This week McLaren’s position was boosted by an impressive sixth place finish for Lando Norris in Spielberg, and an impressive recovery to eighth place for Carlos Sainz having started from the back row of the grid due to a power unit penalty.
“What a race!” beamed Sainz after the finish. “I’m really, really happy with how we recovered from a tough weekend, and from P19 on the starting grid.
I had this feeling of frustration due to the penalty, but this morning I turned all that frustration into motivation for the race.”
Sainz had been able to select to start the race on the medium compound, and used that choice to run a long first stint that saw him up into the top six before he finally pitted on lap 41.
“I think we executed a very strong race today,” he said. “A long stint on the medium tyre and then pitting for the hard compound in the right moment. From that point onwards it was overtake after overtake, and I made my way into the points.”
Unfortunately his progress up the standings came to an early end, and he had to settle for eighth place after sustaining damage to the MCL34.
“The only setback of the day was that my front wing got damaged 10 laps from the end when I was starting to attack [Toro Rosso’s Pierre] Gasly,” he reported. “With the pace I had, I think I could’ve taken P7.
“But I really had to drive the car carefully to avoid any mistakes and finally managed to stay ahead of Raikkonen.
“Very happy for everyone in the team. Great race, great comeback and congrats for another double points finish.”
Norris had a more straightforward time of it on Sunday. He qualified in sixth place but gained a place due to another driver’s penalty and started from fifth from where he got a better start than Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
Unsurprisingly Hamilton soon got back past him. Norris was also powerless to prevent comeback drives from Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel. But he did get to snatch back a position from Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen.
“It was a fun race!” said Norris. “A good start, managed to go forwards and battled the Mercedes and the Ferrari for a lap or so, but had to concede those positions and think of my own race.
“The Alfa got past me on the first lap, around the outside at turn 4,” he continued. “Not much I could’ve done and dropped back to fourth and then fifth, then had Max behind me for a little bit.
“I saved my tyres for the first few laps, had it under control then pushed and did what I needed to do,” he said. “I was just doing what I had to do in terms of saving the tyres and not taking any risks.
“There was a lot more in it if I really needed to push,” he added, already looking forward to his first home F1 race in two weeks time at Silverstone.
Ferrari will not appeal the stewards’ decision not to penalize Max Verstappen for his overtaking move on Charles Leclerc that decided the Austrian Grand Prix.
Verstappen passed Leclerc down the inside into Turn 3 with three laps remaining, but having got alongside there was contact between the two that resulted in Leclerc taking to the run-off area.
The stewards investigated the incident but decided no driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for the contact and took no further action — something team principal Mattia Binotto disagrees with.
“The obvious question, what’s our opinion, there will be no further action compared to the accident and the investigation,” Binotto said. “What’s Ferrari’s opinion and position? We still believe that this is a wrong decision, that’s our own opinion.
“We believe that Charles leaves the entire space, he had no fault, a collision has happened and he has been pushed and forced off the track, so we believe these are clear rules which we may appreciate or not. And these are exactly the same rules which have been applied in past races.
“Having said that we respect fully the decision of the stewards. They are the judge, we need to respect that, and more than that, as a Ferrari fan — and I am the ultimate Ferrari fan — I think it’s time for F1 to turn the page and look ahead. As we often said we should leave drivers free to battle.
“So we may not be happy about the decision, we are not supporting the decision but somehow we understand the fact we need to move forward and overall that’s good for the sport and good for F1. So bravo to Verstappen, the victory of him — he did a fantastic race today. Charles as well — Charles drove very well, but there will be new opportunities.”
Binotto also confirmed the team would not be looking to challenge the decision, following a request to review Sebastian Vettel’s penalty in Canada two races ago.
“We can appeal, we may somehow have intention of appeal tonight and appeal later on but it’s our decision not to do it, as we said it’s good for the sport to turn the page and to look ahead.”
Scuderia Ferrari leaves Austria with a second and fourth place courtesy of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, which came at the end of a great race that was closely fought right from the start to the end of the 71 laps.
Start. Charles got a perfect getaway to keep the lead, ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian also shot off the line and by the end of the opening lap he’d already made up three places to cross the line sixth behind Raikkonen and Norris. Sebastian pursued the English McLaren driver and got past on lap 4, then two laps later he also dealt with the Finn in the Alfa Romeo.
