pretty happy with a solid P8 and I'm not upset that we didn't achieve seventh. Mick fought for it, but he fought one of the best, if not the best for that position. In the end he brought home P8 and his first points, which is very good".
"I've always said we're not going to introduce upgrades just to introduce them because everybody else does, we go our own way. We'll introduce them when we feel that we have got enough gains that we actually have got something and it's not just a publicity effort. We have a package coming, hopefully if all goes well for Hungary, and that's just before the summer break and hopefully we'll be able to unlock a bit more from the VF22 with that. As we could see, the VF-22 is still strong even with its launch package".
Ultimately, Steiner makes a comment on the much-criticized halo safety device:
“When the addition was proposed, I wouldn't say I was skeptical. I knew what I knew, and I said yes, we can do without it and so on but now I must admit, how can we do without it now. The halo device has helped a lot, not only Zhou in the last race but in a lot of accidents in F2, F3, F1, everywhere. If you say we go without the halo device, now it would be like saying we go without helmets or a HANS device. It's just a part of the safety of Formula 1 cars. Obviously, we have to compliment the FIA as they introduced it and pushed really hard even if some of us were objecting it. It's a very good device and it's now part of our technical regulations".
Kevin Magnussen expresses an opinion about the second Sprint race of the Championship, after the first in Imola:
"Imola was my first Sprint and we had a good weekend, we scored points in both the Sprint and the main race, so it's always nice to have a good first experience so hopefully we can do the same in Austria. I watched them last year and the big question is whether or not you want to take a risk in the Sprint. If you didn't qualify for your position in the main race during the Sprint and instead the qualifying on Friday was your starting position for both the Sprint and the main race, then you would be able to go for it in the Sprint without having to take risks for your starting position. Maybe that could be a solution to make people go for it a bit more in the Sprint".
He also dedicates a comment to the 2018 season, talking about the team's past years’ results on the Austrian circuit:
"It was awesome for the team. It was one of those days where, being such a small team and getting that kind of result with both cars, it felt so great to be that small team with the resources we have, especially at that time, to beat those big teams on that day".
On the possible performance of the single-seater in case of rain argues:
"It seems that we have a good car in the wet. Somehow, it seems more competitive when it's a wet track, so naturally you hope for wet all the time. I did do a lot of karting in the wet as I grew up in Denmark, but I don't think that's why. There's a lot less grip and you feel on the edge in the car in the wet so there's more risk in a way, and it's more exhilarating to drive, it just adds a little more".
Also his teammate Mick Schumacher comments on the Sprint race on the Austrian circuit:
"I'm excited about simply going to Austria. It's a great track, a great venue, and it's always nice. It's good weather usually so I bring my bike and go cycling with the team. I've done sprints a lot in some format in Formula 2 but I like driving free practice sessions and being able to really perfect the car, and then go into qualifying. Everything builds up to that big event whereas I feel with the Sprint you have one free practice, one qualifying and then you go straight into the Sprint itself and sometimes it can feel a bit rushed".
The Haas driver says he greatly appreciates the Red Bull Ring despite the risky turnaround for engine and brake performance:
"First of all, I think it's beautiful - all the mountains and Heidi-esque vibe, it's super cool . a great time with the team last year and I enjoy the mountain area. It's always been a good track to me in some ways, so I'm excited about going back there and hopefully we'll have a good weekend. I think this year more than ever it's a matter of conserving the brakes and trying to maximize what you have. Those things unfortunately don't go hand in hand so you're kind of on the limit of both and it's about what do you prioritize - making the car as quick as it can go or making the car reliable as it can be, so it's up to us to find".
In Aston Martin, Lance Stroll says he finds the Red Bull Ring one of the most funny tracks on the calendar:
"This is a fun little circuit: it is quick and relentless - you are always pushing to the limit to maximise the lap-time. I have had some good results here in the last couple of years, and I feel that we can develop some positive momentum if we can string together a clean weekend. It is easier to pass here than it was at Imola , venue of the last Sprint race, so I hope we will see more action on Saturday afternoon this time around".
The enthusiasm is shared by his teammate Sebastian Vettel:
"This is a really unforgiving circuit - go off the road and you are quickly punished - but that makes it enjoyable because you are always tested. The kerbs are very aggressive - and, with these ground-effect cars, we will definitely need to be extra careful - but I hope we will be more competitive this weekend. The Sprint adds another dimension to the weekend - and the races here are usually eventful - so I am looking forward to getting two shots at it".
"Having now watched the British Grand Prix, it was definitely a brilliant afternoon for motor racing fans and also proof of what a great job the sport has done on the safety front over the years. I'm really happy no one was seriously injured, as it was a scary moment. From our perspective, having worked well to turn things around in Quali and then running as high as seventh in the race, it became another missed opportunity. Teammates should never come together, but on Sunday night, we sat down as a team and discussed it and immediately moved on to planning for this next Grand Prix in Austria. This is a home race for Red Bull, so although there is no extra pressure, everyone in the team is very keen to do well . I've finished in the points three times at the Red Bull Ring. It's a very fast layout, especially the second and third sectors, and it's the type of track that has been a bit complicated for us since the start of the year. On the other hand, we have learned a lot from the races so far and we can try and improve the car under these conditions and make some progress. We will need to have a perfect weekend as, since the start of the season, we have had a few problems, and it will be important to get our package working well on tracks that on paper are not best suited to us. If we do our very best, we can seize opportunities when they come".
"I am glad that we can go racing again after just a few days to put the Silverstone race behind us. The only good moment of that weekend was on Saturday afternoon when we worked well in the wet conditions to qualify better than we had hoped, based on how Friday went. I couldn't do anything about the collision after the start and later unfortunately I had the incident with Pierre. We discussed it as a team and now we move forward. I like all the fun things that Red Bull gets us to do as part of the build up to races, but although this is a home race for the company, I don't think we have too many crazy things planned this year, as Austria is the second race of a back- to-back. We will be fully focussed on making up for the disappointment of Silverstone. I enjoyed this race last year, making it through to Q3 and scoring a point for tenth place. And going further back, I finished second in Formula 2. It's a short lap in terms of time, just over a minute difficult weekend for us, as I'm not sure the high speeds will suit our car that well. Our performance level has been different at various tracks, so you never know what to expect really. It's not a difficult track to set up the car and you run a medium set-up in terms of downforce for the high-speed sections. Looking at how we performed here last year, I expect we could be quite competitive".
Mercedes’ Team Principal Toto Wolff says he is thrilled to return to his home circuit:
"Austria up next! A quick turnaround is always welcome when you're in a learning race and need track time. It was a spectacular weekend at Silverstone, with amazing support and a more competitive showing. That reflects all the hard work to bring upgrades to the car - and a circuit that played to the strengths of our current package. Lewis drove a brilliant race with some epic battles. A better result would have been possible if things had played out differently. George certainly had the pace to make up ground from P8. It was a shame he couldn't race, but we're proud of the character he showed after the incident. I'm looking forward to being back in Austria: it's my home race and a location full of good memories. It's a very different track to Silverstone and one that hasn't always suited us in the past, but the cars have changed drastically since we were last in Spielberg. We'll keep our heads down, prepare the best we can and hopefully we can build momentum from Silverstone".
Alpine’s Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer declares:
"After Silverstone, we've continued closing the gap to fourth place in the Constructors' Championship after Fernando's fifth in the race. Unfortunately, we weren't able to have both cars finish the race due to Esteban's retirement, which we now know was an electrical failure on the high-pressure fuel pump. Esteban was driving a great race and he recovered well from the lap one incident. The upgrades we introduced in Silverstone worked as expected and has given us a boost in on-track performance. Austria is the second Sprint event of the year and we'll have to dial ourselves in quickly with one practice session on Friday before Qualifying and I have every confidence that by Sunday we can come away with strong points. I think we have the ability to go well in Austria, rain or shine. It's the home race of our title partner BWT and we're equally looking forward to being with them over the race weekend and, hopefully, enjoying on-track success together".
Esteban Ocon adds:
"Getting to triple digits in F1 is an achievement any driver would be proud of. You can say it's a number that reflects consistency in the sport and shows I am an established driver with good experience. But not quite as much experience as my teammate, I know! My dream was always to get to Formula 1, so it will feel good to say that I have taken part in 100 races with many more to come. But the focus is to have a smooth weekend with a good result on Sunday after the personal disappointment of Silverstone. I'm excited to come back to another classic track. It's a very picturesque place to race cars with a relatively short lap compared to other tracks we go to".
Fernando Alonso concludes:
"Silverstone was a good result for us and I enjoyed battling near the front in the closing laps. We have to be happy with fifth. I think it was my best weekend so far in terms of our overall competitiveness and the result . I hope we can pick-up where we left off at Silverstone. It's a back to back so we have to keep up the energy levels. Luckily the races aren't too far apart so the travel isn't a huge factor on this double header. As the lap is short at the Red Bull Ring it's always very close and Qualifying is usually tight between a number of cars. One small error or loss of time can be the difference between Q2 and Q3. It's also a Sprint Qualifying weekend and I think the track will be quite good for this format because overtaking is possible there. I want to keep scoring points".
In Williams, Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, reflects on the difficulties the team had after the damage suffered from Albon’s single- seater in the last race:
"Having damaged Alex's car at the race start last weekend, coming straight into a Sprint Event is logistically difficult. However, we have been able to repair or replace much of Alex's car such that we can continue to understand the updates during FP1 on Friday. There is very little time to change the car before it passes into Parc Ferme at a Sprint Event and so we will need to be bold going into FP1 if we are to continue to push the performance. The layout of the circuit is more challenging than is perhaps apparent from the track map, with the tight low-speed corners contrasting heavily with the faster infield corners at T6/7. The significant elevation changes add to the challenge and make some of the braking zones tricky. Finally, the kerbs are very tempting for the drivers but can damage the cars if they are abused . The weather forecast is calling for relatively cool conditions, which should make setting the cooling level ahead of qualifying more straightforward than it might have been in more usual hot conditions . Even so, setting the cooling level for the race on Friday afternoon remains a tricky risk-reward game, which all teams must face".
