Austrian Grand Prix: Friday Practice
Circuit: Red Bull Ring
Another race weekend is upon us and we’re at the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian Grand Prix, taking place this weekend – with a European heatwave!
This weekend will be tough for all the drivers and as we saw throughout the Free Practice sessions, drivers were caught out.
By caught out, I mean spinning and going off-track. The main drivers being Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel!
It’s expected that the temperature will get warmer throughout the weekend – especially on Sunday (Race Day) so it’ll be interesting to say the least…..
So, with that, let’s take a look at what drivers had to say following Friday Practice today and starting things off, we have the Red Bull Racing team.
RED BULL RACING – Austrian Grand Prix: Friday Practice
Max Verstappen: “My feeling in the car was good and we looked quite competitive. Of course, you always want to do better but my laps were looking quite good before the crash. I had traffic on my fastest lap so we would be a lot closer than my lap time shows. The car was working well, we still need to find a bit of a compromise between the corners and the straightline speed but we will look at that tonight. It was very gusty and the wind wasn’t consistent which caught me out in the middle of the last corner. I lost the rear and hit the barrier pretty hard.”
“Luckily, everything is fixable and it’s Friday so we’re not running all the race material yet. It’s just a shame for the Team as they have a lot on tonight now. It’s hard to say where we are in terms of overall performance as Mercedes didn’t do their performance laps, so I am of course a bit cautious, but from my feeling the whole car was working well today which is a positive.”
Pierre Gasly: “From this morning in FP1, I felt good with the car and I was able to push, so today was positive. I felt a lot more comfortable than in France and I think we have a good direction. There was quite a lot happening in FP2 but we still managed to complete all the tests we wanted to. The conditions are really hot and it’s quite windy which makes things tricky, and I think the rising temperatures are the main thing we need to keep on top of looking ahead to Sunday. The kerbs are also proving quite expensive as they’re breaking a lot of the cars!”
“We look quite good on the timesheet with third, but we’re still four tenths off Ferrari so we need to stay focused and try to find some more pace from our package for tomorrow. Looking at our long runs, they were a bit messy and not that clean, so we will look at that a bit more closely and decide what is the best strategy for Sunday.”
FERRARI – Austrian Grand Prix: Friday Practice
Sebastian Vettel: “My off-track excursion didn’t have a big effect on our programme, other than that we couldn’t do the long run on the softs. I was able to stop in time and did not damage the car. We are still trying a lot of things and getting closer. Hopefully tomorrow we can do better than today. It was a bit tricky in the afternoon with the windy conditions.”
“We didn’t actually try new updates, we ran the same parts as last weekend to be able to learn more about them and I think it was successful. Now we need time to understand what to address next. Our balance in the corners is not bad, we can still improve the car and we tried a few things in the afternoon. Maybe the track layout helps us a bit, but this remains a tricky track where it is crucial to have a good feeling in the car and that’s what we have to work on now.”
Charles Leclerc: “Overall, we had quite a productive day and completed a lot of tests around the set-up. The feeling in the car was good. It was a bit tricky with the wind changing direction, especially in FP2, which made it more challenging to predict what would happen in the corners. Although we have been fast today, we will work hard to take another step forward.”
“On my side, as I did in France, I also have to focus on setting up the car in the best way to follow the track evolution in qualifying. I think we made the best out of it and I look forward to seeing where we stand tomorrow.”
MERCEDES – Austrian Grand Prix: Friday Practice
Valtteri Bottas: “It was pretty big hit for me in second practice but I’m all okay with no pain. There were some gusts out there this afternoon and I think I managed to find one of them – the corners here are very tricky and very penalising if you make even a small error. But I must say I prefer this kind of circuit which penalises mistakes – it’s how I like it and it makes it even more exciting. Before the shunt, I had an issue with the engine this morning which meant we swapped to the old one for FP1.”
“That compromised me a little bit but we found a clear direction on car set-up. We made some pretty big changes for FP2 and it felt a lot better until the accident. So overall, a good feeling on the car performance but other teams are quick as well. It’s going to be very hot this weekend, especially on Sunday, and will put the cars to the limit in terms of cooling the brakes and the engine. I think it’s going to be very close on the time sheets and it should be fun in qualifying.”
Lewis Hamilton: “It was a clean day for me with no major issues, although I broke a couple of front wings on the kerbs like a lot of other drivers. We are flat out for a large portion of the lap this year – even corners like Turns 6 and 7, Turn 9 and the last corner are seriously quick in these cars – and we have been tickling the set-up all day to improve it.”
“Ferrari and Red Bull look quick, particularly Ferrari, and it will be interesting to see how it pans out tomorrow. This is one of those circuits where the times are always very, very close and small margins make the difference; that’s a positive because it means we will have our work cut out. But that’s okay: we will keep fighting and this is a circuit where you can follow other cars, so hopefully the tyres will be durable as well.”
MCLAREN – Austrian Grand Prix: Friday Practice
Carlos Sainz: “Another good Friday. It’s always good news to finish again in the top 10 – today top seven – cars, even though it is only practice. My run plan has been more race-biased than normal today, as obviously we’re trying to prepare for the race knowing that I’m going to take a penalty for Sunday.”
“Even so, the only short run I did looked competitive, which I guess today only makes the penalty feel a bit more painful. However, it is what it is, and there’s no point losing energy on that. My focus is on the race and our long runs also looked decent, so I prefer to look on the bright side and keep preparing for Sunday.”
Lando Norris: “On the whole, a reasonable Friday. It could’ve been a little better, and it wasn’t the cleanest of days with a few red flags here and there which changed everything around a bit. But we got a good understanding of the car: where it’s weak, where it’s strong, areas we need to improve. Overall, that’s the main thing.”
“I focused a bit more on long running today, something I didn’t really do at Paul Ricard, and that helped me to get an understanding of the race balance for Sunday. We’re going to have look over things tonight and see how to improve the car for tomorrow.”
Take a look at the timing sheets for FP1 and FP2 below.
Lots more coming tomorrow!