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Steiermark GP 2021

JUNE 27, 2021

Sunday Team Quotes

Valtteri Bottas, Steiermark GP 2021
© Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

Lewis Hamilton (2nd): "Today was a bit of a lonely race for me - I was trying to keep up with the Red Bull but with the speed they have, they have obviously made some big improvements over the last couple of races and it was impossible to keep up. I don't know where we are losing all the time, I think their long runs seem to be a bit better, plus on the straight it feels like we lose a lot. It's a serious challenge, we need to figure out what we can do to elevate the package and give us more performance but it was a really good result to get second and third. We got good points as a team today and we have just got to keep pushing."

Valtteri Bottas (3rd): "From where I started, I think we maximised the race - starting from fifth and finishing third was a decent result. There was not much left in my tyres at the end, today was more like rallying in Finnish Lapland than F1 in Austria! The Red Bulls seems two-tenths quicker than us each lap at the moment, which is quite a lot. Today we managed to beat one of them which was good but we need to improve the car moving forward to compete for the win. We need to accept that they are ahead at the moment and use it as motivation. It was a pretty clean weekend for me - other than the penalty - and P2 in qualifying and a podium finish is positive and I'm looking forward to next week."

Toto Wolff, Team Principal: "A double podium with the second fastest car was the best damage limitation we could do today - we fought with everything we had but it wasn't enough. Red Bull clearly had the quicker package this weekend, and we didn't have the pace to apply strategic pressure to Max who could have covered every move we made; he simply controlled the race from the front. With Valtteri, we picked the pocket of Red Bull to claim P3, and he did a fantastic job to eke out the tyre life to the last corner and stay ahead of Perez. We knew the time would come when it became tougher for us - and it's here right now. We will need to analyse the race, see what more we could have squeezed out of the package, and keep on chipping away each weekend. We can see that Red Bull are still developing strongly, while our focus is now primarily on 2022, but that doesn't mean the championship is over - far from it. We will be fighting with every weapon we have, and the battle is still full on."

Andrew Shovlin: "We've had a solid race and the team worked well but unfortunately the car lacked the pace to challenge Max. It was clear in the first stint that we couldn't put them under pressure; Lewis had a little more degradation and we decided to stop when the rear was starting to move around a bit on exits. Lewis stuck with Max on the first part of the second stint but it was clear we weren't able to get close so backed off to make sure we didn't run out of rubber. The only thing left was to go for fastest lap at the end. Valtteri had a more interesting afternoon; he played the tyre advantage well on the first stint and looked poised to pass Sergio on track but he came in before losing position. We were planning to go long and offset but their pitstop issue meant we could bank the position on that lap. Later in the race were looking at a two stop but it wasn't clear cut and we didn't want to risk the podium place so we stayed on the one-stop. The end of the race was a little tense but our tools had it spot on; that Sergio would catch on the last lap but wouldn't have time to pass. The softer tyres will mix things up a bit next week and we've clearly got a bit of pace to find but we'll use the next few days constructively to try and do everything we can to close that gap."

Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen (1st): "I am super happy to win here and doing it at home at the Red Bull Ring is always so special. I had a really enjoyable race, the car was working well and I always enjoy driving on this track. I just focused on my own race, concentrating on hitting the apexes in the places I wanted to, looking after the tyres and it worked out well. You never know how competitive or how close it's going to be on a Sunday and to be honest I really wasn't expecting it to be like it was today as the long run pace between the two teams was very closely matched all weekend. Overall, we've had a really positive weekend and of course it's not going to be completely the same next week. Everyone else will also learn from this race so we will of course try and do even better and keep improving ourselves so we can stay ahead. It's a whole Team effort so thank you very much to everyone here and back at the factory for another great win today."

