Race - Eifel GP 2020 - Team quotes
— Nicholas Latifi finished 14th in an actioned packed Eifel Grand Prix
— George Russell’s race unfortunately ended due to a collision caused by Kimi Raikkonen
— George started the race 17th, with Nicholas lining up 18th, both on the soft Pirelli tyre
— Nicholas ran a two-stop strategy, pitting first on lap 14 and then on lap 33 for the medium compound on both occasions
It was a very frustrating way to finish the Eifel Grand Prix. I was racing with Sebastian (Vettel), and Kimi (Raikkonen) was close behind. I overtook Sebastian in the corner before, but he got the DRS to re-pass me. Kimi was close behind fighting with us, he made the mistake, lost the car and crashed into me which damaged the car and gave us a puncture. There was too much damage to bring it home and we had to retire the car, but that’s just racing sometimes.
Up until then, the car was feeling was good and we were on pace with the guys around us. We were on a slightly different strategy to those we were racing, so there were opportunities there. It is a shame because the way that this race has panned out there was definitely an opportunity there.
It was a challenging race today and I was pushing as hard as I could. I can’t pinpoint why exactly, we were just lacking overall pace, especially compared to the Haas and the Alfa. We were put in a good position after the safety car, but we had faster cars on new qualifying tyres behind us. I had some fun battles with Daniil (Kyvat), I think for the last five or six laps I was defending into turn one, battling through one, two and three, so it was fun to have that fight. We will have to go away and analyse to see why we were lacking pace this weekend.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
It is a shame that George’s race ended as soon as it did as he was making decent progress and was in a good race with the cars that eventually finished in the points. Nicholas was unfortunate with the timing of the safety car, which helped our rivals more than us. However, overall, we didn’t have the pace to achieve a better finish today, but we have enjoyed our return to the Nürburgring and the shortened race weekend, which made yesterday quite difficult but has served as useful preparation for the upcoming race at Imola.
“I’m really happy today because yesterday was pretty difficult for us. I didn’t feel so good with the car as we didn’t manage to get the balance where we wanted. We know that on Sundays we usually have a bit more pace to fight and be in the mix for points, and today it was good fun. I had a lot of battles on track – attacking, defending…all sorts of situations and I must say I really enjoyed it out there! The team took all the right decisions in the right moments, so I think we can all be very pleased with sixth position today.”
“Not a good one today, my race was pretty much ruined from the moment I had contact with Albon. I don’t know what he wanted to do but as a result, I lost my front wing and the car was massively damaged on the floor and brake ducts. I lost so much time doing that slow lap to the pits without a front wing, then the pit stop was obviously slow to replace it, so there wasn’t much I could do afterwards. The car was missing a lot of downforce, so I struggled for the rest of the race. I was just hoping for some rain or something to happen to be able to catch up, but nothing happened. It’s a shame because until that incident with Albon it really looked like it could have been a very strong race, I think we could have done well today.”
Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer)
“Overall as a team, we’ve had a really good result today. It was a challenging race as, like all the others, we headed into Sunday with very little information on tyre performance. Daniil was very unlucky when he came together with Albon which caused him to lose his front wing, especially because at that time we really had strong pace. That meant his race was pretty much over, as it did a lot of damage to the floor and other parts of the car. On the other side of the garage, Pierre drove a really good race, he managed the tyres well and gave us excellent feedback, allowing us to plan a good strategy. We reacted well to the late Safety Car, pitting Pierre while Leclerc in front didn’t pit, so with fresher tyres we were able to attack him and finish ahead in P6. Today we scored more points than our main competitors, which allows us to close the gap in the fight for sixth position in the Constructors’ Championship.”