"It's obviously disappointing we didn't get to properly test the new upgrade last week, however looking forward to Austria, I know the team has been working hard to make the repairs, so we'll be ready to test it further and gather more data. With the sprint race it does limit our practice time, but it will be good to get back out there and see what we can do with the car".
His teammate, Nicholas Latifi, declares:
"I'm looking forward to getting going in Austria with the second Sprint race weekend of the year. I'm a fan of these weekends as it's exciting to change up the normal format. We're carrying some good momentum after a positive weekend at Silverstone. I'm looking to hit the ground running and as always that FP1 session will be crucial. We have plenty of data around that track from before, so I expect us to be in good shape. Hopefully we can take advantage of the difference in format that the Sprint event produces and have a solid weekend".
In Alfa Romeo, Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur states:
"This weekend in Austria is an opportunity to bounce back after Silverstone and get immediately back to the level we have shown so far this year. We can build on the positives from last week - our pace, that was allowing us to fight well within the points, and the performance we have shown across the weekend. I am confident we can make another step forward and fight at the front of the midfield: the Sprint Qualifying also offers us an extra opportunity to bring home points . As always, we will need to be sharp and we will need to execute every session to our best: but we know the spirit of this team is high and we're ready for the challenge ahead".
Valtteri Bottas remembers when he got his first podium in Austria:
"I have very fond memories of Spielberg, the place where I scored my first Formula One podium back in 2014 and a race I won twice. I always enjoy my time in Austria, just like I enjoy driving this track: the landscape around here, with the mountains framing the circuit, is beautiful. The fans, as well, are incredibly passionate, and I always feel their support when driving here. Last weekend in Silverstone was a tough one for us, as it was a day in which we had the pace to score many points: it was important to regroup and get back to where we belong right away. We analyzed what went wrong last Sunday, and I'm positive we will be able to fight for points and recover what we lost last weekend. We know it's going to be a matter of small details, as always, but we are confident".
Zhou Guanyu, after the scary crash in Silverstone, declares:
"The moment I left Silverstone last Sunday, I was already looking forward to getting back into the car. It was a big crash, and once again I am grateful for the safety improvements of recent years which allowed me to walk away with no injury: but that is now in the past and I'm only focusing on the weekend here in Austria. Our performance in Britain looked promising, the car felt good, so I can't wait to pick up where we left off after Quali last weekend and give a good account of ourselves on track. We have Sprint Qualifying this weekend, my second ever after Imola , and I'm looking forward to that as well - it's a good opportunity for us to put ourselves in a good place for Sunday".
After the latest discussions on strategies at Ferrari, the statements come directly from Inaki Rueda, Head of Strategy and Sporting, who analyzes the characteristics of the Red Bull Ring and the possible developments of the second Sprint race of the season:
"Spielberg has several straights, each of them featuring a DRS zone, making it the easiest venue of the year for overtaking. The middle section puts a lot of stress on the tires as the corners come thick and fast, which leads to high degradation. Another characteristic of this track is the kerbs , which are very high, especially between turns 7 and 9, which poses a threat to wings and floors. This year, with the cars so near to the ground, the drivers will have to pay particular attention when riding them, to avoid damaging the car beyond repair. The most significant aspect of the Sprint format is how little time there is to prepare, because there is only one free practice session prior to qualifying and the car configuration cannot be changed from the moment it takes to the track in Q1. The Saturday race is usually a not very spectacular procession, but the track characteristics and the greater number of points on offer this season, could lead to more overtaking than usual. So the Grand Prix starting grid could look quite different to Saturday's".
Then, he analyzes the possible strategies of the weekend:
"From a strategy point of view, Spielberg lends itself to a race with more than one stop, particularly as Pirelli is bringing its three softest compounds - C3, C4, C5. The inherently high degradation of these tires, along with the ease of overtaking, could produce a photo-finish, of the sort we see in motorcycle racing at this track. I expect a lot of changes of position, including for the lead, all the way to the checkered flag".
Charles Leclerc talks about the last race weekend:
"After the race in Silverstone, Binotto he was actually pissed off at me because I was too down, and so he was trying to cheer me up. Everybody was wondering why he was putting the finger like this, but I think he was just frustrated to see me so down after such a great race. On the other hand, it’s obviously understandable, he understood my disappointment - leading the race and finishing fourth".
Then, he comments on the teams’ choices:
"If the team has to chose between me and Carlos? It is not my choice, you have to ask it to Mattia. We just have to make sure that this type of thing doesn’t happen too much in a season and for me, it’s more the accumulation in the last five races that is hard to take, because the reliability issues and the different issues that we’ve had in the last races means that I haven’t even been on the podium in the last five races, so it’s not easy".
"I am as motivated as I was before.I’m coming into this weekend with full confidence that we can have a great weekend, and looking long-term, I still believe as much as I did [that we can win] the championships. I feel the support of the team. It hasn’t gone our way in the last few races but again I think internally we are working as hard as ever. To give the details outside is difficult and I don’t want to go into that but we are definitely going into absolutely everything to make our situation better".
Carlos Sainz talks about the team’s work:
"I think Ferrari is doing a great work, from the last year we can see big progress, with the engine and the car as a whole. And not by chance: every decision is calculated. I live the team from the inside, so I see a good engineers staff and drivers’ couple. Undoubtely at a certain point we will have to bet on one and this is clear both to Carlos and Charles. They know that there is no driver more important than Ferrari".
Looking back at Silverstone, Sainz says that his teammate behaved like a gentleman following the Grand Prix, despite seeing a likely victory taken from him due to a Ferrari strategy decision:
"Ferrari won, I won, so for sure it was not the wrong decision. At that time, in the car, I did perfectly know what I had to do in order to not put Charles in a compromised position but also to give Ferrari a race win, that is what the team cares the most about. I think everything I did was sensible at the end. I didn’t put Charles under unnecessary risk or pressure while overtaking him, knowing that I was going to overtake him fairly easily on the soft. I pulled away, won the race for Ferrari and I think it was a good outcome in the end. On Sunday, it was a relatively short briefing because we had to leave to the airport and take the group picture. I think Charles had the anti-doping control, so we couldn’t share the briefing together. But like always he behaved like the gentleman like he is and the briefing went normally like the way it should go. The way it goes when I have a bad race is also a normal briefing and the way it goes when he has a bad race is a normal briefing. There was no unusual things from the car apart from maybe some extra understeer that I wasn't expecting. I think there's a compromise to be found, because in the end, there's a lot of new places that are, I guess, paying quite a lot of money to be part of F1".
Red Bull Motorsports Advisor and Head of Driver Development, Dr. Helmut Marko, has been key to Red Bull's ascension to the top of Formula 1. His development of talented young drivers has delivered five world drivers 'titles combined for Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel and four constructors' Championships. The former F1 driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner reveals how to identify exceptional talent and carve them into World Champions. About Verstappen, the 79-year-old says:
"He had a very good - but also very tough - upbringing from his father. That's what shaped him".
An early marker of exceptional qualities in young talent for Dr. Marko was Verstappen's continued training when others retired:
"In Italy, you can practice karting all year round, and as soon as it starts raining, everyone heads to the cafeteria. Max was the only one who had to stay outside and keep practicing".
Dr. Marko believes that getting the drivers on track as early as possible is crucial to train and refine their skills once talent is identified. Although sometimes, a rare young talent comes along that is so bright that entry criteria should be re-evaluated. He adds:
"After Max drove his first F1 race at the age of 17, they've added a clause that says you must be at least 18. I think the age limit is wrong. If you have the right training and talent, you could even do it at 16".
There is a fine line at the elite level between race winners and World Champions, and the timing of team promotion from the junior team to senior team is another crucial factor behind Verstappen's rise. He explains:
"There was an outcry because some felt Carlos ( Sainz Jr.) had been overlooked. His development was also very good, and the difference between the two was often very minimal, but despite having less experience, Max was the faster driver , hence our decision to move him to Red Bull Racing. Carlos was simply unlucky enough to have Max as a teammate".
When talent and skills are honed and committed to muscle memory in a highly competitive field, maturity behind the wheel becomes pivotal in the evolution from race winner to World Champion. Dr. Marko notes:
"Since his first victory (in his 2016 Red Bull Racing debut at the Spanish GP), Max has undergone an incredible growing-up process. Now he can prioritize what is important and accepts what he can't change. When he was younger, he used to swear like a trooper".
Part of that maturity is about mantaining precision and control in a high-stress environment. He explains:
"Driving against Max Verstappen is surely no fun. He takes everything to the limit, no matter what the conditions because he has incredible car control. For example, in the rain in Brazil [in 2016], there was a moment where the car went sideways at 300kph, but he managed to regain control".
Dr. Marko emphasizes the importance of pairing a teammate that compliments their talents and allows for collaboration that plays to their strengths as key to the overall team success. The introduction of the Mexican Sergio Pérez helped to take Verstappen to the next level:
"Max can drive any car fast. That's why having Sergio Pérez as his teammate is perfect. Checo doesn't try to fight but does everything he can, and that can lead to victory as it did in Baku last season. The two work very well together".
His intense battles with Mercedes from 2016 to 2021 helped Verstappen to hone his talent and his hunger to win against his fiercest rival. As a result, he finally became the Formula 1 World Champion after a clash of the titans season against Mercedes' eight-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton - a battle that came down to the final lap of the final race of the 2021 season:
"I've been at Red Bull Racing for almost 20 years, and I'd never before experienced such a - I want to say - war-like atmosphere as there was between Mercedes and us last season".
Finally, Dr. Marko draws comparisons from another F1 era:
"In terms of character, commitment, self-confidence and charisma, I'd compare him to Ayrton Senna".
Once reaching a career pinnacle, the strategy inevitably evolves to defense, achieved through understanding the evolving approach of your competitors and sustaining elite-level performance. For Verstappen, the 2022 season is very different from the last:
"The current battle with Charles Leclerc is on a different level from the one with (Lewis) Hamilton. They're the same generation and know each other from their karting days. Dueling with Ferrari is also emotionally different from dueling with Mercedes. We have a similar approach. We're both passionate fighters. I can see him (Verstappen) driving at this level for another decade".
"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".
"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".
Krack is echoed by Lance Stroll:
"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".
"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".
Zhou Guanyu is still recovering after his brutal crash in Silverstone and needs to get reacquainted to what is effectively a new car:
"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".
