Qualifying in Austria (Team Talk) – 2020 Austrian Grand Prix


Qualifying In Austria (Team Talk) – 2020 Austrian Grand Prix

After such a long break, we’re finally back to racing and it’s safe to say that we should have a good race on our hands this weekend.

We’re taking a look at what drivers (and teams) had to say following on from Qualifying.


Valtteri Bottas – 1st, 1:02.939

“This feels really good. I missed this feeling – I was shaking after qualifying. It’s something really special to be able to push the car to its limits. We’ve been preparing for this for such a long time now and you never now where you really stand. But our team did such an amazing job, it’s very impressive to see.”

“It’s still very early days, this was only the very first qualifying session of the season, but I’m so impressed by what our team has been able to achieve. A big thank you to everyone in the team, both here at the track and back home at the factories – this is a truly amazing car to drive.”

“I’m very happy with the result today, but it’s tomorrow that counts, so we need to keep our heads down and keep working hard.”

Lewis Hamilton, 2nd, 1:02.951

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“I’m extremely happy with this front-row lockout for the first race of the season. The team and the car – both Power Unit and chassis – worked really well today.”

“Now it’s about bringing that result home tomorrow which will be very challenging. It may not look that difficult based on today’s single lap results, but Verstappen’s offset tyre strategy was clever as he will be able to go much longer on the Medium tyres in the race.”

“We considered the offset strategy as well; but there’s a risk to lose time at the start. We think a one-stop strategy can work here nonetheless, so then the harder tyre isn’t necessarily an advantage. Given that Verstappen was lacking a little bit of single lap pace, going out in Q2 on the Mediums was the right thing to do. The temperatures are forecasted to be much higher tomorrow which will add to the challenge.”

“We hope for strong reliability tomorrow and that our pace is good enough to be in front. I’m looking forward to the fight.”

Max Verstappen, 3rd, 1:03.477

“I think third on the grid is a good start, of course I would have liked to fight for pole position but that wasn’t possible today. On a single lap around this track we have never been the strongest but there are things we can for sure improve moving into qualifying next weekend.”

“Tomorrow is a different day and we have a different strategy starting on the medium tyres compared to everyone else around us on the soft. It’s going to be warmer as well so hopefully that will also work to our advantage.”

“That doesn’t mean that Mercedes are going to be slow, but hopefully it will close the gap a little bit.”

“First we need to have a good start as I don’t want to do the same as last year and then we will do everything we can to fight for the win. It’s a shame that the fans are not here at our home track as they really help to make a good atmosphere but we’ll try to make it an exciting race for everyone watching on TV.”

Alex Albon, 5th, 1:03.868

“It feels good to be back in a qualifying session and I enjoyed it, but I’m not overly happy with my result. I struggled a bit at the beginning but by the end I was ok. We just weren’t able to maximise it today.”

“On the first run in Q3 I was too far behind the pack and although it’s not Monza, it’s similar here in that a slipstream is worth a good chunk of time, but there was some time in my driving too.”

“On my second Q3 run we got yellow flags after Bottas went off so that wasn’t ideal but P5 on the grid isn’t too bad and let’s see how our race pace is tomorrow.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“Mercedes gave a dominant performance today, but it was also a positive start for us, with Max qualifying in P3 and Alex in P5. We made a brave strategy decision resulting in Max being the only driver in the top ten to start on the medium tyre, which provides us with many strategic options for the race.”

“The temperatures are also due to increase tomorrow which helped us take the win last year so that gives us confidence to take the fight to Mercedes. The entire Team are excited to be back racing and it couldn’t be better starting the season at our home track.”

“Let’s see what tomorrow brings but it is shaping up to be a great race.”

Carlos Sainz, 8th, 1:03.971

“It’s been a very good day for the team. Congrats! We can be happy with the performance of the car after winter testing.”

“It’s good to be fighting in the top 10 already in the first weekend, so very happy about that.”

“Personally, I’ve been struggling a bit the whole weekend, not finding the right balance for certain corners, and I couldn’t put together the final lap I was aiming for. Otherwise I think P8 is not a bad starting position for tomorrow and we’ll definitely be fighting for the first points of the season.”

Lando Norris, 4th, 1:03.626

“I’m very happy, this was my best qualifying position ever, so it’s a big achievement for myself but also for the team.”

“It’s the best team result for six years, so it’s good to see the progress we’ve made. However, this result doesn’t mean we’ve made it, we’ve got to keep working hard. That’s what we’ve been doing this whole weekend, we keep chipping away.”

“We’ve got a good starting position for tomorrow, so I’m happy with that — a good qualifying throughout. I was confident, even though it didn’t always look like we were the third-best team.”

“To put it all together come Q3, and especially on the second run, made me happy. I think it’s good for us as a team but tomorrow’s a different day and we’ll still have to work hard during the race.”