Pit stop. On lap 21, Sebastian was the first Scuderia Ferrari driver to pit, replacing the Softs on which he started with Hards. The German’s stop took longer than usual, because of a radio problem, which meant the mechanics were not quite ready in time. This cost Sebastian around three seconds, as he rejoined behind Gasly in eighth place. Charles came in on the next lap, rejoining right behind Hamilton and Verstappen yet to stop.
Mid-race. At the halfway point, when all the leaders had pitted for the first time, Charles had a five second lead over Bottas, with Vettel closing fast on Verstappen and Hamilton. On the hard tyres, the Dutch Red Bull driver was lapping faster than Sebastian and caught the number 5 SF90 on lap 49, getting ahead one lap later. The team reacted immediately, switching Vettel to a more aggressive two stop strategy. Sebastian set off on Soft tyres, seven seconds behind Hamilton.
Close finish. On lap 56, Verstappen caught Bottas, passed him and set off in pursuit of Charles, with fresher Hard tyres. The Dutchman caught Leclerc with six laps to go. On lap 68, he passed Charles at Turn 3, but the Ferrari man made the most of the SF90s good traction to retake the lead on the next straight. One lap later, Verstappen attacked again at the same place, but collided with Charles, which forced him to run wide.
At the same time, Sebastian caught Hamilton and passed him a lap later. Verstappen took the flag 2.7 seconds ahead of the Ferrari man. Third was Bottas, just seven tenths ahead of Sebastian. The next round takes place at Silverstone in a fortnight’s time.
Investigation. The incident between Charles and Max was reviewed by the Stewards. Almost three hours after the end of the Grand Prix, the decision was announced that it had been a racing incident and that no further action would be taken and so the classification remained the same.
Charles Leclerc: “It was a positive weekend overall. Unfortunately, it did not end as we would have liked it to. My first stint was good and our pace was there. We pitted early to prevent losing our track position to Bottas.
“This made the second stint longer and more challenging than expected, as the rear tyres degraded quite a bit towards the end of the race. Second place is not what we wanted, but we gave it our all and made good a step forward this weekend. I am conviced that this will bring further progress for the next few races and allow us to achieve the success that we want.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I’m always positive and today the team gave me a great car to drive and I think this was a better weekend for us, maybe like in Canada a few weeks back. I’m disappointed about how things went for me yesterday but today’s race was fun for me from the cockpit and I enjoyed some good wheel to wheel battles, pushing throughout.
“I’m also disappointed for Charles as he did an excellent job and was very strong all weekend. All in all, I’m happy in one sense but unhappy in another, because we could have had both cars on the podium this weekend, one of them on the top step.
“As for the car, we know what’s needed: we need more downforce. We are strong at tracks like this and the one in Canada and we know what we have to do to improve the car, but it’s not easy and it can’t be done in just one day. I’d like to thank all the team in Maranello because all of them are very passionate about this and are working like mad to improve the car. This year’s Ferrari is definitely good enough to win races.”
Mattia Binotto Team Principal: “Every race has a tale to tell and today’s was a great one, featuring some exciting battles. For our part, we have shown that we are continuing to improve. Charles drove a really strong race from start to finish and indeed he was fantastic all weekend.
Seb also had an excellent race: on the hard tyres he attacked and pushed to the maximum even if in doing so, they wore quickly. From that, it’s clear his two stop strategy was not planned in advance, but adopted as his race evolved. There’s obviously disappointment for the radio problem we had at Seb’s pit stop. Not all the mechanics heard the call and that cost him precious time.
“With regards to the decision of the stewards, we fully accept it, even though we don’t believe it is the right decision. They are the judges and we have to respect that. However, even though I am first and foremost a Ferrari fan,
“I think it’s time for F1 to turn the page and to look ahead. As we often say, we should leave the drivers free to fight, as overall this will be good for the sport and good for F1. So ‘bravo’ to Verstappen, he drove a fantastic race today as did Charles. There will be new opportunities for us in the future.”
Charles Leclerc says Max Verstappen’s controversial move to win the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix is “not the way you overtake” after their wheel-to-wheel Formula 1 battle ended in contact.
