RACE REPORT & DRIVER INTERVIEWS – 2018 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX

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RACE REPORT & DRIVER INTERVIEWS – 2018 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX

Location: Spielberg, Austria

Circuit: Red Bull Ring

Race: 2018 Austrian Grand Prix 

Wow, wow and wow! What a race the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix was. There was plenty of battles not to mention issues / failures from teams, resulting in a surprise and seeing both Mercedes drivers out of the race due to an engine failure for Lewis Hamilton and a gearbox problem for Valtteri Bottas.

Today, the weather temperatures were a lot warmer than expected which caused blistering of the tyres for many drivers who had to manage their cars along with altering their pit-stop strategies. For Daniel Ricciardo a mechanical fault caused him to retire from the race along with the Renault of Hulkenberg with his car catching fire!

Despite never winning at their home circuit, Max Verstappen, once in the lead, controlled the race and when radioed from his team to give him information about other drivers simply said – “OK, well I’m feeling good so don’t worry about me.”

The Ferrari’s both had a good race too with Raikkonen in P2 and Sebastian Vettel in P3.

The leader in the World Championship battle has changed yet again – with Sebastian Vettel back in the lead.

Let’s take a look at what drivers and teams had to say following the race.

RED BULL RACING – 2018 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX

 

Max Verstappen – 1st

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Max Verstappen: “I’m so happy to win at the Red Bull Ring, and with so many Dutch fans here. It was also so unexpected, and that makes it even better.”

“An amazing weekend. If you want to win a race this is the perfect place, in a Red Bull car at the Red Bull Ring. For the race I was very happy in general with how the car was behaving but I always just try to do my best race possible; if that is going to be first, second, third, it’s not in your hand.”

“From my side I felt in control, I was driving to the best I could with the car I had and at the end we were struggling a little more than Ferrari with the tyre blistering but we managed to stay ahead.”

“I knew that Daniel and Lewis had to pit again and I didn’t want that scenario so I was not driving to the full limit of the car but just managing everything.”

“It was tougher than perhaps it looked but I just needed to be on top of my tyres. I’m very thankful to the engineers for making that strategy call under the VSC and full complements to the team for that pitstop, because that definitely made our race. The fans in the grandstand were great, so many orange t-shirts there.”

“My focus was always on the track but for the last few laps I could look a little bit to my left and they were really cheering me on, it was amazing.”

Daniel Ricciardo – DNF

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Daniel Ricciardo: “I’m obviously disappointed with how the day went. At one stage it was looking like a one-two, but in all honesty as soon as we put the softs on it didn’t feel like it gave me much.”

“Even though we were able to get Kimi, I didn’t feel like I was able to pull away and then I saw the tyre was getting torn apart. So we had to pit and that put us out of contention for the podium.”

“Then we had what I think was a broken exhaust which put me out of the race. I could feel something was wrong down the back straight before the last sector, so I mentioned it and then tried to do a procedure but the call came for me to stop.

“I’m happy for Red Bull today, the team, the brand, the people, and happy for Max who has so many fans here. I saw Mr Mateschitz earlier and I can imagine what he is feeling right now.”

“Obviously it’s not my day but from the team’s point of view, for the Austrians and for Max it’s a big day for them, so I’m happy that some part of the team will be celebrating today.”

“I don’t think I’ll celebrate too much for my birthday (today) but you know, maybe a cognac to get over these sniffles!”

Christian Horner – Team Principal

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Christian Horner: “An unbelievable feeling. To win in a Red Bull car at the Red Bull Ring is something I never imagined would happen this morning.”

“All credit to Max today, he drove a very, very mature race, managing a very tricky situation with the tyres and he completed a very controlled drive to win our first Austrian Grand Prix.”

“It was a great shame not to have Daniel up on the podium as well, after running for many laps in P2, but then his rear tyre started to overheat which caused a second pit stop. Shortly after that we began to see an exhaust crack that was causing gearbox damage, forcing his retirement.”