The last driver excluded from Q2 is Canadian Nicholas Latifi, without question the worst qualifier of the season so far. The Williams driver, however, does not lose his hopes for a good performance in the upcoming races of the weekend:
"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 more optimistic going into the Sprint despite the lack of pace. Hopefully there will be some opportunities tomorrow".
As usual, Ferrari and Red Bull go for their first attempt in Q2 with used tyres, while the other teams have a chance to shine by setting faster times with new tyres. Haas appears to be in great shape, placing both cars in the top 10, with Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen in P6 and P7 respectively. On the other hand, the drivers who are struggling the most are Pérez, currently eliminated, and Norris, who is fighting a personal battle with track limits and has not been able to set a valid lap time yet. After the first attempt, it is Lewis Hamilton who leads the classification (1'05"475), confirming Mercedes’s improvement after Silverstone. With new tyres hierarchies are restored: Leclerc sets the fastest time (1'05"287), followed by Verstappen, Hamilton, Sainz, and Russell. With a last desperate attempt, Pérez clinches P6 while Norris sees his umpteenth lap time deleted and is out of Q3 in P15:
"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".
With both of his drivers failing to reach the last qualifying session, Andrea Stella sums up a tough Friday:
"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".
Alex Albon (12th) goes further than his teammate but once again cannot make his way to Q3:
"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. 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".
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance for Williams Racing, sees some improvements:
"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".
"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, 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".
His Japanese teammate is on a completely different page:
"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 for AlphaTauri, reminds us of how frantic a Sprint weekend can be for an F1 team and also explains the strategy adopted in qualifying:
"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".
A disappointed Valtteri Bottas, the other driver out of Q3, aims at a strong race on Saturday as he is conscious of the difficult GP he is called to participate in on Sunday:
"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".
Frédéric Vasseur, Alfa Romeo’s Team Principal, recriminates over an imperfect balance of the car, which has led to poor performance:
"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".
Drama unfolds at the beginning of Q3: in his last attempt to get access to the third qualifying session Pérez exceeds track limits at Turn 8 but race direction realizes that only after the chequered flag has been flown. Therefore, the Mexican is under investigation but can take part in Q3, where Mercedes may finally have a chance to get pole position, but a huge, unexpected twist will turn the Anglo-German team’s Friday into a nightmare as both cars crash in two different points of the track. With two excellent intermediates in his bag during his first attempt, Hamilton goes out and hits the barrier at turn 7 due to the opposite lock effect after losing control of the car:
"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".
The red flag is out, and the British driver is taken to the medical centre. After the first run Verstappen (1'05"092) leads ahead of Leclerc, Sainz, Perez, and Russell. At 6:05 p.m. the session resumes, but Russell loses the rear of his car approaching Turn 10 and hits the barrier like his teammate:
"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".
"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".
"I’m very pleased with our Qualifying result today finishing in sixth place. It felt like the car really came alive during Q2 and Q3 after a fairly challenging Free Practice and Q1. We’re in a good position for the Sprint Qualifying tomorrow and hopefully we can firstly solidify our grid position for the main race and secondly take some valuable points. There is room to improve, and we still need to assess the car on high fuel, which we’ll do in tomorrow’s Free Practice 2. I’m feeling optimistic that we can have two good races and, in order to do so, we must remain focused".
His teammate Fernando Alonso is 9th (then promoted to 8th):
"The car felt very competitive today and it was good to be in Q3 again. However, I had a broken floor after I ran wide on my first lap in Q3, so we lost some performance with the damage. I think before that damage occurred, we were looking at the top five or six positions today, which would have been great for the Sprint tomorrow. From ninth place, our aim will be to recover some places tomorrow, which I’m sure we can achieve. Generally, it’s been a competitive Friday for us, so I’m hopeful we can have some fun in Sprint Qualifying and in the race on Sunday afternoon and claim some big points".
Alan Permane, Alpine’s Sporting Director, expresses satisfaction for the overall performance of his team:
"We can be relatively happy with today’s Qualifying performance with Esteban in sixth and Fernando in ninth. Looking at how the session progressed, I think sixth and seventh was probably the best we could have achieved had things panned out in our favour, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Esteban has been solid today and improved lap after lap, session by session, which built him up nicely through to his last run in Q3. Fernando can count himself slightly unfortunate after damaging the floor during his first run in Q3, which compromised some performance. We will, of course, be able to repair that ahead of tomorrow’s Sprint. We’re happy with how the car has performed today and we’re in a great position to score points with both cars in tomorrow’s Sprint Qualifying and Sunday’s race".
Another team capable of placing both its drivers in top ten is Haas, which is enjoying a great shape in Austria, as pointed out by Team Principal Guenther Steiner:
"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".
Kevin Magnussen manages to beat Schumacher, who has been consistently fast for the whole weekend so far, and places himself in 7th position:
"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 and I’m not super happy, so that’s a very good position to be in".
A positive day for young Mick Schumacher but with things to improve:
"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".
Ferrari display a strong performance and challenges Red Bull as the car to beat on Austrian soil. The drivers of the Prancing Horse have been beaten by Verstappen, but the difference with the Anglo-Austrian team is minimal and every lap will be a fierce fight. Laurent Mekies, Racing Director, states:
"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".
"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".
While Carlos Sainz shows more satisfaction:
"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 Grand Prix on Sunday, as we have a strong pace. We’ll prepare as best as possible and fight for a good result".
"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".
"When I saw Carlos going in and not Charles I was surprised. I thought that the best opportunity would have been given to the leading car, but that was not the case. I don’t know if they made a mistake. But it is sure that this episode changed the race’s result and that they talked about it".
Fernando Alonso, fifth in England, is of the same mind. For him, Ferrari missed the chance to do a double:
"Every team wants to do 1-2. In Silverstone, looking back at the race, Ferrari could do a double very easily. The misfortune was to have Safety Car at that moment. They took the decision in 15 seconds and sometimes you can’t do everything well. Anyway, they won".
During the Team Principals’ press conference, also Mattia Binotto talks about the past weekend:
"Charles was very, very disappointed and frustrated and unhappy, as we are. I think his disappointment is our disappointment. When I cross him he was going to the interview and I was going to the podium. I saw him so disappointed and simply told him that he should have a smile because he's a fantastic driver. He is a champion. He proved once again how strong he is. Overall, I think we did, once again, a good weekend. We knew that Red Bull would have brought significant upgrades. We had a few upgrades as well. If I look back at the previous seasons on the wet, we never been really very fast. And this is showing again that this car is great. It’s a competitive car, whatever the conditions".
Then, he answers to a specific question and explains the Ferrari’s pit wall’s actions:
"As first what we are trying to do each single race is try to maximise the team points, because obviously there is too close two championships which are the constructors and the drivers. So by maximising the team points when I'm pretty sure that we are as well maximising the drivers’ opportunity".
For the drivers a gerarchy has been not established yet, as the Italian engineer underlines:
"I'm pretty happy to see those two drivers fighting.
Going back to the meeting in Monte-Carlo with Charles Leclerc, he tells:
"Charles was in Monaco, it has been a back-to-back, the best opportunity for me to meet him was simply to go there and we've been there, we had dinner, we're laughing together on what we're reading in the newspapers, because we knew that was completely wrong".
"What’s going on with the engine?"
Asks Leclerc to his team but the they tell him that he can push. He tries again and scores +0.992 in the second sector and completes in 1'10"309 in P4, behind Russell (+0.274). also Stroll tries again and improves in P9 (+1.587), while his teammate goes P12 (1'10"958). Albon climbs up in P6, making the two McLaren slip one position per each. Latifi takes P12 (+1.910). Ricciardo tries again, scores +0.377 in the first sector, +0.785 in the second but he raises his foot and leaves the track through the pit lane. Ocon completes a new lap in P6 (+0.755) and Fernando Alonso is driving through the third sector and scores +0.429, climbing up to P4. At 30 minutes to the end of the FP2, only Hamilton has not scored a time yet. We did see that overtake press, says Russell to his team radio. Perez climbs up to P5 in 1.09.421, followed by Leclerc and Norris, who just completed his lap (+0.062). I just have no grip, sliding around a lot, says Russell to his team. Alonso climbs up to P2 at 2 tenths from Verstappen (+0.282). Russell tries again, completes his lap in 1'10"171, and takes P6, followed by Leclerc (+0.601). Magnussen on soft tyres takes P13 (+1.576) and Leclerc on soft tyres improves and takes the lead in FP2 with 1'08"660. Bottas scores +0.167 in the first sector, compared to Leclerc’s 17.530sec., +0.269 in the second, compared to Leclerc’s 47.991, and completes in 1'09"251 in P8. At 20 minutes to the end of FP2, Hamilton shows up at the garage where the mechanics are completing his car, meanwhile, Verstappen scores the fastest first sector (17.126) and Alonso completes his lap in 1'08"832 going third. Schumacher takes P14 in 1'09"896, Sainz scores 17.097 in the first sector, 30.825 in the second, and completes in 1'08"610, taking the lead of the rank with his teammate at +0.050. Russell on medium tyres tries again; from P7, he completes in 1'09"260, taking P7. Finally, Hamilton is out of the garage ready to start his first lap in the last quarter of FP2. Hamilton on soft tyres gets +0.173 in the first sector, +0.171 in the second, goes on the straight at high speed around 240 km/h, and completes in 1'09"350 in P9.