Andrea Stella, Racing Director

“This was a great result for the entire team today. It’s been a real boost for everyone after the challenges we’ve been through since Australia. We’ve worked hard and focused on the job, and I’m really proud of everyone here and back at base in Woking. It’s only one qualifying result and we know we still have a long way to go to get back to where we want to be. Therefore it’s important to keep our heads down and keep pushing, but the team executed well today and this gives us a strong base to build on.

“Congratulations to both our drivers for a good day’s work.

“Carlos progressed well through the sessions and he had the pace to be higher than P8. Unfortunately we didn’t fully get the last lap in.

“Lando did a great job throughout qualifying, and did a final great lap when it mattered to deliver his P4 time, giving us our best qualifying performance for six years.

“Of course, we have our first race of 2020 ahead of us tomorrow which is another story and will bring new challenges, but for today the whole team can be very satisfied with our achievement. We will intensively prepare as always and look forward to a good race tomorrow.”


Sebastian Vettel, 11th, 1:04.206

“I didn’t feel so confident with the car towards the end of the session, but the race is tomorrow and that’s the part of the weekend we look forward to the most. So, we will see what we can learn from today to improve for tomorrow.”

“Our car was not quick enough and the balance was not ideal. I think we were losing a bit on the straights with too much drag, but in some corners we are very competitive.

“For sure we would have liked to be faster, but P11 puts us in a good spot for the race, with a free tyre choice allowing us to do something different with the strategy, which could be important as it is meant to be much hotter tomorrow. It’s not ideal and I am not fully happy and we clearly did not have as much in hand as the others, but our race pace should be more competitive.”

Charles Leclerc, 7th, 1:03.923

“Seventh place is the best we could do today. Of course it’s not where we want to be but we are just not quick enough, so we need to work hard and try to catch up.”

“There’s still a bit of performance we can get here and there and we need to put everything together, getting the best out of the package we have, because for now it’s all we’ve got. The smallest detail is very important as everyone is very close now.

“It was a difficult day but at least now we know where we are. As a team all we can do is cheer up and find the positive in all of this, even though it’s not easy. We need to work all together in a constructive way and try to do the best job possible to improve things in the next few races. “

“We should keep our moral up and be motivated and just work to improve. This is the way forward to get out of these hard times. The balance of the car is quite good but it’s the overall performance which is still not good enough.

“As for the race, anything can happen and having a good strategy with the right tyre management, maybe we can score some good points.”

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal

“There’s no point denying that was a disappointing qualifying session. We knew the start of the season would be difficult for us and today’s result certainly confirmed that to be the case, even more so than we had expected. We have to analyse very carefully every aspect of our performance and compare it to the opposition, trying to understand why there is this gap.”

“Now, we will prepare as well as possible for tomorrow’s race, which will be tough with plenty of unknown factors, more so than usual, it being the first of this strange season. We will carry out our tasks to the best of our ability, trying to get everything out of the package we have here. It’s pointless to predict where we might finish and we must just try and score as many points as possible.

“At least Saturday in Spielberg has ended on a positive note for us as three of our Ferrari Driver Academy drivers made a clean sweep of the podium places in the first Formula 2 race of the season. Congratulations to Callum Ilott on taking his first win in this very competitive category and well done to second and third placed Marcus Armstrong and Robert Shwartzman, both of them on their F2 debut. Giuliano Alesi did well to fight his way up the order to sixth and Mick Schumacher was also a contender, in the battle for the win for two thirds of the race.”

Esteban Ocon, 14th, 1:04.643

“I’m not very satisfied with today as it’s not what we wanted to achieve. I know we could have done better with what we had in hand. There were just a few little details that we didn’t get right.”

“I want to review what happened as the gap to where I want to be is pretty big. We’ll take a look and keep working hard. It wasn’t enough today, but tomorrow we’ll aim to come back stronger.”

Daniel Ricciardo, 10th, 1:04.239

“I had to lift on the last run with the yellow flag. We know we could have been better than tenth as we’ve shown that all weekend.”

“To be in Q3 is positive for us, especially after last year here. It’s a sign of more progress. Things like this are out of what you can control, so it’s a bit frustrating but it happens.”

“We’ll have to go and do it tomorrow and look to push towards the top eight if not, even higher. I’m looking forward to the lights going out tomorrow!”

Pierre Gasly, 12th, 1:04.305

“I’m pleased with my result today. After yesterday’s practice sessions we might have expected that it was not going to be an easy qualifying for us today, but overnight we managed to make some good improvements to the car. I think we can be happy with both cars in Q2.”

“At the moment that’s where we are, but we have a free choice of tyres and so many things can happen during a race, so hopefully this will give us a good opportunity to fight for points tomorrow.”

“The target is always the same and we’ll push as much as we can to get a good result here at Red Bull’s home race.”

Daniil Kvyat, 13th, 1:04.431

“It’s hard to know what to expect for the race, as today’s quali is about a single lap and tomorrow it’s 71.”

“Qualifying was ok, although to be honest my laps weren’t super tidy and I left some lap time on the table, because of a couple of mistakes. But the pace was there considering that we were unhappy yesterday in FP1 and worked hard to improve the car from then on. We got just about everything out of the car this afternoon.”

