2020 Styrian Grand Prix: What The Drivers Said

After back to back races in Austria, here’s what the drivers said at the conclusion of the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix…

Standings: 2020 Formula 1 Standings After Round 2

Lewis Hamilton, 1st

“This has tended to be one of my weaker tracks, so I am over the moon to have a performance like this today – so, so happy. This feels like a long time coming since the final race of last year and it is a great step forward to come back from a difficult first weekend. The team did a fantastic job with the strategy and then it was about keeping it together, staying off the kerbs and bringing it home. I tried to get the fastest lap towards the end, but I had 40-lap old Mediums, so it was going to be difficult against someone on new, fresh rubber. A big thank you to my team and everyone back at the factories, they have done a brilliant job. I think it’s easy to lose focus and determination, but I don’t ever see that with this team. We know there’s a long way to go and it’s a challenge for everyone, but this is a step forward, for sure.”

Valtteri Bottas, 2nd

“Starting fourth, I think today was all about damage limitation and we managed to maximise everything available to us. Yesterday wasn’t ideal so that’s why it wasn’t 25 points today, but we still scored some good points, the car performance was great and I’m still leading the Championship, so it’s not too bad. I had a good battle with Max, I had quite a bit more pace than him at the end as we extended the first stint to create a tyre offset, but racing closely is always fun and it was good to get the pass done. It’s been an encouraging first couple of races so I’m looking forward to next weekend.”

Max Verstappen, 3rd

“Today we maximised the result with the podium and it’s of course good to be back up there, but we were just too slow to really fight for the win. I pushed as hard as I could and tried everything to stay with Lewis but it just wasn’t possible. We have work to do and we will keep pushing as hard as we can to improve and I know how hard everyone is working. For me, it wasn’t the most exciting race up until I had a lap of fighting with Valtteri. My tyres were pretty dead at that point and I knew he was going to pass me, but I wasn’t going to make it easy and had a bit of fun re-passing him around the outside. I had nothing to lose as there was such a big gap behind so there was no risk. P3 is of course good points but it’s still not what we want, we want to fight for victories every weekend, so I hope Hungary is better for us. With less straights, we should hopefully have more chance and maybe it will be hotter than today. For now it’s time for everyone to have a few days to rest and re-set for next week.”

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Alex Albon, 4th

“The race was okay and P4 is a good amount of points for the Team, especially after last week’s DNF, so we definitely needed that. On my side, I was fighting a bit further back than I would have liked and my race pace wasn’t amazing. There’s time to find on my side but we’ve understood the car better this week and I think we know where to improve. With the long straights and types of corner here we struggled a little but I think Max and I both agree on where we can improve the car. Towards the end of the race, Perez was very quick. On the last lap he had a decent run on me into Turn 4 but I left him enough space. I think he ran a bit wide and we touched but we avoided a crash so it was ok and just hard racing. We’ve got a week now until Hungary to see what we can do, I think Mercedes will be hard to beat as we saw today as they’re really strong, but we’ll keep pushing.”

Sebastian Vettel, DNF

“I was really looking forward to racing today and had a good feeling about it. I didn’t get a very good start, losing a bit of momentum off the line. Then, it was very busy in Turn 3 and I was already fighting two cars. I had the inside line so I was not expecting anyone to try anything. I could not see that Charles was coming and unfortunately, I had nowhere else to go as there just wasn’t enough space. However, we are both mature enough to move on from this incident. It is very disappointing, but in my mindset, I am generally optimistic and at least I don’t have to wait long to be back in the car, so let’s hope that Hungary will be a better place for us.”

Charles Leclerc, DNF

“What happened today is clearly my fault, there’s nothing else to say. I take full responsibility. I made a mistake and apologising is not enough. We need to take every opportunity and today we could have had one, because even though we might not have the performance to collect a lot of points at the moment, every single point is important and anything can happen in the race, as we saw last week. But we didn’t bring home any points. I was so eager to do well for the team and I thought I might be able to gain three or four places and I went for it. But in fact the opportunity wasn’t there. It’s not easy for the whole team who worked hard to bring upgrades here. We are going through a difficult time and we don’t need this.

“I have apologised to the team and to Seb, who didn’t do anything wrong. I let everyone down today and I am very sorry. I will learn from this and come back stronger next time.”

“A very disappointing day for me. We missed out on big points after a problem at the pit stop. The first part of the race we were running P5 with a solid pace and managing the gap to the cars behind. Unfortunately, we had a bad pit stop, which meant we came out of the pits in the middle of traffic. I had to push too hard too early to try to recover the gap, and that drained my battery and ultimately compromised my tyres for the second part of the race. One of those days when nothing goes your way. Time to turn the page and come back stronger, but we missed out on a good P5 today. We win and we lose as a team, so we’ll try to fight back in Hungary next week.”

Lando Norris, 5th

“A very good race from us today. First of all, the team did an awesome job with the strategy and I did a good job with managing the Soft tyres in the first stint. We got to Lap 39 before we boxed and that was one of the key aspects to our race in allowing us to be so strong in the second stint, to go out on the Mediums and be one of the fastest on track for some of the laps. We managed to go from tenth all the way up to fifth, with three of those overtakes on the final two laps.

“It was a race where I had to go forwards and not maintain my position like I had to last week. It was much more a race of attacking and overtaking, which was nice to do. Very happy for myself but even more for the team, and getting some more points on the board with also the fastest lap from Carlos. A really good two weekends and a very good start to the season. We just need to try to maintain it into the next one.”