Sergio Perez (4th): "Unfortunately, it didn't work out today and it's a shame to miss out on the double podium. We just needed one more lap and we could have done it, that's all it would have taken. I think the soft tyre was slightly worse than expected this race and that hurt us towards the end of the first stint, we also had a slow stop that impacted the race as we gave the position to Bottas. The Team tried something different with the two-stop strategy but we got caught out by traffic, but that's how it is sometimes and we had to try something. I'm really happy for the Team today though because Max won, he did a great job and I know we have a strong package. I look forward to next weekend where we will try again to step up on the podium together."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It's been a great day and to win at our home track, secure four back-to-back wins and a 10th victory with Honda is a real achievement. It was a clinical drive from Max who managed the race out front so well. I believe it has been our strongest race of the season so far and for the first time this year Max managed to open out a bit of a gap to Lewis and put some fresh air between them. It was a real shame for Checo as he deserved a podium today but losing a small amount of time in the pit stop unfortunately put him out just behind Bottas. We pulled the trigger on a two-stop and Checo did a great job to hunt Valtteri down in the closing stages but needed just one more lap to finish the job. The motivation is sky high in Milton Keynes and the Team is performing at an incredible level, particularly given the difficulties everyone has faced during the pandemic. We are now seeing the culmination of that hard work on the chassis and power unit side and the great harmony we have within the Team and our driver pairing."

McLaren F1 Team

Lando Norris (5th): "A good race, quite straightforward – there wasn't too much going on from my side, but that was also a good thing. We weren't under too much pressure from the cars behind, and the cars in front of us were too far ahead, which we expected. We can be happy – P5 is still a very good result for us. Hopefully, we can come back and do the same again next week."

Daniel Ricciardo (13th): "The start was great, we got up to ninth, put ourselves in a really good position on the Medium tyre and the race was looking up from there, and then we lost power. We were able to fix it on the steering wheel, but everything we gained, we then lost, and we were back where we started. After that, it was difficult to make moves being in dirty air. I feel we should've been fifth and sixth again today as we were last week. We'll reset over the next few days and come back again and make it happen next week – hopefully our luck turns."

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: "Today, Lando finished off a very solid weekend with a very strong and controlled drive to P5. In the initial laps we tried to stay ahead of Checo [Perez] and Valtteri [Bottas], but then we focused on our own race, making sure we finished ahead of our championship rivals. We still end the weekend with some mixed feelings as today felt like a little bit of a missed opportunity. Daniel had a great start from P13 to P9 in the early stages, but then a temporary loss of power meant four cars overtook him, which pretty much ended his race. Daniel, sorry for that. Thanks to the entire team here at the track and back in the factory, and our colleagues at Mercedes HPP, for giving us a competitive car and for good execution of the race weekend. Special thanks to the pit-crew who pulled off two very strong pit-stops. We'll be back to have another go in five days, with a softer tyre allocation. We'll use the next few days to understand this weekend, with the aim of making further steps and scoring strongly with both cars at the Austrian Grand Prix."

Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team

Lance Stroll (8th): "We were racing well inside the points throughout the race and it was exciting to be in a battle from the first lap until the end. We made a strong start and ran in the pack with Fernando [Alonso], Charles [Leclerc] and Pierre [Gasly]. There was a little bit of contact ahead, which helped us gain some places, and I managed to overtake Fernando to move into sixth. He was always close in the race, so it was maximum attack from there to the end. It was a fun battle throughout the race. We tried to hold off Carlos [Sainz] and Charles but they had strong pace in the final part of the race and a tyre advantage. So P8 is a good result and we can be happy with a positive weekend from the very first lap on Friday. We are racing here again next weekend, so we will go away and understand where we can find gains to be even stronger next weekend."

Sebastian Vettel (12th): "It was a tough race today. The midfield was very close and we were in the battle for points for the majority of the race. However, we spent a lot of time in traffic and I was struggling for grip towards the end. When everyone is so closely matched, these factors can really impact your race and the final result. It is always very easy to say we should have done things differently in hindsight, but we are focused on coming back stronger next weekend. The tyres are one step softer for the Austrian Grand Prix, for example, so there is plenty of preparation work ahead in the coming days."

Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer: "Lance drove brilliantly today, from start to finish. He made a good start from his P9 grid slot, taking eighth place by Turn One on lap one, then he passed [Fernando] Alonso for seventh a few corners later, which immediately became sixth when [Charles] Leclerc pitted for front wing repairs ahead. Lance then drove a robust first stint on Soft tyres, before taking on Hards during his lap-28 pit stop. He held P6 for the next 15 laps, finally succumbing to intense pressure from the Ferraris of [Carlos] Sainz on lap 45 and Leclerc on lap 60. For the last 11 laps, he hung on to eighth place with determination and skill, under extreme pressure from Alonso's Alpine, and managed to hold off the double World Champion to the flag: a truly excellent drive. Sebastian started the race well, moving up from his P14 grid slot to 11th place by lap 10. He was in contention for points for the next 50 laps until, in his efforts to keep Leclerc's Ferrari at bay in the latter stages of the race, he locked up his right-front tyre twice, which compromised his ability to keep Leclerc behind him. Even so, he held on to P12 to the end. We will race again here at the Red Bull Ring in a few days' time, and we will be aiming to get both cars into the points next time."

