Race - Austria GP 2021 - Team quotes

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By Olivier Ferret

4 July 2021 - 18:17
Race - Austria GP 2021 - Team (...)

Haas F1

Uralkali Haas F1 Team drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin classified 18th and 19th, respectively, at the Austrian Grand Prix, Round 9 of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, held at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday.

Schumacher started from 19th position on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow medium tires and escaped a slight brush with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon on the opening lap to hold 16th place. Schumacher stretched his stint on medium tires until lap 35 of the 71-lap race before pitting for a fresh set of the White hard rubber, which he preserved through to the checkered flag in 18th. The result ensured Schumacher maintained his 100 percent finish record in Formula 1.

Mazepin also took the start on the medium compound and moved up one position at the expense of the retiring Ocon. In a race with little attrition ahead Mazepin maintained 19th position, thereafter running a two-stop strategy. Mazepin pitted on lap 28 to switch to hard tires and came in again on lap 46 for another set of hards - conserving them through to the line to register his eighth successive finish with 19th place.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen dominated proceedings up front for his fifth victory of the season, the Dutchman finishing ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, and McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Uralkali Haas F1 Team will return to action at the British Grand Prix, to be held at Silverstone from July 16 to 18.

Nikita Mazepin

"We went on alternative strategies – we went on two stops, which didn’t work. I think the drop off of the tires wasn’t as big as we were expecting but it was the blue flags. You’re not able to keep up your pace because you have to stop more. It was a long afternoon.”

Mick Schumacher

“It was challenging - the softer tires meant that we had to do a bit more managing in general. There was a part of the race where our pace was matching what Alfa Romeo and Williams were doing, so it just seems that we weren’t able to consistently do those lap times. We will have to analyze what we can do better but nonetheless I think we managed to learn something, especially at the beginning the race. We had a good first lap and we were able to be in the mix right away in T1 and T2, so lots learned on that side and now we’re going into Silverstone with an open mind.”

Günther Steiner

“It’s the end of our first triple-header this year – so, I think everybody’s ready to go home and get a little break before we get ready for the next race. We performed well as a team throughout this series of races, and obviously we’ve got a few more triple-headers coming this season. We’ll be well prepared, but it is tiring once you’re into them. From today’s race we had the result we expected. Both guys put in a solid performance, there’s just not a lot more in it for us at the moment. The learning is continuous, and the drivers are getting better.”

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN went really close to a points finish once again, only for the Austrian Grand Prix to end in frustration for the team. Kimi Räikkönen, who had been in a fight for P10 until the final lap of the race, crossed the line in 16th after a collision, while team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi was 14th after a penalty set him back in the opening stages of the afternoon.

Starting in P15 and P16 with Antonio and Kimi respectively, the race was always going one of attack. A first-lap stop for Antonio set him on a charge from the back, while Kimi, starting on hard tyres, had the opportunity to extend his first stint and make up track position.

A penalty in the early stages burdened Antonio with an extra five seconds at his second pit-stop, putting him at the back of the field and forcing him on a comeback drive for the second week running. Kimi, on the other hand, was able to close the gap to the cars in front, making the most of his medium tyres. With Russell and Alonso fighting for P10, Kimi closed the gap and lined up a move: unfortunately, contact with the Briton cost him some time, putting the Finn in the clutches of Vettel. A collision with the Aston Martin in the final lap of the race saw both leave the track, with Kimi eventually crossing the line in 16th, two places behind Antonio.

A frustrating end to another race in which we showed good pace but couldn’t make the inroads we needed into the top ten: positives to build on ahead of the next race in Silverstone, work to be done to return where we deserve to be.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal

“Of course it is disappointing to leave Austria with no points after two races in which our pace was good. We paid the price for a poor Saturday, as starting from 15th and 16th made our lives unnecessarily hard. Both cars had pace, as Kimi showed towards the end of the race, but the job at hand was just too big in the end. We can build on the positives, of course, but we will need to address the weak points as we attempt to make the final step towards the top ten in Britain.”

Kimi Räikkönen

“It was a race in which the car was pretty ok but we just lacked that little bit to be in the top ten. We had a first long stint on hards, then on mediums we were able to catch up to the guys in front fighting for tenth. Alonso went past Russell, I went close, then had the contact with Seb. We came together and that was it, in the end it didn’t change the end result as we would have both fallen a bit short of the points.”

Antonio Giovinazzi

“A frustrating day: just as last week, our race was compromised on the first lap. I had contact with Esteban and had to pit: we had good pace afterwards but everyone was pretty close and it was very difficult to recover much. I got stuck behind a Williams, then even got a penalty – a weekend to forget. Hopefully we can have a better race in Silverstone as the performance was not bad.”