Franz Tost (Team Principal)
“This race weekend was under quite difficult circumstances because of the weather conditions. As we weren’t able to run on Friday, it wasn’t an easy exercise for the engineers to find the correct setup, and that’s maybe why we suffered a bit on Saturday during Qualifying, finishing only 12th and 13th. For today’s race, we decided to put both drivers on the Prime tyre at the start, which meant the first laps were a bit tricky for them until the tyres reached a good temperature. However, they were both able to catch up and put in some really good lap times. Unfortunately, Daniil was involved in an incident with Alex Albon where he lost his front wing. The car was heavily damaged, especially on the floor, so Daniil could not keep the same performance level he showed before the collision and his race was heavily compromised. As for Pierre, he had a very good race. We called him in on lap 29 for the Base tyre because we thought we could make the one-stop strategy work. However, when the Safety Car was deployed on lap 44, we decided to bring him in again to change him to the Option tyre, on which he did a really good job chasing Sainz in the last 15 laps and finishing just a few tenths behind him in sixth position. The pit stops were good today and we made the right strategic decisions, so well done to the team. I think this was the best we could have extracted from the package today, and we closed the gap a bit to sixth position in the Constructors’ Championship, so we are positive for the future. We’re looking forward to continuing our good form in Portimao.”
Haas F1 Team completed the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix with Romain Grosjean ninth and Kevin Magnussen 13th at the Nürburgring on Sunday.
Grosjean started 16th on Pirelli’s P Zero Yellow medium tires but fell to the back of the field on a frantic first lap. At an atypically cold grand prix Grosjean extended his stint and rose up to 11th position before pitting on lap 29 of 60 for a set of White hard tires. Grosjean returned to the circuit in 15th spot but gained spots to hold 10th position when the safety car was deployed due to an issue for McLaren’s Lando Norris.
Grosjean took the restart in seventh on harder and older tires than his competitors but held on to a points-paying spot by greeting the checkered flag in ninth. It marked Haas F1 Team’s best result of the 2020 campaign and a return to the top 10 for Grosjean for the first time since Hockenheim last July.
Magnussen took the start on Pirelli’s P Zero Red soft tires and had a customary strong first lap as he rose two positions from 15th to 13th. Magnussen came in for medium tires on lap 14 and emerged in contention for the top 10 positions, pitting again for another set of mediums on lap 36, before joining Grosjean in staying out when the safety car was deployed.
Magnussen initially maintained his place – holding P11 but lost out after rubbing wheels with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and later had to cede position to Alfa Romeo rival Kimi Raikkonen. Magnussen completed the 60 laps in 13th position.
World Champion Lewis Hamilton controlled proceedings to record his 91st grand prix victory, drawing level with Michael Schumacher atop the all-time list. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was second with Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo third.
Haas F1 Team maintains ninth in the Constructors’ Championship with three points.
Haas F1 Team will be back in action for the Portuguese Grand Prix, to be held at the Algarve International Circuit, from October 23 to 25.
“It feels good – finally. We’ve been doing a good job in the last few races but things haven’t gone our way. I said yesterday that the unexpected was the best we could get. Obviously, we did a different strategy on tires – it was very difficult at the beginning. For us, we have to take risks, if we follow regular strategy we don’t have the raw pace to be up there sadly. We managed to hold on though and go for one stop in the race. It wasn’t really good news for me when the safety car came, but we managed to get some temperature back into the tires and hold on to P9. That was good news. It was a question of time before we got a good result, but I’ve known we’ve been doing a good job.”
“Today was one of those races that gave some opportunities, so missing out on that was disappointing. We were on the wrong strategy, but there was no way to know that before the race. We chose the strategy that we thought was going to give us the best chance – but then the race just didn’t really come our way. I had some early front wing damage as well, so all-in-all it just really wasn’t my day – that’s racing.”
“It was a happy day today for us. We come away with some points – which is fantastic for the team as they work hard, everybody did a good job. I don’t know if it’s because we had no Friday practice, maybe it made it a more level playing field. Obviously, we got a little bit lucky as a few cars dropped out at the front, I’m conscious of that, but in the end we took the opportunity. It’s a good feeling again to come away with points. Hopefully we can have more of that this year – we’ll keep trying hard for it.”
