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Austrian GP 2020

JULY 5, 2020

Sunday Team Quotes

Drivers, Austrian GP 2020
© Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport

Valtteri Bottas (1st): "Winning an F1 race is never easy, but today was particularly challenging. There were so many things going on in the race and it would have been quite easy to make a small mistake and lose it all. When the Safety Car came out the last time, I was thinking 'Come on! Again!?' I guess it was my chance to really master the restarts here. When you're in the lead, you want things to be constant and trouble-free, but today felt more like dodging bullets, though things were never out of control. I could build a good margin in the first stint and look after the car and the tyres to make sure that we could stick to our planned strategy. In the second stint, there was more pressure, particularly after all the Safety Cars. We faced some reliability concerns during the race, which put quite a bit of pressure on us, but luckily we made it to the end with both cars. I think we've shown that we have a good package. We need to get on top of the reliability issues, but I have no doubts that our team can solve those. I'm looking forward to another race here next weekend."

Lewis Hamilton (4th): "The team did a really great job today and so did Valtteri. I drove my heart out in the race, I did everything I could - but it was just one of those weekends. There are lots of areas where I can improve. I didn't do a great job in Qualifying yesterday and there's only me to blame; then this morning was very unusual to get called up right before the race, but I just tried to keep my head down and drive hard. The scenario with Alex felt more like a racing incident to me. The time penalty meant that I lost the podium, but it is what it is. The car felt great, although reliability was a real issue for us today. But at least we finished, so we'll take those points. Obviously it's a loss from a potential 1-2, but I'll try to recover those in the coming races. Ultimately, this was not a good weekend for me, but it could be worse - I'll take what I've got, try to learn from it and be better next time."

Toto Wolff, Team Principal: "What a great race for the fans who waited so long to see F1 back on TV. Congratulations to Valtteri and the entire for the win. It wasn't a good day for Lewis who was very unfortunate with the two penalties. The grid penalty is something you must take on the chin, but the five-second time penalty felt too harsh from my perspective. I looked at the video a couple of times: Lewis had full steering lock in the corner, Albon had track left to make the corner, so in my opinion this wasn't justified. But I recognise that the stewards have a very complex job of coming up with the right decisions and sometimes those decisions go for you, sometimes against. As a team, we faced some real challenges with our gearbox in the race. The situation was pretty serious; we saw issues on Valtteri's car early on and a little later on Lewis' car as well. It was something that could end your race instantly. We know that it was linked to the vibration of the car which is why we asked both drivers to keep off the kerbs. At a certain stage it looked like neither of our cars would finish the race, so we were trying to cruise home and really look after our cars. Both drivers showed strong pace, they were pretty evenly matched this weekend and it was really more the reliability that caused us headaches. Spielberg stresses some parts on the car more than any other track in the season, so we need to work hard to improve the situation for the next weekend, but we have some ideas on how to do that."

Andrew Shovlin: "Well done to Valtteri and the team, he has driven very well all weekend and deserved the win. The race itself was pretty tough; we've been nursing some issues all weekend that are causing a build-up of electrical noise on various systems and halfway through the race, we were seeing signs of the problem on Valtteri's car and later similar with Lewis. For a lot of the race our focus was just getting two cars to the finish, so we were trying to get both to stay off the kerbs and also trying to give the Power Unit an easy time. The first stint was fairly straightforward. The plan with Valtteri was to steadily build a gap to Max and Lewis just had to make progress through the field. Alex wasn't making it easy for Lewis to get past and we did feel that Lewis gave him plenty of room to stay on the track and certainly more than he gave Lewis at the start, so it was a bit disappointing to get the penalty but sometimes these things don't go your way. The timing of the safety car wasn't great for us, we'd have been able to get both cars in but didn't want to end up having to overtake given the concerns with vibration so it was a balance of risk but we'll review that before next Sunday. We could also have done a better job at the end to keep Lewis on the podium but when Valtteri slowed for the yellow on lap 69 it left Lewis a bit sandwiched. However, the bigger picture is that we have a car that is very fast but right now it's too fragile. We've not got long to fix the issues and given that the track won't change, it's a safe bet that they won't all go away. We'll be working hard over the next few days to solve these problems and look forward to racing here again in a week's time. On a positive note for the fans, it's unlikely that the second race will be a cut and paste of the first!"