Alpine F1

Alpine F1 Team’s Fernando Alonso claimed a well-deserved point from the Austrian Grand Prix after a thrilling finale in Spielberg. Team-mate Esteban Ocon retired from the race after an unfortunate incident on the opening lap.

Fernando had to dig deep to claim tenth place, passing Williams’ George Russell four laps from the end after a battling duel between the pair.

On a bold one-stop, Medium to Hard strategy, Fernando was able to make the plan stick as he continued his points streak, which now spans to four consecutive races.

Esteban’s afternoon ended at Turn 3 on the opening lap of the 71-lap race as he was caught up in an incident between Mick Schumacher and Antonio Giovinazzi. The Frenchman was stuck in the middle of the pair and suffered front right suspension damage, which forced his retirement.

Esteban Ocon

“It was unfortunate for our race to end early today. There wasn’t much I could have done as I was sandwiched between Mick [Schumacher] and Antonio [Giovinazzi] at Turn 3 in a racing incident. It’s one of those things and a consequence of starting the race at the back. There’s always a chance for fights and contact and it’s easier to be caught up in trouble there. The team and I can’t seem to catch a break at the moment. We’ll reset, restart from zero and prepare for Silverstone. The only way we can go is forwards.”

Fernando Alonso

“It was difficult to score points today and we knew this starting from so far back. We are happy with the point, although we know we deserved more this weekend, but it’s better than nothing. It was a tense and a good battle with George [Russell] on-track this afternoon and in the end, we had better tyres and managed to accomplish the overtake. On a positive, we saw some good improvements from the team this weekend and the car felt good across all three days here. I feel more confident now going into Silverstone for the next race with the car and the tyres and I’m enjoying being more competitive.”

Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director

“Considering the circumstances, finishing in tenth place is a decent result as it was always going be a challenge to score points from fourteenth and seventeenth on the grid. Esteban got sandwiched at Turn 3 on the first lap and was forced to retire with a broken suspension. We executed the one-stop strategy really well with a perfectly timed pit-stop and two good stints from Fernando. His pace was strong and it’s frustrating not to be able to capitalise on that today due to the outcome of yesterday’s qualifying. We’re looking forward to racing in Silverstone, our second home race, and returning to where we should be with both cars.”

Williams

 George Russell finished 11th and Nicholas Latifi 15th in the Austrian Grand Prix
 George started 8th and Nicholas 18th, both on the medium Pirelli tyre
 Both drivers ran a one-stop strategy, with George pitting for the hard compound on lap 30 and Nicholas following suit on lap 33

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

We gave it everything today and fought hard with the midfield teams. Frustratingly, George couldn’t quite hold on to 10th place, but we can be pleased with our weekend’s work. The car has behaved well, and we have pushed it very hard.

After a challenging triple-header, we are looking forward to some time at home before we head to Silverstone, where we’ll look to build on the work from the last couple of weekends. It will be great to be back at Silverstone in front of a home crowd as we take on the challenge of the new Sprint Qualifying format.

George Russell

Today was so close, yet so far. I got off the line well at the start, but then Tsunoda had quite a big lock up and cut in front of me to avoid going into his teammate, so I had to get on the brakes and lost a couple of places. That didn’t really change the outcome of our race as there were faster cars that were always going to finish ahead of us. That P10 point would feel like a race victory for us, so I was fighting with everything I had. Of all the drivers to have behind you in this situation, Fernando wouldn’t be who you’d choose; he was flying and holding him off just wasn’t possible on my tyres. We’re all disappointed to miss out by such a small margin, but we’re making real progress and we’ll take the positives on to Silverstone.

Nicholas Latifi

It wasn’t a very eventful day from my side; we stayed out of trouble on the opening laps and then I ran on my own for most of the race. I felt like we were still lacking overall pace, but there were places where the car felt much better than last week, so we’ve clearly made some steps forward. We will go away and see what we can improve for next time out.

Aston Martin

Lance Stroll

“It was not the race we were hoping for today. I think it is clear, with hindsight, that starting on the Softs was not ideal, although we managed to keep ourselves in the fight for points during the first phase of the race. When we made our first stop to get onto a set of new Hards, we came out in quite a bit of traffic. With cars on different strategies and tyres, it meant we lost time and did not take advantage of the peak of the tyre early in the second stint, which impacted our race. It is a disappointing end to the triple-header, but I am excited to get going for our home race at Silverstone in a couple of weeks. It is a very different circuit and we also have a new weekend format, so it is a clean slate and a chance to bounce back.”