“I’m a little bit frustrated because I felt the podium was ours if we didn’t have the safety car. Until that point, I was catching Daniel [Ricciardo] and he was on older tyres – so it was set up for a close battle for the podium in the final laps. Once again, the first stint was crucial to our result. We made a good start and gained a place, and we were able to manage the tyres to run longer, so we had an advantage for the second stint. After the safety car, I was able to pressure Daniel and I almost got him into Turn 4 but I wasn’t able to make it stick. To finish P4 is a strong result and the team did a great job to go into a race full of unknowns and read the conditions so well. I’m pleased to see Nico score points as well and we’ve ended up turning what could have been a really difficult day into a strong result. The car is performing well and we can be proud of our recovery today. I’m going to catch up with Lance on the phone later and we’re looking forward to him returning.”
“What a race and a story that was! I really didn’t think we could go from last to eighth – I’m not sure many thought it would be possible before the race! A lot of things happened around us and some retirements helped too, but I’m really pleased with our performance and it’s a real credit to the team. I went out there with the goal of driving as hard as I could and avoiding any incidents, and we managed it well. It felt strange at the start as I’ve not raced around a lot of cars like that for a while, but I made up a couple of places and I started to get into a good rhythm halfway through the first stint, which was crucial because we were able to extend it and it helped me get up to speed. I’m feeling it now: it’s a very bumpy track and I’m a bit sore because it was mentally and physically demanding out there. I’m very happy with the result and it was great to play a part in the team moving up into P3 in the Constructors’ Championship. Obviously, there’s still a long way to go in the season, but I wish the team all the best in the coming races.”
Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal
“After a challenging weekend leading up to the race, it feels very satisfying to leave Germany with 16 more points and to reclaim third place in the Championship. Sergio was in the hunt for a podium and, with a tyre advantage, was closing quickly on Ricciardo until the safety car levelled things. Still, fourth place is an excellent result for the entire team. On the other side of the garage, Nico was fully deserving of being voted driver of the day by the fans. He was up against it, having only done ten laps in the car prior to the race, so to finish in eighth is a tremendous effort. We thank him for standing in for Lance, who is feeling a bit better today and has now returned home to continue his recovery. We’re hopeful he will be back to full health in time for the next race in Portugal.”
“It’s been a challenging weekend for us. We have to be fairly happy with P5 and those 10 important points. I managed to be consistent on track and took advantage of the opportunities. However, our main competitors finished ahead and seemed to have better pace throughout the race. I never felt completely comfortable with the car, so we need to make sure we understand better the new parts. There are an important couple of weeks coming up to analyse what we do for the future and how we go into Portugal. Sorry for Lando today, it seemed to be the same issue as in Spa. We move on.”
“Initially we had a good start. Our strategy and pit-stop meant we had a decent first stint that put us in a strong position. Then obviously we had the power unit problem before the pit-stop, which was costing us a lot of time every lap. I was just dropping further and further away from a potential P4, and what looked like fighting for a podium. We could’ve scored some good points today and we haven’t. Thanks to everyone in the team for all their hard work and effort this weekend. It’s a shame – but on to the next one.”
Andreas Seidl - Team Principal
“A disappointing Sunday afternoon for us here in the Eifel. The team did a great job with the strategy and pit-stops, and both drivers drove excellent races. We looked set for good points with both cars – and perhaps better with Lando running in P4 and chasing Daniel to fight for a podium. Unfortunately, we had another power unit problem after we already had to install a new engine this morning on Lando’s car. We need to wait for our colleagues from Renault to investigate, but it appears to be an issue similar to what Carlos experienced in Spa.
“On the positive side, Carlos raced to a good P5 and scored 10 important points.”
"Overall it was a positive weekend and I think we can be very pleased with another second place. I tried to keep as close as possible to Lewis during the race and we just didn’t quite have the pace to fight him but overall I was pleased with the performance. We have taken a step forward with the car this weekend, so I am of course happy with that, but we still need to improve and we will keep pushing so we can take the fight to Mercedes every weekend. The Safety Car re-start was not easy with the cold temperatures and the tyres, especially with the others behind having a bit of a temperature advantage after catching up to us, but I managed to keep them behind and pull away again with Lewis. I’m of course also happy with the point for the fastest lap which was an extra bonus. It’s also good to see Daniel back on the podium, he is a great driver and he really deserves it."