Norris on medium tyres tries again, he gets +1.489 in the second sector but he raises his foot and goes back to the garage. Sainz tries to improve his time. He gets +0.987 in the second sector and completes in +1.279, without improving his time but maintaining P1. Leclerc on soft tyres, with which he already made a lap, starts again: in Turn 9, he makes a little mistake and goes long but manages to come back to the track. He scores +0.756 in the first sector, +0.836 in the second, and completes in 1'09"815 in P2 at a +0.050 to his teammate. Hamilton tries again and scores +0.607 in the first sector, +0.808 in the second, and completes in 1.09.659 in P9, with a personal best in his final sector. Vettel says to his team “Check exit of Turn 10. Last lap I might’ve lost a piece”, as he saw a piece of carbon flying down to the track from his car. Two minutes to the end of FP2 and Perez tries again. He gets +0.177 in the second sector but he raises his foot from the pedal and comes back to the garage. The checked flag appears on the circuit and the session of FP2 stops.Sainz has imposed the pace with 1:08.610s, after completing 40 laps. Leclerc is right behind him (+ 0.050) with 43 laps completed. Verstappen is in P3 (+ 0.168), followed by Alonso (+ 0.222) and his teammate Ocon (+ 0.238). Pérez went sixth (+ 0.569), followed by Russell (+ 0.630), Bottas (+ 0.641), Hamilton (+0.740), and Lando Norris (+ 0.909). Stroll is in P11 (+ 0.915), with Gasly behind (+ 0.969). Vettel is in P13 (+ 0.992), followed by Zhou Guanyu (+ 1.055), Schumacher (+ 1.090), Albon (+ 1.130), Ricciardo (+ 1.242), Magnussen (+ 1.350), Tsunoda (+ 1.395), and Latifi (1'10"26). After a few hours, it is time for the teams to get serious with the Sprint Race. Drivers will take the grid position according to the position they gained during the qualifying. Points will be awarded for the first eight positions. Some clouds appear at the back of the track but it seems that the weather is still good. All the drives are on medium tyres except for the two Aston Martins and Albon’s Williams.
Alonso seems to have some problems with his car as the yellow flag indicates: he seems stuck on track, so mechanics take him out. In the meantime, the drivers start the formation lap. The Oranges turn on the orange smoke bombs when Verstappen passes in front of them. All drivers align into the grid except for Zhou, whose car stops before arriving to its position, therefore, drivers are forced to make another formation lap. Zhou’s car seems to work again but he has to start the race from the pit lane. Finally, the drivers complete the formation lap and the greenlight turn on to let Austria’ Sprint Race begin. Max Verstappen makes a good start but Leclerc gets really close to his car. Carlos Sainz passes his teammate and challenges Verstappen but makes a little mistake in Turn 2 as he brakes too soon and lets Leclerc pass again in P2. Lewis Hamilton is squeezed by Gasly’s car and hits the AlphaTauri’s rear left tyre. The car jumps and spins outside the circuit. Luckily, Gasly is not harmed and the car seems good, so he gets back to the race. On lap 2, Verstappen is leading the Sprint Race, followed by Leclerc and Sainz, while Russell manages to get P4, followed by Ocon, who gains a position in the meantime. Magnussen and Schumacher gain a position per each and Perez is unlucky as he jumps from P4 to P8, followed by Bottas and Albon. Hamilton loses a position, while the two Mclarens gain one position per each. At the back of the race, there are the two Aston Martin cars, Tsunoda, Latifi, Gasly, and Zhou, while Alonso can not take part in the Sprint Race. On lap 4, Verstappen makes the fastest lap in 1'08"654, Hamilton manages to pass Albon and takes P11. Norris tries to get benefit from this and engages Albon in a fight for P12, but the Williams driver gets defensive and does not leave Norris pass, forcing him out of the track. Ocon passes Magnussen after fighting with him. On lap 6, Leclerc makes the fastest lap. Verstappen is at more than two seconds from Leclerc and Sainz, who almost drives in copy.
The two Ferrari drivers start to fight for P2: Sainz tries to pass Leclerc up to Turn 3, risking hitting his car but the Monegasque resists and fights back. Norris passes his teammate and takes back P12. On lap 8, Lewis Hamilton passes his ex-teammate Bottas up to Turn 3 taking P9 and starts to get close to Perez. On lap 9, cars can use the DRS, so Schumacher tries to pass Magnussen, while Perez tries to benefit from the battle between the two Haas cars by getting in-between and sticking in the inside in order to get P7. The Mexican seems unstoppable and engages Magnussen; on the straight he easily passes him andmoves to the sixth spot after two laps. Suddenly the yellow flag appears in the second sector as Vettel goes out of the track at Turn 6 after Albon hit his rear left wheel. The German driver tries to reverse his car and finally manages to come back to the track. Meanwhile Perez reaches the back of Ocon’s car and has the chance to use the DRS, so he easily passes the Alpine and takes P5. However, Ocon seems unwilling to give up and gets close to the Red Bull. In the lead, Verstappen seems to drive in a solo race, with the two Ferraris far enough to not bother him; beyond them, Magnussen, Schumacher and Hamilton are engaging in an incredible battle for the P8. It seems that drivers are driving in separate races today. Hamilton puts Schumacher in his sights and tries to pass him with DRS, however, Schumacher is getting defensive. Hamilton tries to pass him, they enter the corner wheel-to-wheel but the German manages to resist. The driver of Mercedes number 44, who is in P9, seems unwilling to give up and lose the points the P8 could award him and sticks behind the Haas. However, the two Haas cars are implementing a team dynamic to do their best to leave Hamilton behind and are working together very effectively.
On one side, Magnussen is not pulling away from Schumacher to allow him to use the DRS to be enough fast to resist Hamilton and on the other, Schumacher gets close enough to Magnussen but without fighting and passing him. On lap 15, Leclerc gets again the fastest lap. Verstappen keeps being far from the Ferrari, while Sainz is close to his teammate but does not challenge him. Far from the two Ferraris, there is Russell, who is driving a solo race. On lap 17, a battle for the P15 starts between Zhou and Gasly, while Hamilton keeps putting pressure on Schumacher’s car. At Turn 4, Hamilton tries to pass again the Haas through the outside but the German resists the pressure. The car ahead has gone off at least 4 times in front of me, says Hamilton to his team. On lap 20, at three laps to the end, Schumacher does not have DRS in contrast to Hamilton, so Lewis passes him on the inside and puts his Mercedes in between of the two Haas cars, awarding temporarily P8. Schumacher does not give up, uses the DRS, and passes again Hamilton at Turn 7. The German asks to his team radio to tell Magnussen, who is at 1.489s from Schumacher, not to pull his teammate, otherwise, he would be under great pressure in these last two laps. Next to Hamilton, there is Bottas trying to take P8. A black and white flag arrives for Tsunoda due to track limits. On lap 22, Hamilton tries to pass again Schumacher. The two drivers are wheel-to-wheel again but Lewis manages to pass, as Schumacher makes a little mistake before entering Turn 5. Mick does not want to give up and gets closer to Hamilton’s rear but there is not enough time. Verstappen starts in the final lap, passes in front of his supporters, crosses the finish line, and wins the Sprint Race. Leclerc is behind and, on the radio, the Team Principal Mattia Binotto compliments him and agrees with track engineer Xavier Marcos that there is the right pace to fight tomorrow. Charles confirms that, but says that:
"It is important to keep calm during the first laps, because I was managing tyres".
The fight between the two Ferrari drivers confirmed what Binotto said: the team orders will start after the summer break, with the Belgian Grand Prix. Russell arrives easily in P4, followed by Perez, Ocon and Magnussen. Hamilton succeeds to take the points awarded for P8, with Schumacher at this back after an intense battle for the position. Bottas is in P10, followed by Norris and Ricciardo’s Mclaren. Stroll takes P13, followed by Zhou, Gasly, Albon, Tsunoda, Latifi and Vettel, who has to come back to the garage before the end of the race. On Sunday the drivers will start from the position gained in the Sprint Race. Verstappen jumps out from his car, waves at his supporters, and goes to congrats with Leclerc, before getting ready for the interviews. Max Verstappen explains that today’s strategy was about pulling enough gap between him and the two Ferrari cars and then maintaining the pace:
"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 is satisfied with his performance:
"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".
Charles Leclerc is happy with his outcomes:
"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 is of the same mind:
"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, Ferrari’s Racing Director, finds that today’s race confirms that there is just a little gap between Red Bull and Ferrari:
"It was important to verify this in race conditions and I’d say that this afternoon’s 23 laps confirmed it. The positive news of this Sprint is having seen our cars very close to Max in terms of absolute pace. We had feedback on qualifying and we knew we were very close. It’s good thinking about tomorrow which, in racing conditions, we were running at the same pace. The race will be long, we know we have the pace to fight. There are always positive and negative aspects from an internal battle. The positive side is to have two very competitive drivers who could keep a very high pace. Then you can’t control a start or what happens on the first lap, you would never be able to. There are dynamics specific to each race and they have overtaken each other a couple of times. Charles was trying to save tires in the first phase of the race and so that’s something we will work on better with both drivers for tomorrow’s race. Max initially used his tires to break away from the DRS zone. It’s a compromise between how kind you are with the tire in the first few laps and how much you can attack at the end. He certainly chose a compromise different from ours. We went slower at the beginning and then got closer at the end of the stint".
On tomorrow, he agrees that there will be a tough battle and the outcome is far from decided:
"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. Also tomorrow on tracks like this with high degradation it will be something we will focus on every stint to try to be ahead at the end of the race. We are undoubtedly in a position to fight, but they are very strong. Sergio Perez has recovered and will be part of the fight tomorrow. It will be a two against two, but we are here for that, the car is competitive again on this track".
George Russell thanks with his team for their effort in getting the car ready for today. He recognises that there was a bigger gap than expected with Red Bull and Ferrari in terms of performance:
"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 says:
"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 bit thank you to them and I'm glad I brought it back mostly in one piece".
Then, he comments what happened with Gasly at Turn 1:
"I didn't have a good start, then Pierre moved across on me at Turn One. 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 Three with a Williams and Red Bull. I got some sort of damage, but at least could continue".
He explains that, after that, he just tried to carry on and, since the Mercedes is slower on the straight, he had to struggle a bit to pass Schumacher:
"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 is a bit disappointed with the cars’ performance in terms of speed:
"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".
Says Andrew Shovlin, the trackside engineering director at the Mercedes:
"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 One, 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".
Esteban Ocon is satisfied with his P6:
"I am definitely very satisfied with sixth place in today’s Sprint. We had a decent start and managed to stay ahead of Kevin [Magnussen] in the first couple of laps, before building a healthy advantage over both Haas’. The Mercedes of George [Russell] was too quick for us and so, in the end, I feel we maximised today, securing a good starting position on the grid for tomorrow’s Grand Prix and also picking up some points along the way. One more lap today and it could’ve been a different story, as I was forced to stop the car at Turn 1 during the in-lap. The team are currently looking into what happened and I’m confident we can be ready for tomorrow".
