Austrian GP 2022

JULY 9, 2022

Saturday Team Quotes

George Russell, Austrian GP 2022
© Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

George Russell (4th): "First, thank you to everyone in the garage to get the car ready today. It was a huge team effort, so it was good to get points on the board. As for the performance, the gap was more than we were expecting. We were 13 seconds behind after 23 laps, so that's nearly half a second per lap. We need to work overnight to understand why we dropped off the pace. Small things can make a difference - the tyres weren't easy to manage, and different approaches to downforce levels will play a part tomorrow. But we are in no doubt that we've got work to do."

Lewis Hamilton (8th): "I'm grateful I managed to survive out there today. The team did such a great job to get the car back together last night and this morning. A bit thankyou to them and I'm glad I brought it back mostly in one piece. 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. 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, Team Principal: "After such an incredible effort from the mechanics to get the cars built and able to race, that was a bit of a disappointing performance in speed terms. We failed to show our usual improvement in race pace versus single lap performance, like at other events this year. George did a strong job, but the car was lacking the pace to hold on with the train in front. For Lewis, he had contact on lap one which cost him ground. Then it was a good battle with Mick, who was fighting hard for position. Lewis eventually came out on top, so he starts the race one place higher than he qualified. Now we need to learn the lessons and improve our pace in the grand prix tomorrow."

Andrew Shovlin: "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."

Oracle Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen (1st): "It feels good to bring home the Sprint win at here at The Red Bull Ring. The first two laps were important for me to pull a gap, from there it was all about maintaining the pace. The Sprint race of course does not give you the full picture heading into the race tomorrow, but pace wise, it's close between us and Ferrari. I still expect it to be a tough battle tomorrow, we'll also have the hard tyres so it will be interesting to see how they perform during the race. It's going to be very important to make good strategy calls during the race as you never know what can happen, it's not going to be straightforward but I'm looking forward to it."

Sergio Perez (5th): "It was a good race and recovery, I had a good start and kept out of trouble, it was tricky with Lewis and a lot of people going side by side into turn three. We got the most we could out of the Sprint and I feel it is a strong result from us. Once I got past everybody, George Russell was a bit far for me to catch up with, I wish I had got back up to P4 but I can fight from fifth. There are lessons we can take from the Sprint race to make sure we are on the podium tomorrow. Patience will be key on Sunday; I want to get a good start and get in the mix straight away in the race. I made up four places in the first lap today so hopefully tomorrow is the same. We are still to unlock some potential from the car so we can look forward to the race."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It was great to get the pole yesterday and to get the victory in the sprint race and retain that for the race tomorrow is fantastic. Max hit the tyres very hard to break the DRS, it's quite a long stint and Ferrari were saving their tyres, but that's the strategy we chose and what you take out at the beginning you get back at the end. Max managed it well and it was a reasonably comfortable race for him. Yesterday was a tough penalty for Checo but he had an incredible first lap today, he managed to pick off the cars and made up eight places to get back up into P5, which was only one place behind where we thought he should have been. Tomorrow is going to be a fascinating race, you can see the Ferraris are quick so we need another good start, a great first lap and to get our heads down. The support we've had here in Austria at the Red Bull Ring has been amazing, for the Team and for Max in particular from the Orange Army. The fans everywhere in the world have been fantastic but it's great to be racing at home and it sets us up for an exciting race tomorrow."

Scuderia Ferrari

Charles Leclerc (2nd): "I had a pretty good start. First, we had a battle with Max (Verstappen), which was a bit on the limit. Then Carlos overtook me but I regained my position in turn 4. I just focused on managing my tyres for the first few laps so that we could push more towards the end. It was a good plan, as we picked up pace and I felt good with the tyres. We lost a little time in the battles, but it was fun and I don't think it changed much in terms of the overall outcome today. Tyre management will be key in tomorrow's race and I think it could be an exciting one."

Carlos Sainz (3rd): "It was good racing today, especially the first few laps battling with Max and Charles. At the start there was an opportunity to get Max at turn 3 and I went for it, but I couldn't make it stick around the outside. After the initial laps, I then had to let the tyres and the battery recover, before getting back into my rhythm and that was pretty much it for today. Tomorrow is the real race and we'll be starting all over again in the same positions. We are all very close at the front and the fight will be tight. Our rivals seemed to have a bit more pace today but we'll do our best to challenge them tomorrow."

Laurent Mekies, Sporting Director: "Today's Sprint race confirmed that on this track too, it's really close between us and our main rivals. It was important to verify this in race conditions and I'd say that this afternoon's 23 laps confirmed it. I think tomorrow's race will be very closely contested and anything could happen. It will come down to the details, which is why we will now, along with our colleagues back in Maranello, analyse everything in depth to work out how to get the most out of our package. Tyre management, especially at the start and end of the stints could be the key element and we will have to be ready to make the most of any opportunities that come our way. Tomorrow will again be a case of two against two, as Sergio Perez made up several places this afternoon and so the contribution of both our drivers will be essential if we are to get the result we are after."

McLaren F1 Team

Lando Norris (11th): "Positive overall, we went forward a good few positions and we should be starting P10 tomorrow, but it wasn't easy. I had to use the tyres a lot in the first part of the race and they then dropped off a bit halfway through. Apart from that, I'm happy with the result. We did pretty much exactly what we wanted to do."

Daniel Ricciardo (12th): "There are certainly some positives to take. We moved forward and had a bit more pace than a few of the cars in front as well. It's been a pretty tricky weekend, so I'd say that was one of our better sessions. We'll obviously try to get into the points tomorrow. I think with a few more laps today, we would have had a chance to crack into the top 10. So tomorrow with a longer race we might have a bit more of an opportunity. I think the others will try to improve overnight, so we have to still find a bit more in the car, but it was more encouraging, and we look forward to tomorrow."