The two drivers bumped wheels as Verstappen finally overtook the Ferrari at the Turn 3 right-hander at the top of the hill at the Red Bull Ring, one lap after a failed attempt in which they ran side-by-side without touching.
Max Verstappen was confirmed as the winner of the Austrian GP following the stewards’ review of the on-track clash between the Red Bull driver and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the closing stages of the race.
The pair were dicing for the lead as they entered Turn 3 on lap 69, with Verstappen overtaking his rival but then pushing Leclerc wide on the exit.
The Red Bull charger defended the move, saying it was just “hard racing” while a fuming Leclerc felt he had been pushed off the track, a view predictably shared by Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto.
After hearing from the two protagonists, the stewards labeled the issue a racing incident and deemed that no further action was required, confirming Verstappen sixth career win in F1.
“The Stewards reviewed video evidence, heard from the driver of car 33 (Max Verstappen), the driver of car 16 (Charles Lecletc) and team representatives and determined the following,” the stewards stated in their report.
“Car 33 sought to overtake car 16 at Tum 3 on lap 69 by out-braking car 16. When doing so, car 33 was alongside car 16 on the entry of the corner and was in full control of the car while attempting the overtaking move on the inside of car 16.
“However, both car 33 and car 16 proceeded to negotiate the comer alongside each other but there was clearly insufficient space for both cars to do so. Shortly after the late apex, while exiting the corner, there was contact between the two cars. In the totality of the circumstances, we did not consider that either driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for the incident. We consider that this is a racing incident.”
The drivers’ representative among the FIA stewards at the Austrian Grand Prix was nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen.
The Stewards made the right call. Perhaps Formula 1’s ‘Let them race’ policy has a future after all…
Red Bull report from the Austrian Grand Prix, Round 9 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
Finish Position: 1st, Start Position: 2nd
“It was an incredible race and I’m so happy to take the Team’s second victory at our home Grand Prix. It was a shame at the start as I triggered anti-stall and dropped back to seventh. From there onwards the pace was really good, I stayed calm and kept pushing hard.
“The second stint was decisive for us as the car really came alive. Once I passed Valtteri I thought I could have a go for the win as our pace was so strong but you never know. I just kept pushing, drove flat out and didn’t give up. We passed Charles with a few laps to go so I’m extremely happy. The move was close racing and if you can’t make moves like that I think it is better to stay at home.
“I want to say a big thank you to everyone at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, all weekend we have been working really well and the upgrades seem to have worked. Thank you to all the crew here, everyone at the factory and of course Honda, it’s not been easy for them over the past years but to win for them today is just incredible.”
Finish Position: 7th, Start Position: 8th
“It was a tough race and a difficult day. I didn’t have great pace on the soft tyre in the first stint and then I was stuck behind the cars in front. On the second stint, I pushed too hard at the beginning and destroyed the hard tyre after only a couple of laps which left me with massive blisters, so from there I was just slow and I didn’t have the pace to catch Lando.
“Overall, it’s nice to see the new upgrades are working with Max. He did a fantastic job so this is positive and we now look forward to Silverstone. On my side, I’m not very happy with my performance and I could have managed the race a lot better. I’m a really competitive guy and there is work to do.
“I haven’t found exactly what I want from the car so we will keep pushing, but it’s good to see the car is working and I think we have a good direction for the upcoming races. I have a lot to learn and take from having Max next to me. I want to deliver more and I know I can, so now we need to work.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal: “What an unbelievable performance by Max today. To win the race here in Austria and to give Honda its first victory with a V6 hybrid is unbelievable. Winning our home race means an enormous amount to everyone in the Red Bull family.
Mr Mateschitz has put so much into the sport with both Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, so it means an incredible amount to deliver this victory for a second year running. It was a tense wait after the race but the stewards made the right decision. What happened today between Charles and Max is hard racing and I think that’s what Formula One is all about – it’s two young guys going for it.
Formula One has come under a lot of criticism recently and I think today’s race was an exciting one with overtaking, tyre degradation and drama – exactly what the doctor ordered! We came to Austria as outsiders and so to win here is a dream come true and I think that was Max’s best win. It was a tough race for Pierre but he managed to make progress and pass Raikkonen.
When your teammate is performing at this level the benchmark is extremely high, but with time and as his confidence builds, Pierre will close the gap. Our target in the constructors’ championship is Ferrari and we need both cars to score the maximum points possible.”