“The pace in the car was good today so it’s a shame to have a result like this and not see where we could have finished the race. I had a lock-up avoiding contact on the first lap which meant I had to pit really early because I had severe vibrations from a flat spot on the tyre. I don’t really know what happened with Daniil and I need to watch it back. I think he may have run a little wide into the chicane when we did the re-start and I guess it was a bit of misjudgment from my side. After that, the Team saw the temperatures rising and I was asked to box and then retire the car. It initially looked like a power unit issue from the data but the Team investigated and found that some debris had pierced the radiator system which led to the rising temperatures. It is definitely not the way I wanted to end the weekend as the car felt good, but onwards and upwards and I’m looking forward to Portimao in a few weeks’ time.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal
“It is fantastic to see Max on the second step of the podium again with yet another stellar drive and we do seem to be a small step closer in the fight with Mercedes this weekend. Max was able to keep within striking distance of Lewis for the entire race and it all got a little more interesting when the field closed up behind the Safety Car on lap 44. Because the Safety Car was out for so long the tyre temperatures plummeted which Lewis, with the DAS system, was able to handle a little better than we were. Max managed the tricky re-start well and from there it was a pretty straight forward race to the finish for second place. Alex’s day was far from simple with a big lock-up into Turn 3 on the opening lap causing us to pit him early as the vibrations took us close to the safety threshold. He was then making good progress back through the field but was incredibly unlucky to pick up some debris, which pierced the radiator, causing his engine temperatures to rise which unfortunately forced us to retire him. Our congratulations also go to Renault, Daniel and Cyril for the podium today and now I think we are all intrigued to see what tattoo Daniel chooses for Cyril!”
Scuderia Ferrari leaves Germany’s Nürburgring circuit with a seven and eleventh place in the maiden Eifel Grand Prix, courtesy of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel respectively. The SF1000 was not as competitive in the race as it had been in qualifying, especially with Charles who was soon struggling on the Soft tyres, so that he came in to get rid of them on lap 10.
Fightback. The early tyre change meant Leclerc was now on a two stop race, during which he pulled off several impressive passing moves on his way back up to sixth place. But with 15 laps remaining, the Safety Car came out after Lando Norris had to park his McLaren at the side of the track. That penalised the Monegasque who had no more fresh tyres and therefore decided to stay out on track, but at the restart, he had to give best to Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri to finish the race in seventh spot.
Vettel. With a free choice of tyres, Vettel opted for Mediums at the start, after which he lost one place to a hard charging Antonio Giovinazzi in the Alfa Romeo. As Vettel then tried to pass the Italian, he lost control at turn 1 and had to pit having flat-spotted his tyres too badly to continue. He took on Hards on his SF1000, but they would not go the distance and so he came in for a final set of new Softs, which allowed him to fight, most notably with Kevin Magnussen, but he was unable to get into the points, having to settle for eleventh behind the aforementioned Giovinazzi.
Tribute. Lewis Hamilton won the race, thus equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 GP victories. 72 of the German’s wins were obtained with the Scuderia, the other 19 with Benetton. To mark the occasion, Michael’s son Mick presented the Englishman with one of his father’s crash helmets. The Ferrari Driver Academy student was due to make his Formula 1 weekend debut here at the Nürburgring at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo Racing car in the first free practice session, which was cancelled because of rain.
“Seventh is the best we could do today. On the soft tyres at the beginning we struggled massively, which compromised our race. We had a lot of graining so we were very slow and lost several positions. So we went for a two-stop strategy, which I believe was the right thing to do.
On the medium tyre it went quite well and we did some good overtaking which is always fun. It was very tricky after the safety car period towards the end of the race, because I had to do the re-start on old tyres and it was very cold, but I think we managed pretty well. I am happy with the overall improvement we have seen in recent weeks. We are not yet where we want to be, but every small step is going in the right direction and this is what we need.”
“I would have liked to bring home some points, but generally, I was struggling too much with the tyres. I think the start wasn’t bad. I was on the Medium compound and only lost one place to Giovinazzi in the Alfa Romeo. However once my tyres were in the right temperature window I was stuck behind him and I was struggling a lot to pass him. I probably took too much of a risk and damaged my tyres. I was obliged to pit and after that it was very difficult to fight back.