Scuderia Ferrari

Charles Leclerc (2nd): "The team did a fantastic job, both in terms of strategy and with the car itself. We knew we had to make the best of it today. I told myself that we had to take any opportunity we had and that's the way I drove. I am very happy with the result - we didn't expect to finish in second place. While it was great to start off the season with a podium, we cannot ignore the fact that we aren't where we want to be in terms of performance. We were lucky this weekend, with safety cars and retirements mixing things up, but we can't expect to fight for the win at these next few races. We have to stay motivated and I am sure that the whole factory is working very hard to bring us back stronger. And that's the spirit we need to remain focused on our targets."

Sebastian Vettel (10th): "It was a disappointing race for me, even if we knew beforehand it would be tough. I struggled for the entire race, already after the first two laps, just as I had done in quali. The balance and speed I had on Friday just slipped away from us and I was really struggling to keep the car on track. So now we have to try and find out why in the hope of doing better next weekend."

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal: "A really busy weekend ended with a result that far exceeded our expectations going into this race, especially after the way qualifying went. Charles drove an amazing race, fighting like a lion from the first to the last lap and making the most of every opportunity that came his way. Today's second place is mainly down to him. At least Sebastian managed to get back in the points, but he struggled more than his team-mate with the balance of the car and now we have to work out why and in time for next weekend. The 19 points we picked up here in Spielberg were also down to reliability, which is always vital, as well as the work the team has done here at the track and back in Maranello over this past week. However, it does not make up for the fact that, in pure performance terms, we are behind, more than we could legitimately have expected. That's why we are pushing as hard as we can to bring updates to the car as soon as possible, although we know that no package can be a magic wand that radically changes the hierarchy among the teams. Having said that, we have seen in this first race that a few tenths more or less can make a big difference in terms of grid position, so we must leave no stone unturned."

Red Bull Racing

Alexander Albon (13th): "It's still quite fresh so I've got to be careful what I say but there's nothing to add apart from how frustrating that is. I really think we could have easily won that race. We had a great strategy, the guys did a great job in the pit stops, yes we had a little bit of fortune with the Safety Car, but the car was feeling good. The hard tyre wasn't very strong today and I knew the Mercedes would have cold tyres on the re-start, so I already planned to get past them within a few laps of the Safety Car coming in. I feel like I had completed the move on Lewis already, and I was thinking about getting Bottas on the next lap. The contact with Lewis was so late in the corner that it surprised me. I was right on the edge of the track and I knew if I gave him all the space I could it would be up to him if he wants to crash or not. This time I was the one on the attack and he was defending. I wouldn't say this one hurts more than Brazil but that incident was maybe 50/50 whereas this one isn't. Obviously we've got next weekend to focus on now, we'll need a bit of luck to have the same opportunity as today, but let's see."

Max Verstappen (DNF, Electrics): "I'm not quite sure what happened yet, we'll investigate and find out but of course that's not how you want to start the season. I had a good start, unlike last year, and quite early on I could see that Valtteri was quick so fighting for the win was always going to be a big challenge. I think it would have been an easy podium and third would have been a decent start to the season but what can you do? This is racing and it is what it is, you can't change the result now. It is a shame for everyone who worked so hard to get us here this weekend but we will just focus on the race next week and hope for something better."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It was a very frustrating first race and I'm almost lost for words. Losing Max early on whilst he was running in second place on a better tyre was obviously painful but we still had Alex in a good position. Alex was putting in a very strong performance, strategically we got the call right to concede a position to the Racing Point but take on a new soft tyre. At the re-start Alex passed Lewis and inexplicably for the second time in three races Lewis has hit him and taken him out of the race. It was clearly a mis-judgement by Lewis which he received a penalty for but that still cuts deep for Alex. We then had to retire the car with what looks like a PU issue, which will now be investigated. It's hugely frustrating to come away from this race with a double DNF and no points, when we could have been in a position to win. The positives are that we looked to be having a competitive race but we still have a bit of pace to find ahead of next weekend."