Race control announced shortly after the race had finished that the incident would be investigated, but a decision released at 7.46pm local time said the stewards found neither driver “wholly or predominantly to blame” for the contact.
The stewards’ explanation read: “Car #33 [Verstappen] sought to overtake car #16 [Leclerc] at Turn 3 on lap 69 by out-braking car #16.
“When doing so, car #33 was alongside car #16 on the entry of the corner and was in full control of the car while attempting the overtaking move on the inside of car #16.
“However, both car #33 and car #16 proceeded to negotiate the corner alongside each other but there was clearly insufficient space for both cars to do so.
“Shortly after the late apex, while exiting the corner, there was contact between the two cars. In the totality of the circumstances, we did not consider that either driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for the incident.
“We consider that this is a racing incident.”
The decision means Honda keeps its first victory in the V6 turbo-hybrid era and first since 2006, when Jenson Button won the Hungarian Grand Prix (pictured above).
Leclerc argued after the race that Verstappen would probably have passed him anyway, given the Ferrari was struggling with ailing tyres, and that the contact was “just not the way you overtake”.
Before meeting with the stewards Verstappen called the collision “hard racing” and questioned “the point of being in Formula 1” if that pass was considered illegal.
Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said: “It’s not an incident, it’s racing.
“We don’t even need to discuss it, if that’s what you want, you have to go to a road safety meeting.
Full transcript from report from the top three press conference after the Austrian Grand Prix, Round 9 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
Featuring race winner: Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
Track interviews conducted by Martin Brundle
Q: Max Verstappen, what an astonishing race you drove. We see two cars down there from the great Niki Lauda – a Ferrari and a McLaren. A worthy champion of course, three times, a legend in this country, who we recently lost. You and Charles did him proud during that grand prix, congratulations. Max Verstappen: Thank you. Wow! After that start I thought the race was over. But we just kept pushing hard. Quite quickly I saw the pace was actually not too bad, but I had quite a bad flat spot on my first [set of] tyres. And then after the pit stop we were flying. You can see it now on the straight we had good pace as well so we could make the pass. Of course extremely happy for the whole team and also for Honda. We just started working together this year but to win here is incredible.
Q: It got a little bit cosy, a little bit close during the overtake of Charles. It’s under investigations. I’m sure you’ve been told by the team. What’s your point of view on that? MV: It’s hard racing. Otherwise we have to stay home.
Q: So you’re really comfortable. Your elbows are out, you took the place and you were up the inside. MV: Well, I mean, if those things aren’t allowed in racing, then what’s the point of being in Formula One.
Q: Well, let’s just celebrate a magnificent drive, well done. Charles Leclerc I thought your first win was there; so did you I’m sure. Take us through it from your point of view. Perfect start, perfect race until the closing stages. Charles Leclerc: Yeah, overall I thought the race was good. At the end I had a bit more degradation than I thought so Max came back. Then, on the incident, I’ll let the stewards decide. For me it was pretty clear in the car, I don’t know how it looked like from the outside. We’ll see what the decision is.
Q: You don’t feel it was a fair pass? CL: I don’t know. I was the outside, just like the lap before. Actually, the lap before was completely fine. He left a space for a car width on the exit of the corner but he didn’t on the other lap, so we touched and then obviously I didn’t have a chance to pass back. It’s a shame.
Q: Incredible performance still, congratulations. Valtteri, a couple of 21-year-olds today putting on a stunning performance. You’re the top Mercedes man, was it a difficult race? Valtteri Bottas: I think we made the most out of it. It was a bit more difficult than we expected, especially with the overheating of the engine, so couldn’t really race properly – had to manage all those temperatures. That’s why defending was difficult and also attacking. But, yeah, got some good points. It was one of those weekends, but it’s not bad.
Q: Anything you could have done better? The start was reasonable, pace was reasonable but you couldn’t stay with those two. VB: On pure race pace I don’t think there was not much difference, but once we had to start to manage the temperatures we were dropping back, so…
Q: Well Max, many congratulations. A great race from you although you didn’t make it easy for yourself, dropping back to seventh at the start. First question: how does this win compare to the ones that came before? MV: It’s a bit different again. At the start I had anti-stall. So I guess we set the clutch a bit too aggressive. But yeah, from there onwards, I think my first stint was a little bit limited with the flat-spot I had after lap one – but still, we stayed out quite long and, once we came out again, we had great pace initially. I think we were looking after the tyres a bit, just settling in. Then, one-by-one we were overtaking the cars ahead. The car really came alive.