Alpine F1 Team

Fernando Alonso (9th): "I don't think we could do much more than ninth position today, but it's good to score some more points for the team. We had a good start and fought with two or three cars on the first lap. After the first pit-stop we were right behind Lance Stroll in eighth and fought with him for the rest of the race. In the end the Ferraris on fresh tyres were just too fast for us. We race here again next week, so we'll analyse everything and try to optimise the car for the weekend."

Esteban Ocon (14th): "It has been a challenging weekend. Today, we were in a difficult position at the start and it was always going to be hard to work our way up the field. We were just not able to follow the group in front where there were some battles and possible opportunities to take. We're back racing in Austria again next week and we'll try some different things to find solutions. We have some directions to take and I'm already looking forward to next weekend."

Davide Brivio, Racing Director: "The target today was to score points. We were unlucky on a couple of occasions when we got caught in traffic and lost ground when we should have attacked, so we had to settle for ninth, but Fernando put up a very good fight. On Esteban's side, it was always going to be difficult starting from seventeenth. We tried as much as we could, but it was a stable race with no real opportunity. We will try to learn as much as possible from this weekend to bring it into the next race here in just one week's time."

Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow

Carlos Sainz (6th): "I had a strong race and it was a good result for the team! We had good pace from the very beginning, right until the end. I managed to run a very long first stint, doing very good laps once I was able to make the most of running in free air to overcut almost the entire midfield. The pit stop was spot on and that gave us a chance to chase P5 as I had a lot of pace on the Hard tyre. Unfortunately it took me a lot of laps to unlap myself from Hamilton. When I was following him, the front tyres were suffering. By the time I had a clear track ahead of me again, it was too late to try and pass Norris. Tomorrow we'll start working on the second race here. We have an opportunity to improve and we want to do all we can to get another good result."

Charles Leclerc (7th): "It's a bitter sweet feeling. The incident on lap 1 put us on the back foot. It's a shame because we lost a good opportunity to bring home an even better result. From the second lap onwards, I would rank this as one of my best races so far in Formula 1. The car felt amazing, the pace was there, and I took every opportunity to make a strong recovery. In terms of performance, we extracted the maximum from the car. This shows how much work has gone on behind the scenes and what an amazing job the team has done especially in the last week. We have to go over all the data to understand exactly how we achieved this step so that we can hopefully repeat it next week."

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal: "Overall, it was a good race for us, although we might have done more if qualifying had gone better and if Charles had not had to pit at the end of the opening lap. Both he and Carlos ran at a strong pace and drove very well, managing the tyres when they had to and attacking when the time came. Obviously, sixth and seventh places are not really anything to write home about, but I am pleased with the way the team reacted after a difficult weekend in France. We must ensure that we get all the potential out of the car, at every moment of the weekend and we will work on this in the coming days, getting a first verification in just a few days at this very same track."

Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda

Yuki Tsunoda (10th): "It's a good step up from last week and I'm happy to be finishing in the points today. I want to say thank you to the team, we've put in a lot of work over the last few weeks, so to be in the top ten is really positive. I think potentially there was the opportunity to even finish in P8 or P9, but we just need to analyse everything and work hard ahead of next week. I believe this has been my most consistent weekend so far and I have to say overall I am happy. It was a real shame for Pierre today, but the pace of the car is definitely there, so we just need to put it all together next week. I've got some cool activities planned with AlphaTauri and Red Bull over the next few days and then we'll start preparing for the second race here in Austria."

Pierre Gasly (DNF, Damage): "Honestly, I don't think there's too much to say about today. I was in the middle of the straight when the incident happened, so I don't believe there was a lot I could do. It was a great weekend up until that moment and I'm obviously extremely disappointed to not be part of the race today, as I think we had a great package to score points here. It's extremely frustrating, as we're in a tight fight in the Constructors Championship, but we still remain fifth which is really positive for the team."

