For Scuderia Ferrari, the result of the Sprint race at the Austrian Grand Prix was a carbon copy of yesterday’s qualifying. It means that when the race gets underway tomorrow, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will start from second and third places on the grid.
The second Sprint of the year saw Charles get off the line better than Max Verstappen, but he was unable to get ahead of the Dutchman. In the opening laps, Sainz and Leclerc traded places several times, before the positions stabilised. Today’s race, which can be seen as the first part of a match, provided a good opportunity for Scuderia Ferrari to acquire useful data relating to the behaviour of the Medium tyres, as well as other parameters that can only be evaluated under racing conditions. All this information will be analysed this evening, along with data from yesterday to prepare every detail of tomorrow’s 71 lap (306.452 km) Grand Prix. Both Ferraris demonstrated strong race pace, especially after the opening laps and the slightest detail could make the difference.
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.’
‘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.’
Laurent Mekies Racing Director
‘Today’s Sprint race confirmed that on this track too, it’s really close between us and our main rivals. It was important to verify this in race conditions and I’d say that this afternoon’s 23 laps confirmed it. I think tomorrow’s race will be very closely contested and anything could happen. It will come down to the details, which is why we will now, along with our colleagues back in Maranello, analyse everything in depth to work out how to get the most out of our package. Tyre management, especially at the start and end of the stints could be the key element and we will have to be ready to make the most of any opportunities that come our way. Tomorrow will again be a case of two against two, as Sergio Perez made up several places this afternoon and so the contribution of both our drivers will be essential if we are to get the result we are after.’