Sebastian Vettel

“It was not an easy race today, which ended with a trip through the gravel because of the misunderstanding with Kimi [Räikkönen]. I guess he just did not see me in front of him. The first I knew about it was the contact I felt on the left rear. I had made a good exit out of Turn Four and was pulling ahead of Kimi on the right as we approached Turn Five. I do not think there was any intention from Kimi. Even before that, we did not have the speed to fight for points today. The balance inside the car felt alright, but the cars on the Medium tyres had better performance in the opening stint when I was stuck in traffic without any clean air. It is disappointing not to score points, but we will work hard to understand where we can improve before we get to the next race at Silverstone.”

Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal

“A number of factors combined to prevent us from scoring points today, despite both our drivers having done so well to get through to Q3 yesterday. That strong performance showed the underlying pace of our car, but it is possible that other teams that did not get through to Q3 were actually advantaged by that failure, since our drivers were both forced to make their first pit stops early as a result of having started the race on the Softs on which they qualified in Q3. We will have to analyse that issue carefully. Additionally, through no fault of his own, Lance was very unlucky to be slowed by debris that lodged itself in a brake duct, while Sebastian was nerfed off the track in the closing stages by [Kimi] Räikkönen. Looking on the bright side, next up is our home race, the British Grand Prix, and we will now start working through today’s data to learn from and build on the positives, in order to put on as good a show as we possibly can in front of the famously passionate Silverstone crowd.”

AlphaTauri

Pierre Gasly

“I think today was harder than we imagined, but the good thing is we’re consistently scoring points. We thought we would benefit more from the two-stop strategy, but we struggled more than expected on the Softs at the start of the race. There are some positives to take away though and we still showed some strong pace out there. We’re continuing to battle at the top of the midfield but it’s disappointing to not be finishing further up the grid today. We’ll review all the data tonight and then look forward to Silverstone, which is a track I love.”

Yuki Tsunoda

“It’s been a difficult day for me. I struggled with pace during the race and tyre management was really tricky. My Qualifying was good yesterday so it’s frustrating, but we need to go away and review the issues from today, so we don’t make the same mistakes again next time out in Silverstone.”

Claudio Balestri (Chief Engineer – Vehicle Performance)

“Today we tried our best in terms of strategy. Starting on soft tyres with both cars we decided to utilise a two-stop strategy, using the advantage of having two new sets of Hards, but at the end of the race we weren’t able to stay in front of the other cars on one-stop strategies. Pierre showed good pace today, especially in the last stint. He was able to catch the one stoppers and finish the race just behind them, without the yellow flag in turn four on the final lap Pierre would have also tried to overtake Leclerc. Yuki had a more difficult race, the two penalties didn’t help him and he unfortunately finished outside of the points. We cannot be fully satisfied with today because we started P6 and P7 on the grid and we finished with only one car in the points. However, we scored more points than our main competitors in the Constructors’ Championship battle which is a real positive.”

Mercedes F1

P2 and P4 for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team at the 2021 Austrian Grand Prix

 Valtteri completed a solid drive to take second place and maximise the points on offer for the second consecutive weekend.
 Lewis suffered damage at the Turn 10 kerbs and nursed the car home well for 30 laps lacking significant downforce.
 At the start of the race, Lewis and Valtteri had moved up to P3 and P4 respectively after a safety car restart on lap 4 saw PER drop 10 places when jostling with NOR for P2.
 NOR defended P2 well for 15 laps before Lewis could make the overtake. Valtteri then passed NOR at the pit stops and the team occupied P2 and P3 until Lewis suffered the effects of kerb damage at Turn 10, losing downforce. He was passed by Valtteri and NOR on lap 53.
 Lewis pitted soon after for fresh tyres and a wing adjustment to try and re-balance the car for the lost downforce but was forced to settle for P4.
 Max Verstappen (182 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 32 points from Lewis (150) and Sergio Perez in P3 (104), with Valtteri (92) in P5.
 Red Bull (286 points) lead the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (242 points) by 44 points in the Constructors’ Championship.

Valtteri Bottas

For me personally, P2 one place better than last week and I started from fifth so not a bad afternoon. I think as a team we got some decent points considering the gap we have to Red Bull in terms of pure pace. For me it’s nice to be on the podium again in second place and I think we really maximised what we could get today. The tyres held on pretty well today which was a surprise. Next two weeks of hardwork and learning then Silverstone, it will be great to see the fans there and I hope we can pick up our pace to give it a real fight there.