With the Safety Car at the end we thought there was a chance for points, we fought with Magnussen and I also tried to pass Giovinazzi. In the end we just weren’t able to pick up the last point. It was a very difficult day.”
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
It was a tough race today, mainly down to getting the tyre temperatures into the right operating window. That was particularly the case with Charles who, after a good start, began to suffer with graining on the Softs, right from the first few laps, which meant he was unable to push as hard as he would have liked. We therefore had to pit him earlier than planned, immediately switching him to another strategy. Then, in the closing stages, when it would have been possible to pit under the Safety Car, we took the joint decision to leave him out on the Mediums, given what we had seen in the early stages of the race.
As for Sebastian, the spin early on compromised his race and from then on, there was little to be done, even in the final laps when he was running the Softs.
Of course, we are not satisfied with this result, but we continue to work on improving our overall performance level. We saw signs of progress in qualifying, but the important thing is that the updates we are introducing seem to be going in the right direction, especially looking ahead to 2021. In the light of this, we should also have a few updates for the next race in Portimao.
There are many points to reflect on as the dust settles on the Eifel Grand Prix, a race that gave us emotions at both ends of the spectrum from start to finish. We went from elation to heartbreak within a corner as both cars made massive gains at the start, only for Kimi to be forced off the track to avoid a rival just seconds later and lose his newly-found position.
We had overtakes, great defending, a few bits of carbon shed, as both Antonio and Kimi climbed the order to run in P8 and P10 ahead of the second round of stops, fuelling our dreams of a double-points finish. We saw those dreams dissolve as a late Safety Car hurt our chances to keep those positions – but so is the way of Formula One, sometimes. In the end, we bring home one point, another little step forward as we continue to make progress. A top ten finish, the second in three races, showing we are in this battle and we’re not backing off.
The emotions started right at the lights. By virtue of making it off the grid today, Kimi Räikkönen is now officially the most experienced Formula One driver in the world, with 323 starts to his name. This illustrious record means he has now taken part in more than 31% of all Grand Prix events in history – nearly a third of all Formula One races EVER.
We would have loved to celebrate this milestone with a point for the veteran Finn; alas, the racing gods had different plans. Antonio’s fine P10 is still a reward for our efforts this weekend, one we will cherish – especially for the combative way the Italian fought his way through the field, defending his position all the way to the finish line.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo
“Scoring a point is always a positive result, but what is even more important is the way in which we have scored it. The team did an excellent job today, showing grit in difficult conditions and being ready to take the chances that we had along the way. We fought on merit with the cars we had around us, we kept behind a driver the calibre of Vettel despite the pressure he applied on Antonio for pretty much the whole of the race and we put in some good overtakes. The only regret is with that late Safety Car: we could have been on course for a double-points finish, but the shuffling of the positions it created meant we lost some ground with too little time to make it up. Still, to finish in the top ten for the second time in three races is a positive on which we can build for the rest of the season.”
“It wasn’t the greatest weekend, but after yesterday we knew we’d have a difficult job on our hands. The start of the race was ok, but then I had to avoid some cars ahead of me and I lost a lot of places. We could have been a bit ahead but the Safety Car cost us a few position and the end result wasn’t great. It was a frustrating weekend, but we have to leave it behind us and try again next time.”
“I am very happy with today’s performances, both mine and the car’s. We did a very good race, keeping good pace from start to finish. We knew everything was going to be possible on such a day and that we could fight in these circumstances, so I am happy to bring home a point. I had another great start, making up a few places, then we managed the tricky conditions pretty well. I think we could and should have finished a bit higher, in P8, but the last Safety Car really hurt us as we lost places to Hulkenberg and Grosjean. In the end, though, finishing in the top ten was the target and we did it. It’s a good confidence boost ahead of the next few races.”