In contrast, Fernando Alonso is frustrated as he was not able to drive during the Sprint race:
"It’s a frustrating feeling not being able to start today’s Sprint. We couldn’t switch on the car on the grid, so we moved into the pit lane and then we tried an external battery, but there were still no signs of it switching on and we had to retire. The problem seems to be something electrical, and we are still investigating it. Unfortunately, despite driving very competitively this year, I’ve had some bad luck too. Hopefully we can change round our fortune tomorrow and we’ll see what we can do in the race".
Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine’s Team Principal finds that today’s race did not match the team’s expectations:
"Unfortunately, today’s Sprint Race did not play out to our expectations and we have not been able to capitalise on a good Qualifying performance from yesterday. While it’s a great result for Esteban to start in sixth place for tomorrow’s race, we’re disappointed not to give Fernando the opportunity to start today’s Sprint".
On Ocon, he finds that he had reached a good result, while he is disappointed for what happened to Alonso:
"It looks like an electrical issue on his car, which led to his A522 not firing up on the grid, in the pit lane or in the garage. We will assess the cause and also the options we have on his car ahead of tomorrow’s race. Esteban showed some good pace today and we have some useful knowledge on the tyres, which we’ll utilise to aid our strategy tomorrow. All is certainly not lost. Esteban has a great chance for some solid points tomorrow and, with Fernando, you can never say never, and I’m sure he will push hard to finish inside the top ten".
Kevin Magnussen is happy with his performance:
"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 and I’m not super happy, so that’s a very good position to be in".
Mick Schumacher finds that:
"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, Haas F1 Team, adds:
"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".
Says Valtteri Bottas:
"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 explains what happened to his car, which switched off in the last corner at the end of the formation lap:
"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".
However, he is satisfied with today’s race:
"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, Alfa Romeo’s Team Principal, says Valtteri Bottas had a strong performance as he avoided a tangle in front of him and reached the top ten:
"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".
On Zhou’s performance, he says the drivers was:
"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".
Lando Norris is overall happy with the team’s performance as they were able to climb to the top ten:
"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".
Daniel Ricciardo finds that they were able to climb the rank and they had a better pace than the pace of a few of the cars in front:
"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".
Andreas Seidl is satisfied with the team’s work:
"We hit the ground running today, following a lot of hard work overnight to solve the issues that affected us yesterday".
He explains that their goal for the Sprint was to gain some positions in order to have a better spot for tomorrow’s Grand Prix:
"We managed that very well".
On tomorrow’s race, he says that they are looking to move up further positions and 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".
Lance Stroll finds that today’ Sprint was good for him:
"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 [Valtteri] 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".
His teammate Vettel comments on the contact he had with Albon in Turn 6:
"I think [Alex] Albon was a bit optimistic when we were fighting in Turn Six 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".
He feels frustrated as they have made some good progress as they chose the best tyres strategy:
"There is still a long race ahead of us and we will try our best to move up the order tomorrow".
Mike Krack, Team Principal is happy with Stroll’s performance. On Vettel, he says:
"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".
Pierre Gasly is disappointed with today’s outcomes as he started in the top 10 and he finished behind before the first corner:
"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".
He expects a long race tomorrow, thus his team will need to work hard tonight to get his car ready. His teammate Yuki Tsunoda found hard today’s race, as he did not have pace and the car was slower than the others:
"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".
Technical Director Jody Egginton finds that today was disappointing for all the team. On Gasly, he explains that his car had some damage after the contact with Hamilton, 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:
"A very disappointing race for everyone in the team. Pierre and Lewis had contact into T1 on the opening 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".
On Tsunoda, he finds that he had a good but he lost positions to both McLarens and Aston Martins and was unable to retrieve them, because he had issues with the balance of his car:
“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".
Dave Robson, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance is of the same mind:
"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".
Alex Albon is frustrated as he had a good start but then he had to avoid a crash, which made him lose positions. He says that he struggled with the pace in general especially when he was following other cars due also to the wind conditions:
"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; 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".
Says Nicholas Latifi:
"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".
Finally, Mario Isola gives his thoughts on teams’ strategies regarding the tyres:
"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".
At the Press Conference after the Sprint Race, Max Verstappen doesn’t hide his excitement:
"Yeah, it was great to see, got a lot of smoke at the end, all the orange. But it was alright, it was, I think, a decent race. We had a good pace in the beginning. I think after that, you know, we were very closely matched. So yeah, it was good. It was, you know, like a sprint should go, quite flat out. In the first few laps they were also fighting a little bit, so I had a bit of a gap. And after that, I think we were quite similar in pace. So I do expect tomorrow that it's going to be a very interesting battle again. Of course, you know, the race is going to be quite a lot longer, so it's going to be quite tricky on tyres. I think the car is good. Just a few things to fine tune but overall we've been really competitive again this weekend".
Charles Leclerc is focused on tyre management, but he thinks he had the right pace:
"I think tomorrow is going to be a long race and tyre management will be quite a bit more important compared to today. So probably tomorrow we cannot afford to do what we did today, no. My start was pretty good. After that it was quite tricky with Max. And then I lost the place to Carlos, but I managed to regain the place in Turn 3. And then I was trying to manage my tyres for the end of the race, but it wasn't enough to catch Max at the end. I don't know for the rules of engagement. Obviously, we are not the one to decide. It will be more Mattia. Yeah, I mean, we've lost a little bit of time, but I felt like we were strong towards the end".
Ferrari’s Team Principal Mattia Binotto is happy to see the two drivers fight:
"As a team, you always have to make the wisest move because the team always comes first. But I am very happy to see my two drivers fight. If we had only one outstanding driver we would give them priority, but that's not the situation right now. Our strategy is to get as many points as possible for the team. They know it. This is not the moment to give team orders, there are 12 points between them”.
After the Sprint Race, it comes the news that Sebastian Vettel will visit the Austrian Grand Prix stewards on the same evening, having been summoned on unusual grounds. Vettel will face the stewards at 6pm local time (5pm UK) in Austria, with the four-time former World Champion summoned for an: alleged breach of Article 12.2.1 f) of the International Sporting Code and Article 20.1 of the FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations - Behaviour at the Drivers’ Meeting. The ISC article in question specifies: any words, deeds or writings that have caused moral injury or loss to the FIA, its bodies, its members or its executive officers, and more generally on the interest of motorsport and on the values defended by the FIA as a potential rule breach. The article of the F1 sporting regulations, meanwhile, simply outlines when meetings chaired by the race director are held during a sprint weekend - with Vettel’s alleged offence having come in the Friday evening meeting to be attended by “all drivers and team managers, often referred to as the drivers’ briefing. Read the stewards' decision document:
"The driver, Sebastian Vettel, left the drivers' meeting that was held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday 8 July, without permission, and expressing frustration at the meeting. Drivers are not free to leave when they want, this being a breach of the requirement to attend. Drivers at this level are role models for every driver around the world and in the opinion of the stewards Vettel failed to live up to that standard in this case".
Alonso and Vettel are said to have been particularly outspoken in the Friday meeting. Vettel will face the stewards, who are comprised of Tim Mayer, Silvia Bellot, Walter Jobst and former F1 driver Enrique Bernoldi, and will take the €25.000 fine if he breaches Article 20.1 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and/or Article 12.2.1 f) of the International Sporting Code again later in the season. The explanation continues:
"Subsequently, Vettel had a meeting with the Race Director, who informed the stewards that Vettel apologised without reservation, and that further, they had a very constructive conversation covering the topics in the meeting and more".
So the fine will become effective only if Vettel breaks again these rules concerning the drivers’ behavior.
On Sunday, July 10, 2022, the twenty Formula 1 drivers are ready to face off for supremacy in the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix. Are just nineteenth the drivers lined up on the grid as Valtteri Bottas will start from the pit lane. Sprint race winner Max Verstappen will start from the pole, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, while Fernando Alonso is the last on the grid with a new power unit. At 3:00 p.m. the formation lap starts and everyone, except for Zhou Guanyu, Yuki Tsunoda, Sebastian Vettel and Ferando Alonso, is on medium tyres. When the lights go out, Verstappen takes the command, while Leclerc stays second, Sainz goes wide at Turn 1 but manages to recover to stay ahead of George Russell. Sergio Perez tries a move on the Mercedes driver on the outside of Turn 4, but he finishes in the gravel and into last place from where he pits with damage to mount hard tyres at the start of Lap 2. Mick Schumacher overtakes Lewis Hamilton for the seventh position and puts himself behind his team mate. At the front, Leclerc is following Verstappen with DRS, while Sainz is back with a 2.5-seconds detachment and Russell struggles to keep pace after the contact with Perez. He also receives a five-second time penalty for this. The Mercedes number 63 leads a train of cars up to Lando Norris in P9. Leclerc is closely following Verstappen, still in the lead, and on Lap 10, he makes a move and almost overtakes the Red Bull down the inside of Turn 3. The Monegasque tries again, switching to the outside of Turn 4, but Verstappen retains the first position.
"I cannot hold this long".
Says the reigning World Champion on the radio and on lap 12 Leclerc is right on his tail, braking late into Turn 4 and taking the lead down the inside. Russell takes his five-second penalty in the pits on the same lap, ad emerges last with a new nose and hard tyres, while the fourth position is now of Esteban Ocon. Verstappen tries to take back the lead on lap 13, but locks up into Turn 4 and is soon called to the pits to switch to hards. The stop is not so quick and the reigning champion emerges P8. Even Lando Norris goes to the pits, giving the Dutch driver another place. On lap 15, Hamilton does a move on Schumacher for the fifth position down the inside of Turn 7 and is ready to do the same with Magnussen soon after. The Dane pits but Schumacher stays out, with Verstappen behind, who soon passes him on the run to Turn 3. Verstappen is now behind Hamilton and needs to pass him in order to attack the Ferraris. The seven-time Champion fights off to mantain the position, but is then overtaken on the run to Turn 4. In the lead, Leclerc and Sainz continue their race, but on lap 20 Verstappen closes the gap. Alonso makes it up to the eighth position, but his team mate Ocon, who has already pitted and is on newer tyres, passes him. Ocon then battles with Zhou and passes him inside Turn 4. Unlike his Alpine team mate, Alonso does not manage to pass Zhou and stays behind him for a number of laps. Magnussen closes the gap and sends it down the inside of Turn 1 and trigger a five-car battle for position into Turn 3. In that battle, also Norris has a tyre advantage, because he stopped for hards on lap 14, so moves up to P9 behind Magnussen.