Lewis Hamilton

It’s not the result I wanted but it’s still some decent points. I sustained some damage just before I overtook Lando – the rear of the car started to feel strange and it just got worse throughout the race. Otherwise it would have been a straightforward second place for me. Max is clear out front at the moment so we need improve our car and start performing better each weekend. The team are working incredibly hard and we need continue that so we can find performance.

Toto Wolff

I think the result probably looks worse in terms of pace than the reality. We were stuck behind the McLaren which cost us a lot of time, otherwise our pace was good, maybe not enough to win the race but right up there at the front which is a step forward. Lewis picked up some damage at turn 10 - I don’t think he was running particularly hard over the kerb, it was just a piece that fell away so we need to understand what happened. Overall, not a bad damage limitation weekend. Morale in the team is good, we could see the improvement in race pace was from last weekend so we are making progress and eventually we will be competing for the win again. We are one DNF away from being right there in the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships so this is far from over.

Andrew Shovlin

A solid day for Valtteri starting fifth and finishing second but a disappointing one for Lewis after he lost a lot of downforce with some bodywork damage before the stop. Our task today was made harder by our poor qualifying but second and third was realistically our best result and around half distance it looked like we were on track to achieve that. Lando’s five second penalty gave Valtteri a good opportunity to pass in the pits so we decided to follow him in. Lewis took a lot out of his tyres trying to pass in the first stint but once he’d got through on lap 20, Max was too far up the road for us to mount a challenge so we were just looking for any opportunities with safety cars.

It looks like the bodywork damage for Lewis was at the end of lap 29 just before we came in. The downforce loss was around six or seven tenths but as it was all from the rear, the balance become difficult and we were damaging the rears with sliding. That dropped Lewis from second to fourth but at least we had Valtteri up there to pick up the position. We know we’ve not been strong enough at this track over a range of conditions so we need to go away and work hard to understand that. For the British Grand Prix we’ll bring an update package and it’s also a track that has suited our car in recent years. We really missed the fans in 2020 but we’ll be working hard over the next few days to recover our form and hopefully can give them something to cheer about on race day.

McLaren

Lando Norris

"I’m extremely happy with today’s result. Another podium and a lot of points for us as a team. A very good day. The only thing that’s disappointing is the fact we could’ve been P2, but at the same time that’s also a big positive. Our pace today was extremely strong, especially in the second stint against very fast cars and against Mercedes. A lot of positives and altogether a very good day – a huge thank you to the whole team for their hard work and giving me such a great car. We’ll keep pushing to take this momentum into our home race at Silverstone in a couple of weeks."

Daniel Ricciardo

“It was a nice day for the team with a podium for Lando and getting into the points for me. That was good. I just had a pretty fun race. It was busy, trying to attack and defend. It’s one I could enjoy and take some fulfilment from. The defence was tough. I was trying everything I could, every trick in the book to stay ahead. I think I held on as long as I could and Sainz was just a bit quick at the end with a fresher tyre – but I can’t complain with the race and the result. A better day. Happy to have finished the first triple-header of the season. As fun as the triple-headers are, they’re tiring. Everyone can enjoy a break now. We’ll look forward to Silverstone and the new format there. It should be interesting!”

Andreas Seidl - Team Principal

“What a performance today from Lando, Daniel and the entire team. P3 and P7 is an excellent result and continues the strong run we’ve had all the way through this triple-header. Everybody has contributed. A big thank you to every single member of the team here at the track, back home at the factory and our colleagues at Mercedes HPP for making this happen.

“After a strong race here last week it was great to see that we could increase our performance again and be in a position to battle the top cars with Lando. I’m just as happy with Daniel’s performance today – he scrapped it out with the Ferraris, did a great job and scored more important points in our Constructors’ Championship battle.

“The team is looking forward to a bit of a rest now after an intense triple-header. We’ll reset and get ready to go again at Silverstone. We’re already looking forward to our home race, with our fans and many of the team cheering us on from the grandstands.”

Red Bull

MAX VERSTAPPEN

“To win again at home at the Red Bull Ring is just incredible. I expected it to be good, but not this good, and the car was on rails. It was really nice to drive and the pace was incredible on both tyre compounds. I could push and also look after the tyres which is exactly how you want it to be and I could extend my gap lap after lap. Just like everyone else we learnt from last weekend and we optimised the car even more by improving the set-up. It’s actually hard to put into words because it was so enjoyable to drive and the weekend was the best it could be, so let’s hope we can carry on in the same way. It’s a great reward for everyone in the Team and it was also very nice to have Honda represented on the podium by Tanabe. The fans were also incredible all weekend, so much orange in the grandstands and it’s just great to see people back and enjoying Formula One at the track. There are of course a lot of difficult races coming up and Silverstone will be interesting with the Sprint Race to mix things up. But for now, I’m really happy with the way the whole race went and you don’t often get this type of race, so we all have to enjoy it.”