Lewis equals Michael Schumacher’s F1 win record with victory for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team at the Nürburgring
— Lewis secured his 91st victory in Formula One – his seventh of the 2020 season and second at the Nürburgring
— He now equals Michael Schumacher’s record for the most race wins in F1. Lewis was presented with one of Michael’s helmets, by Michael’s son Mick, in Parc fermé in celebration of the achievement
— Valtteri led the early stages of the race but was forced to pull into the garage and retire the car on lap 19 owing to a Power Unit problem
— Today’s result marked the 228th race in the points for Mercedes-Benz power, equalling Ford for the longest run of consecutive points finishes for an engine manufacturer
— Lewis (230 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 69 points from Valtteri (161 points)
— The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (391 points) leads Red Bull Racing (211 points) by 180 points in the Constructors’ Championship
— Stephen Lord, Race Team Coordinator, accepted the Constructors’ trophy on behalf of the team
It’s tough to put what this means into words. I remember watching Michael winning all those races when I was a kid and playing racing games with my brother and choosing to play as Michael. I dreamed of being there myself, but I don’t think anyone and especially me, imagined another driver getting anywhere near Michael’s records. It was beyond my wildest dreams to be equalling his number of race wins and it just shows that dreams can come true. It’s an incredible honour and something that will take some time to sink in. But I couldn’t have done it without this incredible team, everyone pushing so hard and giving it absolutely everything. A huge thank you to everyone back at the factories and also a huge respect for Michael, I feel really grateful today. In terms of the race itself, it was tough out there. I had a really good start and Valtteri did an amazing job to defend into Turn 2, I wouldn’t expect it to be any other way. Then it was about trying to figure out how I could beat Valtteri, so I really had to look after the tyres and make sure I stuck with him. I saw he was struggling a bit and knew the opportunity would come, but then he had the lock-up. I managed to build a good gap after that, but then the Safety Car came out. Max was right behind me and I knew I had to have a strong restart to keep him behind. I managed to catch him out which is always nice and that gave me the jump I needed. But you can see the pace Red Bull had at the end, so we’ve got a serious fight on our hands.
It’s a frustrating way to finish a race, it was really good fun until I started to lose power during the Virtual Safety Car. The start and the battle with Lewis through the first couple of corners was nice, there was no way I was going to make it easy for him. Obviously, later on I had a lock-up into Turn 1 and lost the position, which meant I stopped early. The new tyres were starting to feel pretty good and I was hopeful I could have potentially undercut. Everything was still to play for. But then it was quite a big loss of power – something wrong with the Power Unit. We’ll have to investigate what that is, but it was really unlucky. I went around for a couple of laps to see if it recovered but there was nothing else we could do.
Congratulations to Lewis on the victory today and for equalling Michael’s record for most F1 wins. It’s an incredible moment. I remember watching F1 when Ferrari were winning every single Championship. Now our team have been able to catch them up and seeing Lewis equalise Michael’s winning record, it’s much more emotional than I thought it would be. An amazing thing to witness and a fantastic drive by Lewis today. It was a challenging race with very tricky, cool conditions. Valtteri and Lewis had a brilliant battle on the first lap, they raced each other hard but knew where the boundaries were. Valtteri went full rally style, keeping his foot on the throttle and maintained position. The pace of Valtteri’s opening few laps were incredible and it was such a shame he suffered the lock-up and then had the Power Unit issue. Otherwise, he would have been in the fight for victory, for sure. We still need to analyse what caused his retirement, because we don’t yet know the real cause. Everyone at Brixworth on the Power Unit side are pushing the boundaries all of the time and that’s why these things can sometimes happen. Of course, disappointing for Valtteri but we know how resilient he is, so I’m sure he’ll bounce back.
Another really impressive win from Lewis and it’s incredible that he’s equalled Michael’s colossal tally of race wins. Michael has many good friends within the team, and it was very moving to see Mick and the family mark the occasion by giving Lewis one of Michael’s helmets. Valtteri on the other hand had a tough day. It was going well for him, but all his bad luck seemed to come within a few laps. He’d struggled a bit with the front end when we had some spots of rain, which triggered a lock up that meant he had to box for a new set. He then lost race time to Lewis and Max, because they benefited from a faster stop under the VSC, and then on the restart he was losing power and we couldn’t recover the situation. So, we retired the car. We’re still looking into the problem, but the early indications are that it’s an electronic issue rather than a hardware issue. Lewis’s day was more straightforward. He did a good job of preserving the tyres in the first stint and was starting to make good time on Max later in the stint, but ultimately both got pulled in by the VSC. He had everything under control in the second stint. We had the gap to just shadow what Red Bull were doing but the Safety Car came out, which made the decision to convert to a two-stop very easy. Overall, it’s been pleasing to see car work well in the cold conditions but as we’ve seen in other years, Red Bull are developing well and it’s looking like it will be pretty tight in the remaining races. However, retiring a car from a race is not our normal standard and it’s especially tough for Valtteri, who had good prospects after such a strong pole position yesterday. We’ll work hard to get on top of that issue and look forward to the challenge of another new track in Portugal.