On lap 25, Zhou pits, while Alonso loses P10 to Schumacher, who pitted for tyres on lap 16. Schumacher also takes the eighth position off Norris. On lap 27, Leclerc is called to pit and emerges third: there are about seven seconds between him and the Red Bull. Sainz is in the lead with a 10-second advantage, but he pits on the following lap to emerge fourth behind Hamilton. Verstappen is now in the lead again. Hamilton pits for hards in a stop that lasts 4.1 seconds, and emerges side-by-side with Ocon. The two battle for P4, and the Alpine driver loses out to the Briton entering Turn 3. Leclerc pushes and takes the gap to Verstappen down to 1.5 seconds on lap 31, and two laps later he takes again the lead at Turn 3. The reigning Champion says on the radio that the car is unpredictable. Meanwhile, Schumacher continues his strong race and passes Magnussen for P6. The Dane loses another place to Norris on Lap 42 and then goes in for a pit stop. Norris has a five-second penalty for not respecting the track limits. On lap 37, Verstappen is closely followed by Sainz and is called to pit from P2 for hards; he emerges in front of Hamilton. The Dutchman is soon told to match Hamilton’s lap times, who is just six seconds behind: the same gap that there is between Leclerc and Sainz. The Monegasque enters again the pits on lap 51, one lap after team mate Sainz, so Verstappen is back into the lead; he is just two seconds over the first Ferrari, and seven to the second in P3. Leclerc immediately closes the gap on the Dutchman and on lap 53 passes him for the lead on the exit from Turn 4, while Verstappen says to his team:
"What a joke that traction is".
Sainz is right on Verstappen’s tail but on lap 57, the Ferrari driver slows and goes off track. Soon, flames begins to pour out of the engine bay and through the sidepods of the car. Fortunately, Sainz manages to get out of the car on time. This triggers a Virtual Safety Car, and Leclerc and Verstappen pit for mediums. Third is now Hamilton, who stopped for a set of mediums on lap 52. Alonso pits just as the Virtual Safety Car ends on lap 60. As the race is resumed, Leclerc flies away to increase the gap, but soon complains on the radio that his throttle pedal is weird, and the issue is clearer when the driver explains that it is stuck and Verstappen begins to decrease the gap as the leader struggles on the low-speed sections. But Charles Leclerc goes on and win his first race since the Australian Grand Prix by just 1.5 seconds by the checquered flag. Second is Verstappen, on Red Bull’s home race, while Hamilton completes the podium, gaining the third place after the crash in qualifying. Russell started and ends fourth, also because of a slow pit stop and the five-second penalty, while Ocon completes the top five. Schumacher ends sixth, ahead of Norris, who served a five-second time penalty for track limits, and Magnussen, who is eighth. It is also a double points score for McLaren, with Norris seventh and Ricciardo ninth. Alonso, ends 10th for Alpine despite starting last, with an unsafe release investigation to be undertaken by the Stewards. Bottas finishes 11th from the pit lane, after closing in on Alonso at the end; Zhou had a difficult day, starting on hards unlike the majority, and finishing 14th. Pierre Gasly and his team mate Yuki Tsunoda are 16th and 17th respectively. Sebastian Vettel complained that he had damage on his car early on, and on lap 40 he spun while trying to pass Gasly around the outside of Turn 4. The German ended up 17th and last. Nicholas Latifi didn’t end the race, his Williamswas pulled into the pits on lap 47. Charles Leclerc is back on the top step of the podium in Austria after seven races:
"Every win is special, but this one feels just amazing. The last 15 laps were on the limit with the issue we had, but we brought it home. Today, we had a really strong pace and some great battles. I worked hard last night to find where I could still improve and it made the difference today. I’m very happy".
It could even have been a double for the Italian team, but Carlos Sainz's engine had issues just 13 laps to the end of the race, so was forced to retire:
"It’s difficult to find the right words today, as it was clear that a one-two was pretty straightforward. I had strong pace today, especially on the hard tyre. Degradation was very high but we managed it well. On the last stint the car felt really good on track until we obviously had the issue and we had to retire. Today’s result is a hard one to take as it cost the team and myself an important number of points for both championships. On the positive side, I’m feeling better and better in the car, more comfortable every race, and this keeps me motivated. We are fast, and this is what’s matters the most. Congrats to Charles for the win! We’ll keep pushing".
Mattia Binotto, Ferrari’s Team Principal and Managing Director, is pleased with today’s victory, because the car demonstrated to be competitive at every track:
"There are a lot of positives we can take home from today’s race. We have secured our second consecutive Grand Prix win, which confirms that we are doing a good job with a car that is proving to be competitive at every track. Our management of all aspects of this race went well, from our detailed preparation, even after yesterday’s Sprint and I think we made all the right decisions in terms of strategy, running an attacking race right from the start. That meant we were able to put Verstappen under pressure, forcing him into a defensive race. The mechanics carried out five very quick pit stops and the drivers executed everything we asked of them prior to the race and managed the tyres very well. Charles drove like a lion, overtaking Max on track no fewer than three times and Carlos looked like doing the same which would have resulted in a well-deserved one-two finish. Of course we are very disappointed for him, but I’m sure he will fight back in the upcoming races".
Then, the Ferrari’s number one talks about the reliability problems they still have:
"We are still suffering with reliability problems, we know what they are and we must make every effort to solve them as soon as possible. I am sure we can do it, but after a performance like today's, I want to congratulate the whole team, here at the track and back in Maranello, where all the departments did such a great job over the winter".
Max Verstappen, after getting the pole on Saturday, did not manage to keep up with the Ferrari's pace and finished second behind Charles Leclerc:
"We were just a bit too slow today, we were doing the best we could with the strategy but the Ferraris were extremely fast. Of course, we need to understand why we had so much degradation with the tyres, I’m not sure exactly what happened, no matter which compound we used none of them seemed to work well. Although we didn’t win today, we still walked away with a lot of points. In difficult moments you need to score points and we did that today. It was incredible to receive the support I did from the fans this weekend, but I’ve been hearing a few shocking things. It’s clearly wrong and what’s been happening is not right at all - I shouldn’t need to say this on a weekend that should be a celebration of Formula One at our home race".
Team mate Sergio Perez clashed with George Russell on lap 1; he spun off and damaged the car, so his race ended early:
"It was a big shame that we had our race ended so early. I had the whole race ahead of me and I thought I had good opportunities coming my way, so it was very painful. We had a lot of damage to the car and we were going nowhere so we had to retire. I gave all the room I could to George on lap one, there was enough room for both cars not to crash and unfortunately, we ended up colliding, I don’t know what else I could have done. Today has hurt us in both Championships and hopefully we can recover the ground. It has been the same way all season, sometimes we are quicker and sometimes Ferrari are. It is still very close but today they were clearly the quicker car. We need to look forward now, the season is long and hopefully we can come back stronger in the coming weekends".
Team Principal Christian Horner is disappointed for today’s results, but hopes things will get better during the next race weekend in France:
"We scored some really important points today but it just wasn’t meant to be for us. Congratulations to Ferrari, although they were unlucky with Carlos, they had the faster car for the majority of the race which gave them more strategic options but Max’s tyre deg was higher from halfway through the first stint and it was hard to combat that. Over the two races this weekend, we’ve only given away five points to Ferrari but obviously we’re really disappointed for Checo today. There was so much damage to his car from George that there was no chance for him to score any points and we had to retire him and save the mileage. We’ll do everything we can to bounce back in France, we’re still ahead but we know how quickly things can change and we need to keep pushing. We are shocked to hear that there have been some incidents of abusive behaviour in the grandstands and the fan parks. We stand united with every member of the F1 community in condemning this. We value inclusion and want a safe space for fans to enjoy our sport".
As for Mercedes, after both drivers crashed in qualifying on Friday, this was not a bad Sunday. Lewis Hamilton is back on the podium in third position:
"First, I want to say a big thank you to the women and men in the garage who worked so hard to rebuild the car. I needed a brand-new car on Saturday morning, unfortunately. That's something I don't do often, but I'm just thankful for how hard everybody worked. It was tough in the Sprint yesterday, but today felt better. We had decent pace at different points of the race, even if I was racing a little bit in no-man's land. It's been a bit of a rough weekend for the team - but I'm grateful we got third and fourth today. That's great points, and we have improved the car. Now we need to keep chipping away to get back to the front".
George Russell finshed right behind his team mate in P4, after being hit with a time penalty for his early clash with Sergio Perez, and the car needed a front wing change:
"I started P4 and finished P4 - and probably would have taken that before the race. But I'm a little disappointed at how everything unfolded. On lap one, Checo dived down the outside at Turn Four, then took a tight line. I had Sainz ahead and had to get up on the apex kerb. I thought the penalty was harsh - for me it was a racing incident. But after that, we optimised the race well from lap two. Looking at the positives: we had a 20 second pit stop at the start - and finished around 15 seconds behind the podium; I came back through the field from P19 to P4; and we maximised as a team. Now we need to get our heads down and keep pushing".
Toto Wolff says they look more competitive now and the team need to impove its work to close the gap to the team ahead:
"We always seem to be in two minds at the end of the races right now. We must accept P3 and P4 today. And when you think we had two cars in pieces on Friday afternoon, that's a strong result. But we are missing the two or three tenths to be able to race at the front. We have glimpses of light at the end of the tunnel with the car - then it disappears again, and we need to get on top of that. Today, over a race stint, we looked more competitive than yesterday. But we had two drivers needing to put in strong recovery drives, after incidents in the Sprint and in the opening laps. It was good to see Charles on the top step. He's had a lot of bad luck, and it looks like the fight is on at the front. Now we need to work on the car to close the gap to the teams ahead, then see how we can get in the mix".
Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin agrees with what Wolff said:
"It's been a very tough weekend in the garage but very satisfying to come away with third and fourth positions. We felt that George's penalty for the incident with Sergio was harsh. He was up on the apex kerb and left more than enough room. We had to change the front wing after the contact, so it made for a very long stop. He had to pass through the field twice but raced superbly and maximised the opportunity. Similarly, Lewis had rather a lot to do in the first stint due to his start position. Once he was through the midfield cars he had good pace but by then the gap to Charles and Max was way too big to chase so we just focused on bringing the car home. This hasn't been a track that has suited us in recent years. Despite lacking a little pace to Ferrari and Red Bull, we're encouraged by the fact we're moving in the right direction and have more to come in the next few races. We have a busy few days ahead at the factory to recover the situation on car parts, this weekend has not been great in that regard! But we'll pull that back in time for Paul Ricard and are looking forward to a track that should suit the car".
Esteban Ocon managed to score the fifth place in his 100th race:
"What a day, what a weekend! I think we really maximised the pace of the car today when it really mattered. It was a great way to cap off my 100th Grand Prix in Formula 1. There were some good fights on the track today, but in the end George [Russell] was too quick and fifth position was the best we could have achieved. We go home with some very good points after this weekend, moving up to eighth in the Drivers’ Championship and now level with McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship. As a team we are moving in the right direction and we have momentum on our side going into Paul Ricard, one of the team’s home races, and of course mine as well. It should be an incredible weekend and I can’t wait to be back in front of the home fans in two weeks’ time".
Fernando Alonso is aware that could have finished right behind his team mate, but because of vibrations he was forced to do a second pit stop which dropped him back to P10:
"One point is better than nothing considering we started on the back row today. I think it was one of my best races this season, other than probably at Silverstone last weekend. I think we were fighting for sixth or seventh positions, but then there were some strange vibrations on the tyres we fitted after our second stop under the Virtual Safety Car. As it was still under the VSC, we decided to stop again for another new set of tyres. Unfortunately, we lost some positions with this extra pit-stop and had to fight back on the last few laps. In the end we managed to take tenth position. Ultimately, only one point from this race feels a little bit of a shame for me, but we can be very happy with our overall pace and performance as a team this weekend".
Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer is happy for Ocon’s performance, but also talks about the reliability issues they still have:
"Firstly, congratulations to Esteban for marking his 100th Formula 1 Grand Prix start by scoring ten points in fifth place. He thoroughly deserved that after driving so well today and executing a very good two-stop strategy. By scoring so highly, combined with yesterday’s effort in the Sprint, it means the team is continuing its momentum forwards after delivering some good upgrades at recent events. Fernando too drove exceptionally well to put behind yesterday’s disappointment and go from the back of the grid through to a points-scoring position. We had some reliability issues this weekend, which means we cannot leave Austria feeling completely satisfied. We must focus on getting on top of these issues so we can have a trouble-free second half of the season. We clearly have a quick car, but we must also ensure all operational issues of the team are performing to a high standard, so we continue to score good points with both cars".
After the good results achieved in Silverstone, Haas keep going on really well, getting both cars into the points also in Austria. Mick Schumacher, elected Driver of the Day, finished sixth:
"Fighting again with Lewis was fun. I felt a lot different compared to yesterday, obviously knowing that we had to take care of the tires. Quite soon I felt it wasn’t going to be a one-stop race just because of the way the tires were behaving - the winds were very different and difficult to manage. It was tough out there but it’s another double-points finish again after Silverstone, so everyone in the team can be very happy about the result. Being voted driver of the day as well is great so thank you to everybody".
Kevin Magnussen, who was managing an engine issue throughout the race, finished eighth:
"What a weekend for our team, it’s really been great. Finally, we had a bit of luck, it kind of went our way after those four or five races recently that weren’t good for us. It’s hard not to get a little bit down about it but the last two races we’ve been lucky and we’ve had the pace, especially this weekend. I had a bit of an engine issue all race so I was just praying to God that it wouldn’t blow up, which it didn’t, so I’m super thankful for that so I could finish the race without a problem. We just had a great qualifying, a great Sprint and then a great race, so I’m super happy".
Guenther Steiner, Haas‘ Team Principal, is satisfied about the Austrian weekend:
"A fantastic result for the team today with a double-points finish and back in P7 in the championship. There was one little issue with Kevin’s engine, but everything went as perfect as it can be. Thanks to the whole team for a big effort".
After a difficult start to the weekend in Austria, bot Mclaren drivers managed to finish into the points area. Daniel Ricciardo struggled a bit with the car, so is happy to have achieved what che could in these conditions:
"Obviously the target was points. I think, as a team, we’re happy with that. It’s a lot better than where we were Friday, so to get double-points is good for us. I was struggling with the left-front on the first stint as I'd had a lock-up into turn one, and put us a bit on the back-foot. So it didn’t feel as good as yesterday. We then struggled more with the front, particularly front-left, even without the flat-spot, but I think we did well to get what we could today. I would have loved to have got Magnussen, but we’ve got to take what we can today. More points, bit of damage-limitation, so pleased with that".
Lando Norris got a time penalty for repeated track limits infringements, but he is overall satisfied:
"A positive day, we went forward a good few positions and scored some decent points. I made a couple of mistakes with the track limits and ended-up with a five-second penalty, which probably hurt us. I should have been P6 but, apart from that, a solid day. The pace in the car was reasonable and we got the points that we wanted, so happy in the end. We just need to keep improving and keep pushing for next time. Big thanks to everyone for working so hard at the track and back home, we made a good recovery from Friday to score some decent points".
McLaren’s Team Principal Andreas Seidl thanks all the team for the great recover and looks forward to France:
"Scoring with both cars is a good outcome from a tough Sprint weekend here in Spielberg. Starting P10 and P11 after a good recovery yesterday, the objective today was simply to move further forward. Finishing P7 and P9 in the Austrian Grand Prix is satisfying after starting the weekend on the back foot with several issues on Friday. Thanks to Lando and Daniel for showing great fighting spirit. Same for the team who worked hard this weekend - as they have all through this back-to-back sequence. Today we executed a clean race, which got us where we needed to go. Thanks to everyone here trackside, and back at the factory, together with our colleagues at HPP, for helping secure eight valuable points in our Constructors’ Championship battle. A short break now to rest, reset and analyse our performance before we go again in France. We’re looking forward to Paul Ricard".
Alfa Romeo ended without points. Valtteri Bottas started from the pit lane and managed to move up to P11:
"I was hoping for points today, that was the target, and it’s a bit disappointing to be finishing just outside the top ten. In the last lap, Fernando was closing the gap pretty fast with a new set of tyres, and ultimately got me. Besides that, I think it was a good race, also strategy-wise, and we did everything we could given where we started: we just lacked a bit of pace, especially through the corners. At least, I managed to climb up the grid from a pitlane start, so that’s a positive to keep. We must keep progressing, since the other teams are doing so as well. I reckon France could be better for us, but we will need to qualify in better positions than we did here to maximise our chances come Sunday".
Zhou Guanyu finished fourteenth after struggling on the hard tyre on a long opening stint:
"I feel we had a lot more potential in our car this weekend, so I am not happy with this result. We looked strong yesterday, but today we spent the first part of the race stuck in a train and then struggled with the hard tyre. Once we switched to the mediums, I was a lot more at ease and I felt we were competitive, but by then it was too late to make it back into the points. The pace we showed in the Sprint yesterday and in the final stint today is a positive to keep, as well as the mileage that does help with my overall experience. I had some fun battles and enjoyed the close racing we had, but I wanted more from this weekend".
Frédéric Vasseur, Alfa Romeo’s Team Principal, defines this weekend difficult for the team, but his eyes are turned to the future races:
"It’s been a difficult weekend for us, and to nearly come away with a point despite all that happened shows the attitude of this team. With Valtteri starting from the Pit Lane and Zhou in P13, we knew we had a tough job ahead of us if we wanted to come away with a good result, and we very nearly did. It was a hectic race, with lots of battling and action – a great advertisement for our sport: for the team, we had nearly delivered a great comeback, but the tyre advantage Alonso had on the final lap was too much for Valtteri to overcome, and Zhou’s penalty really put an end to his hopes of points. It’s disappointing to leave without a point, but we will regroup and aim to start scoring again in France".
As for Williams, Alex Albon is pleased with the results, ans says that his pace was close to that of the McLarens:
"It was a fun race. We took risks, we were bold and I had to push a little bit too hard on the tyres to keep up with Valtteri as he was a little bit quicker than us, so I knew what I was doing wasn’t kind to the tyres but I was trying to stay close to him. You risk and you push to fight for points and today it didn’t quite work out for us, but I still feel it was a good race. The whole race we were more or less matching the McLarens, we hit a bit of traffic here and there but I was really happy with our pace and we’ve definitely made a step forward this weekend. It was the first proper race with the new aero upgrade that we have and there’s a lot learnt from today so we can look at the data and come back stronger in France".
Nicholas Latifi suffered floor damage during the race, so the team decided to retire his car to save the engine:
"We sustained floor damage from running over some debris at the start of the race and I ran wide on one curb. Towards the end of the first stint I could feel the balance getting worse. Beginning of the second stint there was a lack of downforce and pace. The decision was to retire the car to save the engine mileage and we'll be ready to go again In France".
Dave Robson, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, concludes:
"Today was a good recovery after the result yesterday. Alex drove well and the strategy worked well. Having got into the top 10 with only 10 laps to go, it was disappointing to miss out on a point. However, we had been battling with Bottas since the first pitstop and it was a tight race that could’ve gone either way. At least we got a full race completed with the updated car, which gives some data to go through before we run again in France. Nicholas suffered with some floor damage early in the race, which cost him a lot of downforce and made the car very difficult to drive. As the damage worsened, we elected to retire him before more significant damage occurred. After the damage done in Silverstone last week, to come straight to the Red Bull Ring and for Alex to be competitive throughout the weekend and for Nicholas to continue his good qualifying performance, is a good result for the entire team who worked very hard to get us back into this position".