Q: At what point of the race did you think the win was on? MV: Difficult to say. I think once I got past Valtteri, with the pace we had, I could definitely have a go at it. But you never know. I just kept pushing really hard – but we did it with a few laps to go so, of course, extremely happy but also to the team. I think all weekend we’ve been working really well and the upgrades we bought, they’ve worked really well, so a big thank you to Red Bull Racing themselves, all the boys there – but also to Honda because it’s not been easy for them in the past but today it’s been incredible, so I’m very happy for them.
Q: Charles, the disappointment must still feel very fresh for you. Can you just give us your thoughts on the weekend as a whole and what positives you can take away from this Austrian Grand Prix. CL: Yeah, the weekend was positive. Quali was positive, the race though, I feel like we missed something. Quite a lot of degradation again on the second set. So yeah, on that we need to work but overall a positive weekend.
Q: And what about your performance of your car in race conditions versus qualifying. Were you expecting a little more from it? CL: Maybe a little bit. I think what we didn’t expect is Max going that long in the first stint, and then the second stint was harder because we pitted quite early onto the Hard compound.
Q: Valtteri, you celebrate your 50th start for Mercedes with another podium. Great start from you. Did that lay the foundations of this third place? VB: Yeah, obviously the start was important because, I think, for us to attack any cars ahead was quite difficult today with the overheating issues we had, so had to do big amounts of lift and coast and couldn’t actually use any of the better engine modes in the race so everything was on safe mode, just by overheating. Felt like we couldn’t really race today, so it was nice to have a good track position in the beginning and actually, in the circumstances today, I’m happy that I managed to be on the podium and also get a few points against Lewis.
Questions from the Floor
Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Max and Charles, obviously you went side-by-side with each other two laps in a row. Max can you just talk us through how the attack the second time was different, what you did differently? And Charles, do you think that when you did make the contact, you could have done anything yourself to avoid a collision? MV: I think the second one I braked a bit deeper into the corner. We had a little contact of course, mid to exit of the corner but yeah, from my side I think it’s racing. We all know there is a crest in that corner as well. If you take the crest wrong – because we both went a bit straight on – at one point you run out of room but it’s hard racing, it’s better than just following each other and have a boring race, isn’t it? CL: Yeah, I did the same thing from the first to the second lap. The only thing that changed was on the second lap there was contact and then I had to go wide and I lost quite a bit of time there.
Q: (Christian Menath – MotorsportMagazin.com) Charles, just following that, could you have done anything to avoid the contact, probably go a bit wider and then come onto the next straight a bit deeper or anything like that? CL: As I said, I’ve done exactly the same thing from the first to second lap, so I did not expect any contact on the second lap. Yeah, as Max said, I think he braked a little bit deeper. I don’t know if he lost it or not but then there was the contact. I felt I was quite strong in traction, from the first attempt I managed to have a better traction and I kept my position. On the second one I couldn’t do that because I was off track.
Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) Valtteri, you mentioned the overheating issues but it was clear that the car was also being aerodynamically compromised to improve that situation. Was the team surprised that even with all those openings for cooling there were still overheating issues? VB: The issues today were definitely bigger than we expected. We knew it was going to be difficult and we would have to do some lift and coast but we never expected we would have to do that big amount and also by not being able to use good engine modes it made quite a big difference. And on top of that there were the aero losses and we were fully open with everything, so quite big losses and aero-wise as well, but the bigger thing was the engine power and the lift and coast.
Q: (Luke Smith – Crash.net) Max, congratulations on your win, how significant do you feel this is for the Red Bull Honda project going forward and I guess the validation of the faith that Red Bull have shown in the Honda project so far? MV: Yeah, of course I think this is very important for us and also for the future, for Honda as well. I’m just very happy that it happened today and it just gives us a lot of confidence as well to the boys and maybe a few doubts are going away because of it so yeah, at the moment it’s an amazing feeling.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Max, did you have the time to enjoy the ambiance of the orange army? Did you hear it during the race or at the end? MV: I think I was a little bit too busy myself, driving, but I could see them going up, like cheering me on. I was watching a little bit, next to the track. You can’t miss the orange but of course the in-lap, you see everybody going wild so yeah, I don’t know, it just gives me a lot of positive energy going into a Sunday like this, and of course after the start I was disappointed but we never gave up and of course then to come back like this is amazing.
