2020 Styrian Grand Prix – Team Talk

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Lewis Hamilton Styrian Grand Prix

Following on from the race last week, today, we had the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix and whilst it didn’t provide as many battles – there were definite talking points, clashes between Ferrari and the last lap entertainment.

Lewis Hamilton started on pole and it was a great race for him and the team, brining home P1 alongside Valtteri Bottas, bringing back P2.

2020 Styrian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton – 1st

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“This has tended to be one of my weaker tracks, so I am over the moon to have a performance like this today – so, so happy. This feels like a long time coming since the final race of last year and it is a great step forward to come back from a difficult first weekend. The team did a fantastic job with the strategy and then it was about keeping it together, staying off the kerbs and bringing it home. I tried to get the fastest lap towards the end, but I had 40-lap old Mediums, so it was going to be difficult against someone on new, fresh rubber. A big thank you to my team and everyone back at the factories, they have done a brilliant job. I think it’s easy to lose focus and determination, but I don’t ever see that with this team. We know there’s a long way to go and it’s a challenge for everyone, but this is a step forward, for sure.”

2020 Styrian Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas – 2nd

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Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“I think we can be very satisfied with this weekend, with a great drive to victory for Lewis and Valtteri coming home to secure a 1-2 finish for the team. It’s been a tremendous job from everybody to get our worries from last weekend under control and deliver this level of performance. The gearbox issue was fixed, and the suspension concerns were still not 100% comfortable, but in the end, it was all good. This track hasn’t been too kind to us in recent years, but we were never really troubled here and bringing the two cars home like this is a nice result. Now we look ahead to Budapest and the final round of this triple-header. We have been starved of motor racing for so long, so we can’t wait to be back out on track again in just a couple of days. We just love the stopwatch, the brutal honesty of it and the Hungaroring is a great track and a very different challenge to Spielberg, so it will be interesting to benchmark ourselves there.”

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

“A perfect result: well done to the drivers and to the team! And especially to everyone who was involved in getting on top of the electrical issues that we had last week. We only had three days to understand the problem and produce parts in time for free practice, but we seem to be in a good place now which is a huge relief. That certainly helped us have a much smoother race today. The car was pretty strong, and we were able to do what we needed in stint one. Lewis built a gap to Max and Valtteri got through the traffic so that we were in position to undercut or force him into stopping. We’d wanted to run a bit longer with Lewis on the first stint but we were approaching backmarkers so we decided to bring him in and bank the position. Valtteri stayed out to create an off-set tyre strategy to Max but again we decided to box as we approached some backmarkers at the end of the opening stint. The second stint for Lewis was straightforward, he was just managing his gap and looking after the car and power unit. Valtteri had a bit more on his plate; he lost a big chunk of time with some backmarkers who were racing each other. Despite that, Valtteri was able to put in some great laps and was forecast to catch him the end of the race, then Max suffered a bit of damage along with tyre degradation and Valtteri reeled him in more quickly, making a great pass to take the position. It’s fantastic to leave here with two wins and leading both championships; it’s not been our favourite track in recent years but we’re now looking forward to getting going again in Budapest in five days’ time.”

2020 Styrian Grand Prix: Red Bull

Max Verstappen – 3rd

“Today we maximised the result with the podium and it’s of course good to be back up there, but we were just too slow to really fight for the win. I pushed as hard as I could and tried everything to stay with Lewis but it just wasn’t possible. We have work to do and we will keep pushing as hard as we can to improve and I know how hard everyone is working. For me, it wasn’t the most exciting race up until I had a lap of fighting with Valtteri. My tyres were pretty dead at that point and I knew he was going to pass me, but I wasn’t going to make it easy and had a bit of fun re-passing him around the outside. I had nothing to lose as there was such a big gap behind so there was no risk. P3 is of course good points but it’s still not what we want, we want to fight for victories every weekend, so I hope Hungary is better for us. With less straights, we should hopefully have more chance and maybe it will be hotter than today. For now it’s time for everyone to have a few days to rest and re-set for next week.”

Alex Albon, 4th

“The race was okay and P4 is a good amount of points for the Team, especially after last week’s DNF, so we definitely needed that. On my side, I was fighting a bit further back than I would have liked and my race pace wasn’t amazing. There’s time to find on my side but we’ve understood the car better this week and I think we know where to improve. With the long straights and types of corner here we struggled a little but I think Max and I both agree on where we can improve the car. Towards the end of the race, Perez was very quick. On the last lap he had a decent run on me into Turn 4 but I left him enough space. I think he ran a bit wide and we touched but we avoided a crash so it was ok and just hard racing. We’ve got a week now until Hungary to see what we can do, I think Mercedes will be hard to beat as we saw today as they’re really strong, but we’ll keep pushing.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“Whilst it’s good to get our first podium of the season, it’s frustrating to not quite have the pace to challenge for the win today. Mercedes were quicker than us and strategically they had more options. We covered them with Max on the medium tyre and he was running comfortably in second but he sustained some front wing damage from the kerbs which I don’t think helped his tyre degradation. He pushed Bottas to the end but P3 was the optimum for him today, albeit somewhere ahead of the rest of the field. Alex seemed to struggle in the first half of the race despite a couple of good moves on Ocon and Sainz. After the pit stop his pace improved and he fought hard to retain fourth place, keeping a very fast Sergio Perez behind him. It has been a huge Team effort from everyone back at the factory who enabled us to bring upgrades this weekend in order to close the gap and we will continue to push on all fronts. It’s great to be racing again and now our focus is on Hungary where we hope to close the gap further.”