This was a bad day for Aston Martin. Sebastian Vettel finished in the gravel dust after a spin caused by a contact with Pierre Gasly at Turn 4, and finished seventeenth:
"It is disappointing to be pushed into the gravel again [after the contact with Alex Albon yesterday]. This time it was [Pierre] Gasly and it almost feels that there is a target on my car! I had made a good move on the outside and was ahead leaving plenty of space. I think he was just a bit too keen, ran into me, and I was off in the gravel. The car was not in the best shape after that and my race was pretty much done. Before that it was a tricky race because I was hit by some debris on the first lap, which may have damaged the car. We were not very competitive on the Hard tyres at the start, but the Medium was better and we were working our way through the field until the contact with Pierre. I think we have had quite an unlucky weekend so let’s just turn the page and focus on the next race in France".
Lance Stroll also struggled to find any good pace and came home thirteenth:
"My start was decent, and I could hold position and battle with the McLarens early on. I also had some good wheel-to-wheel moments out there with cars on different strategies, which was fun. However, it was tricky to keep the faster cars behind. It would have been nice to have come away with a point or two after a strong recovery drive yesterday, but we have to keep pushing and will try and return to the points in France".
Mike Krack describes today’s race:
"With Lance starting 12th, we felt there was a reasonable chance to score points this afternoon. He drove well today, despite our car struggling a little for performance. He climbed as high as fifth during the first phase of the race, managed his first set of tyres for 30 laps, and enjoyed a spirited tussle with [George] Russell and [Mick] Schumacher. Sebastian was unfortunate. He was climbing through the field and had just pulled off a well-judged pass when he was tapped into the Turn Four gravel - a move that rightly earned Gasly a five-second penalty. From that point, there was not much else he could do. Once again, we brought two cars home reliably - which is a great testament to the hard work of the mechanics - and we will be aiming to score points in France and Hungary before the summer break".
A weekend to forget for AlphaTauri, with neither of the drivers able to score points. Gasly was hit with a penalty after he clashed with Sebastian Vettel and the German spun off into the gravel:
"I think we can write off this weekend, we just didn’t have the pace. I haven’t seen the footage yet, but I obviously received a penalty in the race, so I guess I’m the one to blame for the incident with Sebastian. I tried to fight as hard as I could, it’s always tricky in that corner and unfortunately he spun. We need a big reset, we’ve got a week and a half to try and understand why we were slow and then learn what we can do to improve in the upcoming races. Hopefully the new package allows us to move forward and be competitive in the midfield again".
Yuki Tsunoda had no pace and struggled with the car:
"It’s been really tough, that was a long race. I had no pace at all this weekend and have really struggled since FP2, with the car sliding all over the place. We need to go away and look at what the issue may be, as we’ve not seen anything in the data that explains why this weekend has been so difficult. I gave it my everything today and there wasn’t much more I think I could’ve done in terms of my personal performance in this situation but overall, this has been the hardest race weekend we’ve had so far this year".
Jody Egginton, AlphaTauri’s Technical Director, is not happy with today’s results:
"A very difficult race for us today, as we weren’t able to make any progress. Additionally, on Pierre’s side we had a couple of penalties which set us back further. It was clear early on that it was going to be a two-stop race, so we brought Pierre in to try and move forward with that, however he hit a bit of traffic, holding him up, and from then on it was tough. Likewise with Yuki, we tried to get him in a stronger position through the stops, but he didn’t have the pace today. We’ve been on the backfoot all day and unfortunately have come away with nothing. We’ve got a lot to review back at base. Now our focus is to get our updates to the car ready for the French Grand Prix and get ourselves back in to the midfield fight".
As usual, Motorsport Director Mario Isola, describes the team startegies’ during the race:
"We're happy with today’s race. All three compounds showed versatility and performance on different cars and set-ups throughout the three days of this very specific sprint weekend, on a unique circuit like Spielberg. This comes one week after Silverstone: two circuits that couldn’t be more different, but where the combination of cars and tyres both guaranteed a great show. The medium showed excellent performance, while the degradation on the hard was higher than expected today: probably because the teams didn’t have time to try it out thoroughly in race conditions during free practice, due to the condensed nature of a sprint weekend. A lot of the degradation seen today was also down to traffic on this short lap, as when cars are battling they take more energy out of their tyres. I’m happy with all the positive comments about the work done by everyone here and back in our base at Milan but there’s no time to rest: we remain at the Red Bull Ring for our latest 2023 development test, involving four teams that will share duties throughout Tuesday and Wednesday".
The great performance of the F1-75 has now raised the expectations of the fans and of the team too, now ambitious for a World Championship victory that no longer appears as prohibitive as it might have seemed ten days ago. After the race, Mattia Binotto, Ferrari’s Team Principal, comments on the double success of Ferrari in Silverstone and Zeltweg:
"This victory is important like the previous one. In Silverstone we had a winning Ferrari and now drivers have changed. This victory is very important for Charles, there is no doubt, because during the last races he had the opportunity to win without success, for one reason or another. For him it was important to achieve this result. I am very happy for him, as I am sad for Carlos. He was running a good race and it seems like we could have had a double, like in England, that we didn’t come home to this opportunity for reasons of reliability. How much do I worry about reliability? These are problems that worry us for the coming races, not in the long term. I am convinced that we can solve it as a team. As a team, I am confident that we will have the ability to solve these problems. I know the engineers at Maranello. however, Having a high-performance machine that we know we’re working hard to adjust for reliability gives me hope about the future".
The reliability was the reason why Carlos Sainz’ race ended, event that triggered a Virtual Safety Car. The Italian team decided to call Leclerc to pit, contrary to the decision taken in Silverstone:
"The situation was completely different. We knew that Max would have stopped for the tyres, so we knew that che we would have stayed ahead anyway. There was no reason not to stop".
At the restart, the Monegasque started to complain on the radio that his throttle pedal was not working properly:
"I was disappointed as well for what happened to Carlos, but so nervous that I stopped watching the race in the last three laps".
The Team Principal also clarifies the misunderstanding between the two drivers that led to the internal struggle which we saw during the Sprint Race:
"In that stage of the race Charles was saving tyres, giving Max the opportunity to increase the gap, and then try to attack him in the last laps of the Sprint. Instead Carlos thought that it was better to push from the start to not lose contact with Max, so was pushing while Charles was managing. It was a misunderstanding between them and us about what to do. For this Charles found hismelf a little surprised under Carlos’ attack. But there was no intention, no fight between them. It is just a matter of clarify things to manage them better".
Among the positive things happened in Austria, it is clear now that there is a smaller performance gap between the F1-75 and the RB18:
"We have a disadvantage from Red Bull in terms of top speed, mainly due to the gain at DRS open, to its effectiveness. We worked hard on it and introduced the new rear wing in Canada which narrowed this speed gap. I think they still have a slight lead, but very small and almost negligible. In the power limited sections we are very close, therefore the fight is mainly played in the grip limited sections, in the curves, where we can make a difference. But I think that today we were fast not only for the car, but also thanks to the drivers who did an extraordinary job of set-up and balancing throughout the weekend, as well as in tire management and driving. The developments are studied to optimize the package in all its areas".
"The wing is an optimization, as is the search for vertical load, the set-up, the balance, the tire management... The final result is the ability to put everything together. We saw that Haas had a great weekend without ever having brought about any developments, because they were able to make the most of their car on a specific track. So it’s true that we made up for some of the speed lag we had from Red Bull at the start of the season, it was important for us, but the overall performance should be seen as the sum of everything. The car is continuing to grow, but not only that, also the team, the drivers, while in Austria the pit stops also went well. Then there are the developments we are bringing, including the latest in England. For me the best news is that when we bring something, it works. We brought a new bodywork which gave its advantages, as well as a new rear wing which had to take away the speed disadvantage we had compared to Red Bull. We saw it in the race, we no longer had this disadvantage. The good news is that the developments we bring are working and it is a team that continues to be focused and aggressive".
Talking about the realiability, Binotto promises a long time to reach a complete resolution:
"Solutions of this type take time, you have to design new components, produce them, homologate them for reliability. A few weeks are not enough. In the short term, we will try to manage this in terms of mileage with the engines already introduced in the pool if possible. After this weekend we will try to better understand the matter, because now I can only speculate".
He rules out any problems deriving from the quality of the external supply and says there is no correlation with what happened in Spain. The Team Principal also denies the early debut of the new Haas hybrid. However, the precarious reliability do not undermine the determination to conquer the world title:
"It is obvious that we still believe in both World Championships, drivers and manufacturers. This car has shown in all the races that it is competitive and looking at all the stages that remain to be raced, we have to believe it. We are a fierce team from every point of view: technician, drivers, men at pit stops. There were Monaco and Spain, where Charles had a strong advantage. Red Bull took some upgrades in England, we also took something and I think that the overall performance balance of the two cars is always the same: a few tenths to the advantage of one or the other depending on the track".
Also the GP winner Charles Leclerc comments on his third victory of 2022:
"Barcelona and Monaco were two of the races in which we were so strong. But I think in Austria it was the first time we were faster. It was not a surprise, because we worked hard. Maybe I am surprised about the change we made between Saturday and Sunday, because we were competitive also in the Sprint, but during the race we had more pace compared to them. After the Sprint I was confident. The pace was fast in the last five races and it is wonderful now to show it also on Sunday and have a great weekend. On Saturday we had the pace, but I did not know how much was Max pushing at the end. But I had the feeling that we were stronger at the end of the Sprint and because of this I was so confident".
Leclerc also spent words of appreciation for the fights on track with Max Verstappen:
"I love to battle with Max. I’ve known him for many years and we always ran to the limit. I think that it can be said that this year I have been less aggressive compared to our normal fights, but we’ve grown up during the years so we know each other’s weaknesses. We know each other well and this makes everything so exciting".
At the Ferrari press conference is also present Carlos Sainz, who recounts the moments he lived inside the F1-75 engulfed in flames:
"It wasn’t an ideal situation. I knew that the car was about to burn, but at the same time I was pressing brake and when I tried to exit I saw that the car tended to slip back out of control. I was calling the stewards, so that they could put something under the wheels to stop the car, but I think that everything went on so slowly. At a certain point there was so much fire that I needed to jump out and there arrived the first marshal. It s something we will surely have to think about as we could have done before, because it was not an easy situation".
Ferraris are increasing their performance, while the Red Bulls are still in the lead of both Championships. Next step of the season is the Circuit Paul Ricard, site of the 2022 French Grand Prix, which will take place on July 22-24.