Renault Sport Formula One Team

Esteban Ocon (8th): "It felt good to be back racing properly today. Finishing in the points is a great result, especially as I'm still a little rusty! I'm satisfied with how the race went, but we know we need to qualify better in order to be further up the order. Our race pace was good, and I was happy with how the car felt. We'll review the race and see what we can rectify and improve for next weekend. We know there will be an opportunity to fight for higher positions and I'm really looking forward to the next race."

Daniel Ricciardo (DNF, Cooling): "Today was a reminder of what Formula 1 can be like and, sometimes, it's unkind. It's a shame to retire early, but we had a cooling issue and we had to retire the car as a precaution before we did any further damage. I think there are a lot of positives from the weekend. Our low fuel pace looked strong and we know we have a little bit to learn on high fuel. We can take a lot from it and it's good we have another chance next weekend. We'll learn and move forwards."

Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director: "It was very good to be racing again. It was a typical first race of the season with lots of things going on throughout and some possible high reward for anyone completing the race distance. We didn't manage that entirely with Daniel's retirement as a precaution for a cooling issue. Esteban did a very good job and it was a solid return to racing for him, bringing us our first points in Austria since the team returned to Formula 1. He will be able to build from today. The other positive of the weekend is our baseline performance at a track where we have been very weak in the past, but in a very competitive midfield. Ahead of next week, we must focus on the main negative of the weekend: the car reliability that not only cut Daniel's race short but also impacted Esteban's build up to qualifying earlier in the weekend compromising his starting position."

Haas F1 Team

Romain Grosjean (DNF, Brakes): "The brakes went – we had been nursing them since lap one, looking after them. Obviously, something is not quite on the right level on the cooling, so we have to work and sort that out for next week. I think one of the main concerns is the pace, it was a very tricky car to drive today, especially in traffic. We'll put our heads down and see what we can come up with. We need to come back next week with a better solution."

Kevin Magnussen (DNF, Brakes): "I was being told to do more and more lifting to save the brakes. By the end of it, I was just doing everything I could and still they blew up. That happened when (Esteban) Ocon launched an attack on me, I think he took the cooling and that was the moment they went. It was always right there on the limit. It wasn't anticipated, it's not like we knew we'd have big problems with the brakes. We knew we'd have to do some lift and coast for the brakes, but not all in that way. I might have had some debris in the ducts I guess. It's a shame, we were P11, and if it hadn't been for all that brake saving I might have had a decent pace."

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "Obviously, it wasn't the day we wanted today. We had brake issues because of overheating on both cars – it was the same thing. That's what took us out of the race when there was a good possibility for us to get into the points. But 'if and when' didn't work today. The good thing is, the drivers seemed to be as happy as they could be with the car. They feel that the car is raceable, so it just feels like we missed an opportunity. If we work hard, we can get into the points going forward, so that's what we'll be doing."

McLaren F1 Team

Lando Norris (3rd): "I'm over the moon, my best Formula One result and my first ever podium. We're all very happy, it's a great achievement for race one. We did a bit more on merit this weekend: our pace has been very good here. It's not been easy: we haven't had the third-fastest car on the grid – but we put it all together pretty much every time. We limited the mistakes we made and took advantage of every opportunity that came our way. Because of that, we got a podium, so a big thanks goes to the team at home and at the track for all their hard work. I would love to say we can achieve this next weekend again. We did have a little bit of luck but we have a good car and we've kicked the season off with a great result. We know we've got a lot of work to do but if we can maintain this momentum, we can hopefully have a great season."

Carlos Sainz (5th): "First of all, congratulations to Lando for his first podium in F1 and to the whole team for a well-deserved strong first weekend in 2020! From my side, overall a good race and a good comeback on the last stint. In general it was an interesting race with several Safety Cars and many good battles on track. I'm looking forward to racing again here in seven days. There are good opportunities and it can be important for the rest of the championship. Time to keep focused, prepare well for next weekend and go again!"