Jody Egginton, Technical Director: "Clearly, we are disappointed to only have one car finishing the race today, following the puncture and rear suspension damage suffered by Pierre, but we have managed to score with Yuki which is a positive step forward for him. This has limited, to some extent, the points lost to other teams in the Championship, but at the same time we were understandably hoping for more, given our starting positions. The pace we have shown here has been consistently quite good across sessions. So, looking forward to next weekend's race, the objective remains to secure good grid positions and to score points with both cars."

Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN

Kimi Raikkonen (11th): "Ten more laps and we probably could have scored a few good points, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. I think we did the best we could today and achieved the best result from where we started: the strategy was right, we had good pace and the car felt good. I had a good start, some nice battles and passed a few cars in the process: in the end, it's just the points that were missing. We will try to have a better Saturday next week and give ourselves a better chance for the race."

Antonio Giovinazzi (15th): "When you get spun around on the first lap and have to make your way back from last, it's always going to be a difficult race. I had to push really hard at the beginning to catch up with the pack and this compromised us further: we tried to recover with an undercut with the hard tyres, but this left me exposed at the end of the race when I had no tyres left. Despite this, the race pace was not bad, as Kimi showed with P11. If next week we can have a good qualifying and keep out of trouble at turn one, we can hope to have a better result and bring home points."

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: "It was a battling race for all of us and a good job overall after a difficult Saturday. To finish just outside the points and less than five seconds from P8, starting from where we were, is a sign of a strong race but in the end we don't have any points to show for it. I can't fault anything in the way we raced today: the strategy calls were good, the drivers performed well and the car had good pace: we were in battles with all the teams around us from start to finish and we showed we had the pace to match them or be ahead of them. We'll aim to build on this for next week and hopefully we'll go one better and get back into the points."

Haas F1 Team

Mick Schumacher (16th): "There was a bit of action at the start and I tried to keep out of it - I chose the wrong line going in to T3 as it seemed like the outside line was faster. The pace on the C2 was very strong and that's positive - we were matching the lap times of the midfield so I think we can be happy with that. Now we need to analyze what happened and how we can do it better. Nonetheless, I think we can be happy with what we did today."

Nikita Mazepin (18th): "I think I had a very good opening lap. I was happy with my positioning as I prepared this morning where potentially there could be a bunch of cars and how to get past them. We really tried our best but there just wasn't enough pace to fight with other teams today. I'm satisfied with myself – the balance wasn't really there but I didn't make any big mistakes. I think that was the maximum for today."

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "It was a very interesting and good race from us. Our guys fought on track but it was all in the spirit of what they agreed and I'm very happy about that. It was respectful and that's what I'm always looking for. Unfortunately, Nikita got into the blue flags and once you get into that with short tracks you get your tires dirty and you're not going anywhere. Mick stayed out of quite a few and had very good pace to do this, so we need to look into where he got this pace from at the end of the race. Yes – we are 16th and 18th but I think the learning continues and it seems like we're making progress, and that makes me happy."

Williams Racing

Nicholas Latifi (17th): "I got a good start and made up a position or so, but then got boxed in around the exit of turn one and was stuck on the outside. When the cars in front of me made contact, I got clipped which caused a puncture and so we had to pit on the first lap which meant I was running a lap down almost instantly. From then I got caught in a blue-flag cycle and so making any progress was difficult. We'll go again next weekend, and hopefully have a better race."

George Russell (DNF): "Unfortunately, we had a very rare issue with the power unit that we're still looking into. It's such a shame as we've been working so hard and we were in a great position to capitalise on a strong week. I had a good start today and was managing my tyres well in P8, so everything was great up until then. Racing is cruel sometimes, but we're all pushing together, and these things happen. I'm looking forward to going again next week."

Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: "A frustrating day for both drivers and the whole team. The car was reasonably strong all weekend, but we were unable to deliver the result that the pace deserved. Nicholas suffered a puncture on the opening lap following some contact at T3. Despite quickly falling back into the blue flags, he was able to recover well and beat Mazepin. George had a good start and was in a strong position throughout his opening stint. Unfortunately, an issue with power unit developed early in the race and although we attempted to rectify it at the pitstop, we were forced to retire the car shortly afterwards. It has been a tough day for the entire team, but the car was working well and we are looking forward to going again next week at the same circuit."