Sebastian Vettel – DNF

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“I was really looking forward to racing today and had a good feeling about it. I didn’t get a very good start, losing a bit of momentum off the line. Then, it was very busy in Turn 3 and I was already fighting two cars. I had the inside line so I was not expecting anyone to try anything. I could not see that Charles was coming and unfortunately, I had nowhere else to go as there just wasn’t enough space. However, we are both mature enough to move on from this incident. It is very disappointing, but in my mindset, I am generally optimistic and at least I don’t have to wait long to be back in the car, so let’s hope that Hungary will be a better place for us.”

Charles Leclerc – DNF

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“What happened today is clearly my fault, there’s nothing else to say. I take full responsibility. I made a mistake and apologising is not enough. We need to take every opportunity and today we could have had one, because even though we might not have the performance to collect a lot of points at the moment, every single point is important and anything can happen in the race, as we saw last week. But we didn’t bring home any points. I was so eager to do well for the team and I thought I might be able to gain three or four places and I went for it. But in fact the opportunity wasn’t there. It’s not easy for the whole team who worked hard to bring upgrades here. We are going through a difficult time and we don’t need this.

“I have apologised to the team and to Seb, who didn’t do anything wrong. I let everyone down today and I am very sorry. I will learn from this and come back stronger next time.”

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal

“It is painful, very painful, to see both our cars back in the garage after just a couple of laps. Incidents like this can always happen when you start in the middle of the pack and it’s pointless to apportion blame. It’s the worst possible end to a weekend that was already very disappointing. It’s true we took no real part in the race, but we can’t hide behind the collision that eliminated both cars. However, now is not the time for accusations. Instead, we must just get on with our work. Difficult moments can bring out the best in people and I’m sure that will be the case now.”

2020 Styrian Grand Prix: McLaren

Carlos Sainz – 9th

“A very disappointing day for me. We missed out on big points after a problem at the pit stop. The first part of the race we were running P5 with a solid pace and managing the gap to the cars behind. Unfortunately, we had a bad pit stop, which meant we came out of the pits in the middle of traffic. I had to push too hard too early to try to recover the gap, and that drained my battery and ultimately compromised my tyres for the second part of the race. One of those days when nothing goes your way. Time to turn the page and come back stronger, but we missed out on a good P5 today. We win and we lose as a team, so we’ll try to fight back in Hungary next week.”

Lando Norris, 5th

 

“A very good race from us today. First of all, the team did an awesome job with the strategy and I did a good job with managing the Soft tyres in the first stint. We got to Lap 39 before we boxed and that was one of the key aspects to our race in allowing us to be so strong in the second stint, to go out on the Mediums and be one of the fastest on track for some of the laps. We managed to go from tenth all the way up to fifth, with three of those overtakes on the final two laps.

“It was a race where I had to go forwards and not maintain my position like I had to last week. It was much more a race of attacking and overtaking, which was nice to do. Very happy for myself but even more for the team, and getting some more points on the board with also the fastest lap from Carlos. A really good two weekends and a very good start to the season. We just need to try to maintain it into the next one.”

Andrea Stella, Racing Director

“Second race in a row here in Austria and another good performance from the team and both drivers. It’s great to see both cars finish in the points, confirming we’re making progress in the right direction. We could see that both in dry and wet conditions we have a car that can fight with the competitors around us, which is obviously very encouraging moving forward. It will be very interesting to see if we can now carry this performance and momentum into Hungary and to other tracks with different characteristics.

“We want to apologise to Carlos for the issue we had at his first pit stop, which made his race more difficult than it should’ve been. The delay cost him several track positions and we sent him into heavy traffic, which ruined his tyres and didn’t allow him to fight for the position he deserved to be in today. Carlos didn’t give up and did a great job securing the fastest lap, the second time in a row for us. Lando showed he’s a fighter despite the pain he suffered during the weekend. He continued to perform and stepped up when it really mattered, especially in the second half of the race and again with some exciting final laps. Great teamwork between the two drivers swapping on track when it was needed.

“Thank you again to Renault for ensuring we got the most out of our power unit and maximising our performance over the course of this weekend in varying weather conditions.

“Tomorrow we start another race week. We’ll take away a lot of positives from these first two weekends, but at the same time we’ll focus on all the areas we have to improve. As always, we’ll use the time next week to analyse in detail what happened, try to learn from it and come back stronger in Budapest. “Well done to the FIA, F1 and the local promoter here in Austria, who allowed us to race again in the safest manner possible. Finally, a massive thank you to our partners and fans for their continued support, which has been incredible again despite not being able to be at the track with us.”

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