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: "I'm really proud to be part of this team. What an incredible performance from Lando right from lights out and through to the final lap. To finish the first race of the new season with P3 and P5 is simply a great reward for all the hard work everyone has put in. Congratulations and a big thank you to the entire team, both here in Austria and back home at the factory as well as to our colleagues from Renault. The team at the track worked very hard to get us to this point across a difficult week when we had many new protocols to work with. Thank you to the FIA, F1 and the promoter here in Austria for putting in place covid-19 protocols that allowed us to start the season in a safe manner and at the same time put on a great show for the fans. We had good reliability, the strategists made all the right calls with the Safety Cars, and hats off to Carlos and Lando for what they've done after that long break. Today was very encouraging and a race we can still learn a lot from, giving us confirmation that we are heading in the right direction, with both the development of the car and the way we operate. We had some doubts after Friday's running, and weren't sure we would have the pace to fight our competitors. The race was a confirmation that we have a solid base in terms of performance over a grand prix distance as well as for one lap in qualifying. Heads down now. Let's make sure we don't get carried away with the good result today and come back strong again next week. Finally, I want to say a big thank you to our partners and fans. Their support throughout this period has been incredible, even though they are supporting us remotely."

Racing Point F1 Team

Sergio Perez (6th): "We had to fight hard today and we had strong pace. Sixth place is a good way to start the season, but we could have finished even higher. We were unlucky with the safety cars, but it's easy to say after the race that we should have pitted a second time. I had to defend from drivers on fresher tyres in the final laps, which was a challenge. However, this was a good race to learn plenty about the car and our performance. The main positive is that we have a competitive package and I think we can be fighting for another strong result here next week."

Lance Stroll (DNF, Power): "It was a good start to the race, but then I began to lose power early on. We tried to make some changes to various settings, but eventually we had to retire the car. We'll look into the problem and come back stronger next time. The car felt good at first and I think our pace would have been strong. We could have scored a good amount of points today."

Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer: "That was a pretty busy afternoon on all fronts and I'm sure great entertainment for the fans watching on television. After such a long break from racing, it was important to start our season with a handful of points with Sergio in sixth place. It's frustrating to see a podium slip away in the final few laps, but it was difficult to hold off those cars with a tyre advantage. With so many safety car interruptions, we had some difficult decisions to make and we chose to preserve track position rather than pit. The cars behind us effectively had free pit stops and could react to what we did – pitting when we chose to stay out. That was certainly the case with the McLarens and Leclerc. It was disappointing to see Lance retire early when the car started to lose power. The investigation is underway on what caused that, but ultimately, after attempting to fix the problem through mode changes failed, protecting the power unit was the priority."

Alfa Romeo Racing

Antonio Giovinazzi (9th): "I am really happy with today's result. After our difficult qualifying yesterday, to get to the points was the maximum we could do. The race wasn't easy, we struggled a little at the start but we got stronger as the race went on. Of course, in such a chaotic race you need a bit of luck, but we were ready to grab any chance with two hands when it came. We put up a big fight for this and in the end P9 is a great way to start the season. I am really happy for the guys and girls in the garage and back at home. There's still a lot to improve but it's just the first race of the season: there's plenty of time and I am already looking forward to being back in the car next week."

Kimi Raikkonen (DNF, Suspension): "It's a shame to end the race like this when things were looking good. Compared to yesterday, we had made a step forward and we had a reasonable turn of speed. The timing of the first Safety Car cost us places, but we were still in a good position and with new tyres I could have fought for some points. Unfortunately then we had to retire: the problem came as a surprise, I had no warning it would happen. We will need to investigate what happened. For now, we can take some positives from our pace in race conditions and keep improving the car."

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: "Scoring points in the opening race of the season is always a good thing, but there are more positives than just the result at the chequered flag. Our race pace was a definite step forward from yesterday's qualifying and we were able to extract more of the potential of the C39. As a team we kept a cool head during such a rollercoaster of a race and to bring home points is a good reward for all the work ahead of this race. It was a pity to lose Kimi this way, but we will investigate the issue and make sure we can fight for a place in the top 10 with two cars from next week."