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: "We hit the ground running today, following a lot of hard work overnight to solve the issues that affected us yesterday. The objective for the Sprint was to move up positions and get ourselves into a better spot to start tomorrow's Austrian Grand Prix. We managed that very well. The plan for tomorrow is much as it was for today: race hard, move up further positions, score points with both cars. This is an exciting circuit that produces dramatic races, spurred on by a big crowd that generates a wonderful atmosphere. We're looking forward to it."

BWT Alpine F1 Team

Esteban Ocon (6th): "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."

Fernando Alonso (20th, DNS): "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, Chief Operating Officer: "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. 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."

Scuderia AlphaTauri

Pierre Gasly (15th): "I'm extremely disappointed, we started the Sprint in the top 10 and before the first corner it was already over. I don't really know what happened, so I need to review it later, but I was alongside Lewis and all of a sudden, I was facing the wrong way on the race track. The left-hand side of the car was broken after that, so it was horrendous to drive for the rest of the race. Tomorrow will be a long race, so we need to go away tonight and see what we can do to make our way forward."

Yuki Tsunoda (17th): "It's been a tough day. I had absolutely no pace from my side, it was a different level compared to the others and the car was just too slow. We've lacked grip in general and had unpredictable balance across the weekend, we've looked at the data and so far been unable to find an issue, so we need to go away and look more deeply at this."

Jody Egginton, Technical Director: "A very disappointing race for everyone in the team. Pierre and Lewis had contact into T1 on the 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. 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."

Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

Lance Stroll (13th): "We had a good Sprint today. On the Soft compound, we were able to make up some initial positions but then got stuck in a DRS train. It is difficult to make progress given how close the midfield is and the way the Softs dropped off towards the end. We will gain a position on the grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix due to [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."

Sebastian Vettel (19th): "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. It is a shame because we made some good progress in the early laps and I think starting on the Softs was the right decision. There is still a long race ahead of us and we will try our best to move up the order tomorrow."

Mike Krack, Chief Operating Officer: "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."

Williams Racing

Alexander Albon (16th): "We had a good start but then had to avoid a crash so lost a few positions, which was frustrating. I don't regret the tyre choice; 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."

Nicholas Latifi (18th): "Not the result we wanted today. I felt after the second lap that the tyre could be a struggle. However, we made a decision as a team to go for it and to try that tyre. It didn't feel bad in practice, but we need to understand why it didn't work as well in the Sprint. We had nothing to lose, so we'll reset and see what we can do tomorrow."

Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: "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."

Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN

Valtteri Bottas (10th): "It was a good drive with some nice battling, but we ran out of laps to make it higher than tenth – it's a shame the points only go down to eighth! We struggled a bit in the beginning, with a slight engine issue, but in the end we had better pace than the Haas, even though we were still a bit too slow on the straights – probably a bit too much wing. Tomorrow should be a completely different kind of day, starting from the back: it will be a longer race but I am confident we can make up ground. The pace is there and I absolutely think we can make it to the points: you never know what can happen."

Guanyu Zhou (14th): "At the end of the formation lap, right before the last corner, my engine suddenly switched off. That was very strange, and the first time happening to me; I had to do the whole switch-off procedure, and that took a bit longer but luckily, we got going again. Apart from that, the race has been very enjoyable for me, it was a good comeback from last week's crash, and I managed to confidently attack and move up the grid. We showed very strong pace overall, and I am quite happy with how the car was performing today. I am happy with my starting position for tomorrow's race, it's what we were aiming for after qualifying. We need to understand what happened today in the formation lap, but I am confident for tomorrow, I reckon we have a good chance to battle for points."

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: "Today saw both our drivers show good pace, and we have set ourselves for a chance of points in tomorrow's race. Valtteri had great reflexes to avoid a tangle just in front of him, and was able to close in to the top ten ahead: he made good progress, although he will have to start from the back tomorrow, having changed the power unit earlier in the weekend. Zhou's performance was remarkable, going from the pit lane to 14th at the flag while showing really good speed. It was a really good comeback after a difficult Saturday: if we are able to replicate tomorrow the speed we had today, he will be well within the battle for the points. I am confident we still have a role to play with both cars in tomorrow's race and I'm looking forward to seeing how the race unfolds."

Haas F1 Team

Kevin Magnussen (7th): "I didn't expect that we would be able to do that, especially after this morning in practice. It didn't look good, it didn't feel good, so we made some changes but the cars are under parc ferme so it's very limited to how much you can change. The changes worked and the pace was more of less back for the race. We've got two points so I'm very happy and we can certainly fight for points tomorrow given yesterday's performance. I'm looking forward to another try tomorrow."

Mick Schumacher (9th): "I think the battle with Lewis was quite fun. It's surprising to see that we were able to fight for that long, and even the Red Bull behind us wasn't that much quicker, so that was a nice feeling. I think that we could've had points today but we didn't."

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "Following a little bit of a troubled FP2 where we weren't where we wanted to be with the balance of the car, the guys did a great job to put the car in a place where it was performing in the Sprint race. Both drivers did a good job, Kevin was the only one who brought back points, but that was thanks to the help of Mick. He first held off Perez and then Hamilton for a long time. It was very cool to see Mick holding off a seven-time world champion. It was very good team work and I'm pleased with the result, hopefully we can do something similar tomorrow again and get both cars in the points."