“A special word to our pit-crew, again executing a faultless stacked pit stop on our route to victory, as they had done previously this year in China.”

“I have to also applaud our entire staff back at the factory and their commitment to produce a competitive race car. The day belongs to them, to Max, to the team, to Red Bull and particularly to Mr Mateschitz who has given so much to modern Formula One.”

“We are all delighted for him.”

FERRARI – 2018 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX

Kimi Raikkonen – 2nd

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Kimi Raikkonen: “At the start I had a good getaway, but I found myself between two cars and I had to lift off to avoid them squeezing me, while I hoped they would see me.”

“I lost momentum, speed and the chance to challenge them in the first corner. It’s a pity, because without that, I think I could have been in the lead.”

“The first lap was quite hectic, then the situation calmed down for a while. Tyre management played a big part today: it was hard to know when to go flat out and be on the safe side at the same time.”

“The beginning of both stints was a bit tricky; we struggled a bit to get the grip and to make the tyres work, but then it got better and in the end we had very good tyre. We were obviously hoping to catch Max, but by then it was perhaps a bit too late.”

“Today we had the speed, but there just weren’t enough laps left in the race… Of course we wanted to win, we tried very hard, giving our best, but it was not enough.”

The good thing is that, as a team, we did a solid job. It was a strong weekend.”

Sebastian Vettel – 3rd

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Sebastian Vettel: “We did a good job and a good race. I had a very solid start, but in Turn 1 things got a bit messy. I tried to recover, but there was no room and lost some positions in Turn 3.”

“From them on, I had to fight with Renault and Haas and lost some time. However, the car was very good, we had a very good pace and we didn’t have any issues with the tyres; in fact, the car was very good on them, even if I had to manage the softs for a long stint, which again proves we have made good progress since Barcelona.”

“Obviously, I am happy with the points that we’ve got and the podium, but I am not satisfied 100 per cent, because I think there would have been more up for grabs today, if I hadn’t got the penalty.”

“We were the only cars that could be there with the Mercedes in terms of pace, but in the end, we proved more consistent.”

Maurizio Arrivabene – Team Principal

Maurizio Arrivabene: “The real story today is that there are six Ferrari power units in the top ten on the race result sheet. And, apart from that, we are leading both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships.”

“Today’s result was not ideal, but it is definitely useful. The team did a great job, at every level, to make up for a difficult Saturday.”

“During the race, the handling of the car, the perfect management of the tyres, the strategy and reliability, all made the difference.”

“On paper, next weekend at Silverstone looks difficult for us, partly because it’s a home race for our main rivals. But we will tackle it with our usual level headedness and determination.”

MERCEDES – 2018 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX

Valtteri Bottas – DNF

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Valtteri Bottas: “The luck I’m having this year feels like a bit of a bad joke at the moment. My start was not ideal; I had quite a bit of wheel spin and there was less grip than we expected, so I dropped a few places.”

“Going into Turn 3, I could recover two places and was back in second place. After that the car felt strong, we were running well, but then I suddenly experienced a loss of hydraulic pressure.”

“There was nothing I could have done to prevent the DNF. We need to investigate and find the cause of the issues we had today, but I’m sure we will recover from this result.”

“I guess it was just not meant to be today – but one day it will be.”

Lewis Hamilton – DNF

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Lewis Hamilton: “This is definitely the worst weekend that I can remember for a long time. Everyone in the team will be feeling pain today, but we’ve got to take out the positives of the weekend.”

“The car has been great all weekend, we were quickest and we’ve had such great reliability for so many years. So as painful as it is, we have to take the rough with the smooth.”

“I have every confidence in my team that we will be able to bounce back. We can’t throw away points, so we will have to find a bullet-proof method going forward.”

“We will work on it and we will try to re-evaluate and come back stronger.”

