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HomeClassic Car InvestTeams’ reactions after the sprint race for the Austrian Grand Prix

Teams’ reactions after the sprint race for the Austrian Grand Prix

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The Austrian Grand Prix weekend features this year’s second sprint race weekend format following some interesting race actions at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix earlier this year. Just as in the sprint race at Imola, it was once again Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who came out on top by winning the 23-lap sprint ahead of the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Round 11 of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Champion saw drivers battle it out on Friday to secure the best starting positions before the field flexed its muscles today to fight for the grid positions for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Starting from the first place, Max Verstappen could hang on to the first position, fending off the attacks from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at the start. The Monegasque was involved in a lengthy battle with his team mate Carlos Sainz, who could make use from the longevity of the three DRS zones at the Red Bull Ring.

George Russell had a lonely race in the fourth positions while Red Bull’s Sergio Perez made a great recovery drive after starting from P13. Esteban Ocon finished in P6 ahead of Kevin Magnussen. Mercedes racer Lewis Hamilton made a poor start and dropped back to P11 before slowly fighting his way up the field and getting involved in a long battle with Haas driver Mick Schumacher.

Max Verstappen, 1st

“It feels good to bring home the Sprint win at here at The Red Bull Ring. The first two laps were important for me to pull a gap, from there it was all about maintaining the pace. The Sprint race of course does not give you the full picture heading into the race tomorrow, but pace wise, it’s close between us and Ferrari.

“I still expect it to be a tough battle tomorrow, we’ll also have the hard tyres so it will be interesting to see how they perform during the race. It’s going to be very important to make good strategy calls during the race as you never know what can happen, it’s not going to be straightforward but I’m looking forward to it.”

Sergio Perez, 5th

“It was a good race and recovery, I had a good start and kept out of trouble, it was tricky with Lewis and a lot of people going side by side into turn three. We got the most we could out of the Sprint and I feel it is a strong result from us. Once I got past everybody, George Russell was a bit far for me to catch up with, I wish I had got back up to P4 but I can fight from fifth.

“There are lessons we can take from the Sprint race to make sure we are on the podium tomorrow. Patience will be key on Sunday; I want to get a good start and get in the mix straight away in the race. I made up four places in the first lap today so hopefully tomorrow is the same. We are still to unlock some potential from the car so we can look forward to the race.”

Charles Leclerc, 2nd

“I had a pretty good start. First, we had a battle with Max (Verstappen), which was a bit on the limit. Then Carlos overtook me but I regained my position in turn 4. I just focused on managing my tyres for the first few laps so that we could push more towards the end. It was a good plan, as we picked up pace and I felt good with the tyres.

“We lost a little time in the battles, but it was fun and I don’t think it changed much in terms of the overall outcome today. Tyre management will be key in tomorrow’s race and I think it could be an exciting one.”

Carlos Sainz, 3rd

“It was good racing today, especially the first few laps battling with Max and Charles. At the start there was an opportunity to get Max at turn 3 and I went for it, but I couldn’t make it stick around the outside. After the initial laps, I then had to let the tyres and the battery recover, before getting back into my rhythm and that was pretty much it for today.

“Tomorrow is the real race and we’ll be starting all over again in the same positions. We are all very close at the front and the fight will be tight. Our rivals seemed to have a bit more pace today but we’ll do our best to challenge them tomorrow.”

George Russell, 4th

“First, thank you to everyone in the garage to get the car ready today. It was a huge team effort, so it was good to get points on the board. As for the performance, the gap was more than we were expecting. We were 13 seconds behind after 23 laps, so that’s nearly half a second per lap.

“We need to work overnight to understand why we dropped off the pace. Small things can make a difference – the tyres weren’t easy to manage, and different approaches to downforce levels will play a part tomorrow. But we are in no doubt that we’ve got work to do.”

Lewis Hamilton, 8th

“I’m grateful I managed to survive out there today. The team did such a great job to get the car back together last night and this morning. A big thank you to them and I’m glad I brought it back mostly in one piece. I didn’t have a good start, then Pierre [Gasly] moved across on me at Turn 1. I don’t understand why drivers do that when there’s so much space to the right, and I couldn’t do anything about it.

“Then the same happened in Turn 3 with a Williams and Red Bull. I got some sort of damage, but at least could continue. After that, I was just trying to catch up. We are slower on the straights, so I had to wait until I was out of the DRS train to overtake the cars in front. That’s why it took a few laps to get ahead of Mick. Hopefully we can race stronger tomorrow – fingers crossed!”

Esteban Ocon, 6th

“Obviously I’m very satisfied with this sixth place at the end of the Sprint Race today. We got off to a good start and managed to stay ahead of Kevin [Magnussen] in the first two laps, before building a comfortable lead over the two Haas. George [Russell]’s Mercedes was too fast for us.

“All in all, I think we maximized our chances today, securing a good grid position for tomorrow’s Grand Prix, while also scoring a few points along the way. However, one more lap today and the story could have been different, as I had to stop the car at Turn 1 during the re-entry lap. The team is reviewing what happened and I’m sure we’ll be ready for tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso, DNS

“It’s very frustrating not to have been able to start the Sprint race today. We couldn’t get the car started on the grid so we went into the pit lane and then tried an external battery but it still didn’t work we had to give up.