Sergio Perez, 6th

“The team did a fantastic job today: the strategy was good and the car had strong pace. We managed to achieve our goal of recovering positions and managed to drive all the way to P5 – almost P4 at the end. I was pushing Alex Albon hard through the second stint and I only had the one opportunity to overtake him. Unfortunately, we touched, and I lost a position and finished in P6. The important thing is that we made a good step from last weekend to this weekend at the same circuit. Considering the car is a new concept this year, we’ve shown that we are still learning and trying to understand it. I’m excited to go racing in Hungary next weekend.”

Lance Stroll, 7th

“We started the race strongly and settled into it quickly, making up some places. We managed to close in on the Renaults ahead too. The second stint was a little trickier and it was very difficult to pass Daniel Ricciardo – because he was strong on the entry and exit of Turn 1. But I was patient and I saw an opportunity to pass him on the final lap and made the move stick. That was such an exciting end to the race and I hope the fans at home enjoyed it as much as we did. The car was competitive today and we performed strongly against our rivals. That’s promising for the coming races.”

Esteban Ocon, DNF

“We had a cooling issue with the car and that was very unfortunate. These things happen in motorsport, but we know we had a great opportunity today and it’s a shame where we were running to retire the car. Hopefully it won’t happen again this year. It was good to have some fun with Daniel; we were both on different strategies and I think he had a bit more on tyres. We looked on for a good team result, so it’s a shame what happened. We have another opportunity next week to score some points.”

Daniel Ricciardo, 8th

“We certainly hoped for more today. I had a good start and made some decent progress up the order. The mediums felt good on our first stint, but when we put the soft on it wasn’t as quick as we’d hoped, and it didn’t really give us as much as we’d thought. The end of the race was frustrating, and I was struggling to hold on to the position on the last couple of laps. On the incident, I did see Stroll coming but I felt if I turned in, we would have crashed, so I had to make that call. I maybe should have blocked him and it’s a shame to lose a couple of positions from that one moment. The overriding feeling is frustration, but we’re up and running for the season now.”

Pierre Gasly, 15th

“It was a very disappointing Sunday after a great qualifying yesterday. We had a good position on the grid, so we were expecting to have a good race, but it didn’t start well, as I had contact with Daniel (Ricciardo) in Turn 1 and I almost spun the car. After that it was very tough, and the rear of the car just felt a bit strange. We tried what we could with the two-stop strategy, but we just didn’t have the pace.”

Daniil Kvyat, 10th

“I have to say that even if Friday and Saturday were quite difficult, it was a fantastic race for me today. I did my job and I brought the car home to score one point, with much fewer retirements compared to last week, so I’m happy. Everything was executed well and while I was often under attack, I was able to defend my position and I could even open the gap with the ones behind me towards the end of the race. Let’s think of Hungary now, it’s just around the corner.”

Romain Grosjean, 13th

“Today the car was much better. It obviously wasn’t fast enough, but much better, so we’ll keep working from there. It’s important to feel good in the car, to feel confident. I had to keep pushing. Obviously, things were better than Friday and Saturday. That’s the positive to take from here.”

Kevin Magnussen, 12th

“We knew we wouldn’t have the pace today, we knew something odd would really have to happen to be up there. Unfortunately, the race didn’t really unfold like last weekend with a lot of retirements. I know there weren’t a lot today, certainly not enough for us to score points. I had fun again in the race though. I made a good start, gained a lot of positions on the first lap – it’s become my only weapon. The car was consistent, we were able to extend that first soft stint enough before going on the medium, and that was more than we’d hoped for. That’s showing this car can look after the tyres and we can push the car in the race. We need to find some qualifying pace so we can start higher up.”

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Kimi Raikkonen, 11th

“We actually had a pretty decent car today and our pace was definitely a step forward, so it’s a bit frustrating not to be able to fight for the points. I lost a lot of time at the start, having to avoid the crash between the two Ferraris. I had to nearly stop, the car went into anti-stall and I couldn’t get it out. In the end, I managed to recover into a good position but I had to save fuel in the last 20 laps so I couldn’t push to catch Kvyat. On pure speed, I feel we could have got to the points but we fell a bit short. We get another chance next week so hopefully we will have a better end result then.”

Antonio Giovinazzi, 14th

“It’s been a bit of a tough weekend but after yesterday it was always going to be hard to salvage a point. I had a good first lap and made up a few places, but in the end we couldn’t make it up to the top 10. We can still be happy to be leaving Austria with two points in the bag; I am looking forward to racing on a different track next weekend. Hungary is very different from Spielberg, the layout requires a lot of downforce and it’s less about straight-line speed, so we will need to focus on trying new things to extract the most from our car.”

George Russell, 16th

“Firstly, I need to say sorry to the team. I completely messed it up in the early stage of the race. I made a good start and maintained the position and was trying to hold it on the outside of Turn 6 and just completely lost it. There was no grip out there and I need to say my apologies to the team. Who knows what today could have been, but I’ll bounce back next week.”

Nicholas Latifi, 17th

“It was a tough one, but overall, I thought I did a much better job in terms of the driving and I felt more comfortable behind the wheel. Today I had to fight a few cars, most of the fighting was with George, but that was nice to experience a bit of that consistently. We were lacking more pace than we thought coming into the race, so it was a shame we couldn’t fight more. We have some homework to do, but we still learned a lot which is the main thing.”

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