SERGIO PEREZ

“I’m obviously not very happy with my race today. On the fourth lap I had the position and I out-braked Lando but he pushed me off the track which pretty much ended my race. As for the other incidents with Charles, I still have to review the situations and look at the incidents because I thought that I was ahead in both of them, especially the second one but it’s hard to say right now. I braked as late as possible, we were in dirty air and we had very old tyres so I lost the rear on the second one into Turn 6. I’m very sorry for Charles and how I affected his race because that’s not the way I like to race. I don’t feel happy with myself for compromising the race for another driver. But I am very happy for Max and the rest of the Team, it was great that we could get more points today at our home race at the Red Bull Ring. We move on and I’m looking forward to the next race at Silverstone.”

CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal

“Max had another fantastic race today and a second victory at the Red Bull Ring is a great way for the Team to sign off the triple header. It was another impeccable drive from Max and he didn’t put a wheel wrong. To achieve pole position, fastest lap, lead every lap and become the first driver to win all three races in a triple-header is just phenomenal and shows the calibre of driver he is and the effort the Team are putting in every single weekend. Checo was unlucky to have a racing incident with Lando, but for me that’s hard racing, just like the similar incidents later in the race but he came back strong and we could all see how hungry he was to get a result. We’ve now won the last five races, a first for us in the hybrid era, but we cannot get complacent and need to keep that momentum going. There’s a long way to go in this championship, we don’t take anything for granted and we have to keep doing what we’re doing, session by session, race by race. Silverstone will be a big challenge and it’s been a Mercedes stronghold for the last seven years but there’s going to be a big crowd there and we have brilliant fans, so I can’t wait to put on another show for everyone who comes out to support us.”

Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari came away from the Austrian Grand Prix with a further 14 points, courtesy of a fifth place for Carlos Sainz and an eighth for Charles Leclerc. The result was down to teamwork, the two drivers working together in the closing stages to secure fifth place, which on paper looked like the best result available given the performance of the SF21 at this track. The overall result could definitely have been better, but for a couple of incidents when Charles was forced off the track by another driver, which led to penalties being imposed by the stewards.

Strategy. The team went for different tyre choices for the start for the two drivers, opting for the Hard for Carlos to give him the longest first stint possible, while Charles was put on Mediums. As the race evolved, it showed that the strategy chosen for yesterday’s qualifying was the right one, given that all those who started ahead of the Ferrari drivers on the Softs, finished the race behind them.

Carlos Sainz

“I’m leaving Austria feeling confident about the work we are doing weekend after weekend. Today we executed a smooth race with a good strategy, great tyre management and teamwork. We chose to start on Hards, which we knew would make us struggle in the first few laps. That cost me a couple of positions at the start due to the lack of grip but I knew my race was not about lap 1.
The target was to extend the first stint as much as possible and I managed to maintain a very solid pace saving my tyres. I actually went very long before stopping for the Mediums and from there it was flat out until the chequered flag. I caught up quickly to the cars ahead after passing Yuki (Tsunoda) and then thanks to our teamwork with Charles and a good overtake on Daniel (Ricciardo) I managed to cross the line less than 10 seconds behind Checo (Perez) for P5. We’ve had two good Sundays here in Austria but we are still far from where we want to be. The ambition and motivation is high, so we’ll keep pushing hard to improve for the upcoming races.”

Charles Leclerc

It was a frustrating race for me, as I felt I could have got an even better result. Splitting the strategy between me and Carlos paid off for the team in the end. I was struggling to fight my way ahead of Daniel on the Hards in the closing laps of the race and so I let Carlos by to give it a shot, which worked out well for us. Anytime I saw a gap I tried to take the opportunity. There were two close ones with Checo and I think he knows he was a little bit over the limit.
We have already spoken and cleared the air and, in the end, it’s all part of the game. A 5th and 8th place is not what we want, but I think that we did a solid job today. We’ve been working extremely hard, and every step forward is important. We have to stay consistent and continue like this and hopefully we can confirm out strong race pace in the next few races.

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal

This result is in line with our potential at this track. Fifth place was on the cards and the most we could aspire to. Carlos secured it with a great drive, while Charles definitely deserved better.
I think the decisions we made yesterday were shown to be the right ones, given how the race went. What I would highlight today is the spirit shown by our drivers, as Charles did not hesitate to make way for Carlos, who was on fresher and faster tyres. That meant we were able to get the best possible result for the team. It’s the right spirit and it’s the way to go as we continue to make progress.

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