Renault DP World F1 Team claimed its first FIA Formula 1 World Championship podium in its new guise in a thrilling Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring as Daniel Ricciardo finished a superb third place. The result is the first podium for the team in 10 years.
Daniel climbed three places from sixth on the grid and held on for the final podium spot by just over 1.4seconds after a battling display at the wheel of the Renault R.S.20.
The 2010 Belgian Grand Prix was the last time the team was on the podium after Robert Kubica’s third place at Spa-Francorchamps.
It was a superb team effort from pit wall, factory and garage allied with a stellar drive from the Australian, who had to battle and dig deep to preserve his tyres throughout the 60-lap race in tricky, cold conditions. After gaining a position on lap one, Daniel remained patient before passing Charles Leclerc for fourth with a move on the outside of Turn 2. After Valtteri Bottas pitted, Daniel briefly held onto third place, before pitting on lap 16 under the Virtual Safety Car for Medium tyres.
With others around him remaining out during the brief VSC period, Daniel’s plan was to manage the Medium tyres until the end of the race. And with Sergio Perez pitting later and, therefore on much fresher rubber, Daniel faced a fight on his hands in the closing stages of the race. But a late Safety Car meant Daniel was gifted the opportunity to pit for Softs and a much smoother run to the flag. Perez put pressure on at the restart, but Daniel held firm, managing the gap to just over a second at the chequered flag.
Team-mate Esteban Ocon retired on lap 23 with a hydraulic issue while running strongly inside the points. After a difficult start off the line, Esteban recovered strongly and was driving well in the top half of the field before his retirement.
“Oh wow, it feels like the first time I ever got a podium. These emotions and that feeling you get when you get out the car, hug the team, the mechanics slapping you on the helmet, it’s just amazing and I am so happy we did it! It’s obviously my first one with Renault and it’s something I wanted to achieve when I set out on this journey with the team. It’s been two and a half years since I’ve been in this press conference too, so it’s been a while for me. I felt like it was coming with our performances in recent races, so I am so happy to have done it. The race itself was pretty tight and there was some discussion on whether to pit for a second stop or not, but we had the luxury of track position. The Safety Car then gave us an advantage, so we made that call and, in the end, it was the right one. What a day!”
“It’s a fantastic team result today and congratulations to Daniel and the team for the superb podium. It’s a massive result for the Constructors’ Championship – that’s the most important thing – and it also underlines the team’s progression this season. On my side, it was looking decent to be honest and we were definitely in line for a top five finish. I did not have the best start but on the first stint, I was managing the tyre quite well and we were in a good place. I basically lost steering, brakes and gears and it’s a hydraulic issue, which we’ll investigate. It’s a shame, but we’ll come back from it and we look forward to the next race.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal
“It’s a great feeling that and I would like to share this emotion we had at the track with every team member. It’s been a huge, huge journey to get here and today is a milestone. We earned that podium: we’ve seen it coming for some time. We have had the potential to be there and today we had the right circumstances. While we might need events in front to happen, we have a car that is a good all-rounder and when this type of opportunity comes we have the right team to capitalise. Daniel drove a great race and fully deserved this – we will have to see about that bet now! It is a bit bittersweet as only one car was at the finish line. Esteban was driving a solid race until his car developed a hydraulic issue and we had to retire him. Without it we could have got a huge points result, which is very important as reliability is what will eventually define the championship in Abu Dhabi. But for now we need to celebrate and enjoy this moment as it is a moment that matters in the life of the team.”