Red Bull AlphaTauri Honda

Pierre Gasly (7th): "It felt amazing to get back racing after such a long break and I think we started the season with a really exciting race. If someone had told us that we would have been P7 on Sunday we would have signed straight away, so I think we can be very happy with my result after a difficult start to the weekend. We knew the race was going to be a challenge because the Renaults, McLarens and Racing Points are very strong, but I had some good fights on track and managed to stay out of trouble until the end. It was a really good one for us today!"

Daniil Kvyat (12th): "The race was going really well for me until the contact with Ocon, I had a very good pace and fresher tyres. After the collision, my front wing and a suspension broke, I also had a puncture, so my race was over. This moment cost me a lot of points today, so it's a real shame and very disappointing to finish the day like this. Today it could have been a very strong race for me."

Franz Tost, Team Principal: "First of all, I want to send a big thank you to Red Bull for making it possible to start the season here at the Red Bull Ring, a fantastic location in the Styrian region. We were also very lucky as we had good weather all weekend. Generally speaking, today's race was very exciting with the deployment of quite a few safety cars which have helped the show. Pierre's seventh-place finish was the best possible result we could have achieved, also considering that we started in 12th and 13th position on the grid. Both drivers did a really good job, together with the team, who operated very well and took the right decisions strategy-wise. Daniil could also have scored points today, but the collision with Ocon compromised his race due to a suspension failure, which we need to investigate now. The progress showed by the team, with steps forward in the general setup and relative performance from Friday's sessions to the race, makes us look forward to next week's Styrian Grand Prix, where we hope to be able to replicate today's result or achieve an even better one."

Jody Egginton, Technical Director: "What an afternoon. Today's race has been very action-packed and full of incidents. We have come away with some good points with one car, with the other car having the opportunity for a similar result but was not able to execute on this occasion. The entire team trackside and back at base performed really well today and the result is a credit to all of them. We have some work to do with our package to move it forward, but we have a good base car and there are some developments on the way, so are looking forwards to the next races. Overall, it's been a good start to our life as Scuderia AlphaTauri in Austria."

Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director: "The first race of the season ended with three of our cars retiring, which is disappointing. So the only positive is that Gasly drove well to give AlphaTauri some points in their first race. For Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, Verstappen was going well from second on the grid, until he had to retire due to an electrical issue. Albon was very unlucky to lose second place in the last few laps, but he was still fighting for points until he also had to retire, due to a suspected PU electrical issue. At the moment, we are investigating the causes of the two failures. We stay here in Austria for the second round next weekend and in the limited time available we will analyse all our data and try and take countermeasures to ensure we perform more reliably in Round 2."

Williams Racing

Nicholas Latifi (11th): "Firstly, thanks to the team for getting us here, it has been a long way to come here. Today was all about learning for me. We struggled early on in the race with some cooling issues so I couldn't push as hard as I wanted to. It was about managing a bunch of things, but that is part of Formula One, it can happen. We got caught out by the first safety car, by staying out an extra lap. Most of the race was unfortunately done by myself, so it was nice that the safety car came out at the end so I could experience running close to the other cars. I am frustrated that I was so close to getting a point, but it is a learning experience and I will come back stronger next weekend."

George Russell (DNF, Fuel pressure): "We didn't have as much pace as we were hoping for today, and I struggled a lot out there. I was trying my hardest to hang on with the Haas and the Alfa Romeo, but they were too fast. I had a fuel pressure loss, but I don't know all the details, I just had to turn the car off. It's a shame as there were a lot of mistakes made out there today and many cars stopped. It is just one of those things. We still need to make some improvements, and we have the opportunity next week to do that."

Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: "The race was busy with a high attrition rate, which sadly included the retirement of George due to concerns with the fuel pressure. Further investigation is on-going and the Power Unit will return to Brixworth for some system tests to determine the root cause of this issue. It was a frustrating end to the weekend for George who until then was having a strong weekend."