“The problem appears to be electrical in nature, and we are still investigating it. Unfortunately, despite a competitive level of pace this year, I have also been the victim of bad luck, which has cost us points. I hope luck will turn tomorrow. Let’s see what we can do in the race.”

Mick Schumacher, 9th

“I think the battle with Lewis was quite fun. It’s surprising to see that we were able to fight for that long, and even the Red Bull behind us wasn’t that much quicker, so that was a nice feeling. I think that we could’ve had points today but we didn’t.”

Kevin Magnussen, 7th

“I didn’t expect that we would be able to do that, especially after this morning in practice. It didn’t look good, it didn’t feel good, so we made some changes but the cars are under parc ferme so it’s very limited to how much you can change.

“The changes worked and the pace was more of less back for the race. We’ve got two points so I’m very happy and we can certainly fight for points tomorrow given yesterday’s performance. I’m looking forward to another try tomorrow.”

Valtteri Bottas, 10th

“It was a good drive with some nice battling, but we ran out of laps to make it higher than tenth – it’s a shame the points only go down to eighth! We struggled a bit in the beginning, with a slight engine issue, but in the end we had better pace than the Haas, even though we were still a bit too slow on the straights – probably a bit too much wing.

“Tomorrow should be a completely different kind of day, starting from the back: it will be a longer race but I am confident we can make up ground. The pace is there and I absolutely think we can make it to the points: you never know what can happen.”

Zhou Guanyu, 14th

“At the end of the formation lap, right before the last corner, my engine suddenly switched off. That was very strange, and the first time happening to me; I had to do the whole switch-off procedure, and that took a bit longer but luckily, we got going again. Apart from that, the race has been very enjoyable for me, it was a good comeback from last week’s crash, and I managed to confidently attack and move up the grid.

“We showed very strong pace overall, and I am quite happy with how the car was performing today. I am happy with my starting position for tomorrow’s race, it’s what we were aiming for after qualifying. We need to understand what happened today in the formation lap, but I am confident for tomorrow, I reckon we have a good chance to battle for points.”

Daniel Ricciardo, 12th

“There are certainly some positives to take. We moved forward and had a bit more pace than a few of the cars in front as well. It’s been a pretty tricky weekend, so I’d say that was one of our better sessions. We’ll obviously try to get into the points tomorrow.

“I think with a few more laps today, we would have had a chance to crack into the top 10. So tomorrow with a longer race we might have a bit more of an opportunity. I think the others will try to improve overnight, so we have to still find a bit more in the car, but it was more encouraging, and we look forward to tomorrow.”

Lando Norris, 11th

“Positive overall, we went forward a good few positions and we should be starting P10 tomorrow, but it wasn’t easy. I had to use the tyres a lot in the first part of the race and they then dropped off a bit halfway through. Apart from that, I’m happy with the result. We did pretty much exactly what we wanted to do.”

Sebastian Vettel, 19th

“I think Albon was a bit optimistic when we were fighting in Turn 6 and slid into me, which cost us the chance to bank a decent grid position for tomorrow. I made it out of the gravel, but the car had some damage. It means I will start tomorrow’s race almost where we started today.
“It is a shame because we made some good progress in the early laps, and I think starting on the Softs was the right decision. There is still a long race ahead of us and we will try our best to move up the order tomorrow.”

Lance Stroll, 13th

“We had a good Sprint today. On the Soft compound, we were able to make up some initial positions but then got stuck in a DRS train. It is difficult to make progress given how close the midfield is and the way the Softs dropped off towards the end.

“We will gain a position on the grid for tomorrow’s Grand Prix due to Bottas’s penalty, so that is one place closer to the points. We are understanding more about this new package as well, especially after a strong practice session earlier today.”

Pierre Gasly, 15th

“I’m extremely disappointed, we started the Sprint in the top 10 and before the first corner it was already over. I don’t really know what happened, so I need to review it later, but I was alongside Lewis and all of a sudden, I was facing the wrong way on the race track.

“The left-hand side of the car was broken after that, so it was horrendous to drive for the rest of the race. Tomorrow will be a long race, so we need to go away tonight and see what we can do to make our way forward.”

Yuki Tsunoda, 17th

“It’s been a tough day. I had absolutely no pace from my side, it was a different level compared to the others and the car was just too slow. We’ve lacked grip in general and had unpredictable balance across the weekend, we’ve looked at the data and so far been unable to find an issue, so we need to go away and look more deeply at this.”

Nicholas Latifi, 18th

“Not the result we wanted today. I felt after the second lap that the tyre could be a struggle. However, we made a decision as a team to go for it and to try that tyre. It didn’t feel bad in practice, but we need to understand why it didn’t work as well in the Sprint. We had nothing to lose, so we’ll reset and see what we can do tomorrow.”

Alex Albon, 16th

“We had a good start but then had to avoid a crash so lost a few positions, which was frustrating. I don’t regret the tyre choice [of softs]; we were generally struggling with pace out there, especially when we were following other cars and the wind changed quite a lot which didn’t help us. We were better when we were in clean air, but we know what we can do better for the race.

“I feel the penalty I got was a little harsh. I’m braking in a sensible place and I wasn’t trying to push anyone off, I’m staying away as much as I can. But I feel when you put yourself on the outside with a car with limitations, you’re putting yourself at risk. It’s a shame because we lost a few places with that penalty. It was a tough race for us today, but we’ll fight back tomorrow and hopefully come back stronger.”


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