“We lack a couple of tenths here, but historically this track has always been a bit tricky for us and we are already in better shape than we were here last year.”

“We are starting from a position where we can fight for some points and have a strong clean race.”

Romain Grosjean, 15th, 1:04.691

“We knew going into the session that our qualifying pace wasn’t as good as we’d hoped for, but it’s somewhere in line with what we saw from pre-season testing.”

“The positive is that the race pace seems to be better than qualifying, so I’m obviously hopeful that tomorrow we can be fighting and have some fun. There’s clearly work to be done on the car to enable us to go faster, but we’ve seen some encouraging things too. “

“We’ll keep working, put our heads down, and we’ll see how we go.”

Kevin Magnussen, 16th, 1:05.164

“We haven’t qualified where we thought we would be. I had slightly higher hopes, and I know the team had. It’s a bit disappointing to find ourselves out in Q1 but that was the pace we had. P16 is obviously not fantastic. I did my best, I felt like I did a decent lap, but it’s tricky to be out already.”

“At the moment it looks like the other teams have found more than we have. I know we’ve been working to improve our car.”

“We’ll continue to work hard on that but for now our focus is on tomorrow. Our race pace yesterday didn’t look terrible in comparison to our qualifying pace. We definitely need a bit more; we need to find it.”

“I’m hopeful and I’m going to be doing my best to get something out of the race.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“Following the first free practices of the season, I think we were somewhat prepared for this. Our aim was to get out of Q1 and into Q2. We did it with one car, so half of the mission was accomplished.”

“We’ve got more work to do to get more out of the car. Everybody has worked very hard after four months of shutdown, and not an easy shutdown for people. Everybody is very motivated though, and we’ve just got to deal with what we’ve got now and try to get better.”

“We obviously need to wait for tomorrow to find our real race pace. We’re looking forward to at least being better than last year, as back then we were afraid of going racing – on a normal day we just fell back.”

“Our race pace in Friday practice was decent. The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is being served tomorrow.”

Kimi Raikkonen, 19th, 1:05.224

“We kind of expected a difficult day but that’s where we seem to be right now. We knew we would be on the limit, and finding a bit of traffic on my final lap did it for me.”

“We have to find a way to regain our competitiveness against our rivals: it’s only the first race, we are not where we want to be but we have the time to improve. Tomorrow we will try to recover a good result: we have nothing to lose so we’ll just go out and try to do the best we can.”

Antonio Giovinazzi, 18th, 1:05.175

“Not the start we wanted, but we have to focus on ways to make it better tomorrow. I pushed really hard on my final lap, I was on the limit and unfortunately I made a small mistake: I knew I had to try something special but it didn’t work out.”

“We can hopefully make up some ground in the race: I think we are a bit stronger in the long run pace so if we get the strategy calls right and keep out of trouble in the opening laps, we can have some confidence in gaining some places as the race progresses.”

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal

“It’s been a challenging start to the weekend and we will have our work cut out in tomorrow’s race.”

“We needed things to go our way and unfortunately we hit trouble with both cars, Kimi finding traffic on his flying lap and Antonio going wide when he was improving his time.”

“It’s definitely not where we wanted to be on the grid and not ideal when looking at tomorrow, but we will need to be at our best to move up and recover a good result.”


George Russell, 17th, 1:05.167

“Today has exceeded my expectations, I knew we had made a step forward, but I didn’t think we would be in this position. Unfortunately, we missed the slipstream that we were aiming for on my previous lap, that cost me about two tenths, but it was definitely a very good effort.”

“We have made a big step forward, and this is the closest we have been on pure pace. The team did a really good job to get the most out of the car so let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

Nicholas Latifi, 20th, 1:05.757

“I am pleased with my first qualifying session considering how this morning went. I made a silly mistake in FP3 and I was unable to get the laps in to fully prepare myself for qualifying. But I am pretty happy with the pace, and more so because I know there is some time left in me and some time that we can find with the car.”

“We have to go from there and hopefully we have a clean race tomorrow.”

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

“The car showed reasonable pace in the morning session following some work overnight. It was a shame for Nicholas that he lost track time following a spin which damaged the front wing. However, the mechanics were able to repair the car in time for qualifying and Nicholas was able to see the data from George’s car to understand the improvements made since FP2.

“Qualifying was a relatively calm affair with both cars completing their planned runs. Nicholas completed a slightly extended first run as he made up for the time lost in the morning. His final run was very assured, and today’s experience will be very valuable when we repeat the exercise again in one week’s time. George built on some strong qualifying performances last year to execute a well-planned and well-judged session during which he has able to beat both Alfa Romeos and come very close to qualifying for Q2.

“Tomorrow will be a tough fight; however, we are looking forward to a close race with the Alfa Romeos and the Haas cars. It is great to be back at the track and with a car that we can compete with. We have a long way to go but today marks a good first step back towards the midfield.”