Toto Wolff – Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

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Toto Wolff: “For me and for the team, this is the most painful day of the last six years – to lose a possible 1-2 finish in this way, through our own mistakes and unreliability, just hurts so much.”

“We had a spectacular first lap: a great getaway for Lewis and Valtteri battling back into P2 under braking for Turn 4. For the first 13 laps, it looked good, with both drivers in control and managing the pace well.”

“The first blow was Valtteri’s retirement after losing hydraulic pressure – this brought out the VSC. We decided to leave Lewis on track for one lap, because we thought it would take longer to clear the car from its position, and be able to react what the cars behind us did on the following lap. But the VSC cleared sooner than predicted; we simply made the wrong decision.”

“That left Lewis with an uphill battle – we pitted soon after racing resumed, put him on the soft tyre, and he then had to try and make up the ground on track.”

“In doing so, the rear tyres blistered, he lost position to Sebastian, then we decided to pit again as there was nothing to lose from doing so – but, shortly after, a loss of fuel pressure forced him to retire.”

“A double retirement through reliability is hard to stomach but we know from bitter experience that the difficult days are when we learn the most. “

“We will pick ourselves up in the next days, learn from our errors and go to Silverstone with our heads held high. It is a home race for the many team members in Brackley and Brixworth; we will be aiming to come back strong and make amends for our failures today.”

MCLAREN – 2018 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX

Fernando Alonso – 8th

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Fernando Alonso: “I’m very happy – we didn’t expect points today, so that was a very nice surprise. It was a strange race. I started from the pit-lane, was then running 19th after the first laps, then I got stuck behind a group of cars and wasn’t able to run at my proper pace. Also, the front wing we ran was last year’s, so we didn’t know exactly how it would behave with the rest of the aero package.”

“The race was quite chaotic: the hot track temperatures caused a lot of blistering for everybody, but I was able to take care of them and capitalise on that.”

“The points were a nice reward, but we need to keep improving. The next race is our home grand prix and we need to be more competitive there.”

Stoffel Vandoorne – DNF

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Stoffel Vandoorne: “It was a normal racing incident on lap one: into Turn Three, there were three or four cars side by side, and that corner closes up at the apex and the exit. There was no way to avoid contact, unfortunately.”

“After pitting for a new nose, I came back out in traffic, getting blue flags straight away as the leaders went past me. It was very frustrating to have to let all the cars through.”

“Towards the end, I got some clear laps and managed to overtake some cars again. There was some pace in the car – if you look at the lap-times, we were much more competitive today than we were in qualifying. That’s a plus.”

“The team getting another few points is another positive to take away from a difficult weekend.”

HAAS – 2018 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX

Romain Grosjean – 4th

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Romain Grosjean: “It’s a great day for all of us, the whole team. They deserve such a good result with the cars finishing fourth and fifth.”

“It’s incredible for our 50th grand prix. I’m so, so happy for all the guys. We’ve done an amazing job all weekend. We had some luck in the race with the Mercedes cars not finishing, but it’s been a great weekend and we can really build on that.”

“There are still a few things we can improve here and there, but I’m happy we managed to get that long stint on the tyres.”

“The last 20 laps were not fun – there were blisters on the rears – and I was afraid they were going to explode at any time. I am just so happy that we hung in there and finished fourth and fifth.”

Kevin Magnussen – 5th

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Kevin Magnussen: “We’ve had a very good weekend. To challenge for top-five, we didn’t expect that. We finished both cars in the top-five, and that’s an incredible job from the team and I’m really proud of the whole team.”

“We were struggling with blistering on the tyres – the whole of the soft stint. They blistered very badly. I managed that, and then had pressure from behind, so I had to push, but I had a good race.”

We’ve shown this weekend that we’ve got a good car. Actually, it’s not only this weekend – we’ve shown all year that the car is very competitive.”

“We’ve just got to keep going like this.”

The Formula 1 Girl 🙂

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