Q: (Peter Hlawiczka – F1News.cz) Valtteri, have you already seen the incident from Charles and Max? And what is your opinion, would you penalise it or was it just a racing incident? VB: I have not seen anything of the race apart from my own race so I can’t say anything. I’ve seen nothing.
Q: (Christian Nimmervoll – motorsport-total.com) Charles, do you feel like this one has been stolen from you? CL: Umm, well I think overall Red Bull was very quick today, very good at keeping the tyres better than us. If I feel the overtake was done rightly? I don’t think the second one was but I believe that anyway the end would have probably been the same but it’s just not the way you overtake, I think.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Max, on lap number 55 we heard ‘I’m losing power, guys’ and suddenly you overtake Valtteri. What does it mean? MV: Yeah, the radio is always a bit late, so it’s maybe one or two laps later, because I had one attempt running towards Valtteri and then suddenly I lost power so I had to do a few changes on the steering wheel and then I was fine again.
Q: (Peter Vamosi – RacingLine.hu) Juan Pablo Montoya said yesterday that he wanted to be a race steward; are you happy with that? MV: I think he was quite a hard racer himself so I would definitely support him being a steward. I think he would be my mate. CL: I think it’s always good to have ex-drivers as stewards, as mentioned during the press conference on Thursday. Yeah, I believe that they probably know how it feels to be in the car and what it’s like to push on the limit and when it’s wanted or not wanted so yes. VB: Yeah, I think it’s good to have drivers’ view. He was a good hard racer as well so…
Q: (Arjan Shouten – AD Sportworld) Max, sixth win of your car; can you compare this one with the other five because it’s the first one with a new engine, the drama at the start. Does it feel any better? MV: It’s always a different feeling, I think, especially coming back from P7 or whatever it was. Of course also the new partnership with Honda. At the moment I’m just really happy for them especially.
Q: (Zsolt Godina – Favilag.hu) Charles, what are your expectations for the next races in terms of car performance and tyre performance after this weekend? CL: I still expect Mercedes to be very very strong in the next few races. It seems that Red Bull also have a very good package, especially in the race, to keep the tyres and push on them, so yeah, we need to work. I still believe that we also did a step, especially in qualifying. I don’t think we are yet at the level of Mercedes but yeah, hopefully we are getting closer.
Q: (Flavio Vanetti – La Corriera della Sera) Charles, looking back at the choice of the soft tyres to start, was it the right one in your opinion or not? CL: I think it was because I knew that starting on medium wouldn’t have changed anything. We didn’t stop because my softs were dead but we stopped because Valtteri stopped and we had to protect (ourselves) from him. So yeah, I would have stopped also on the medium I think, just to keep that track position.
Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) Max and Charles, was turn three the only place where you thought you could attack Charles and Charles, was that the only place where you were concerned and keeping an eye on him? MV: Depends how it ends up. If he closes the door fully into three then you try to get him out of three into four, that’s what I did with Seb, for example so it just depends how the car ahead of you is defending. CL: Yeah, and for me I think there are two places where you overtake on this track which is turn three and turn four or where you overtake mostly so I was aware that he was coming very very quickly so checking but these two places, I knew that if he had the opportunity or if he was getting closer, I believe that it was here that he would have tried.
Q: (Jukic Velimir Veljko – Autofocus) Mr Charles, you have been known up to now as a gentle, nice, polite driver. After this overtaking would you adapt your style more Max’s way, more tough, more aggressive? CL: Which overtake? I got overtaken but yeah, I’m always like this. I think outside the car I’m a bit of a different person than what I am in the car but yeah, that’s it.
Ferrari will not appeal the outcome of the Formula 1 stewards’ investigation into Max Verstappen’s Austrian Grand Prix-winning move, despite believing the “wrong decision” was made.
Red Bull driver Verstappen made contact with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc while overtaking him for the lead at Turn 3 on the 69th lap of the 71-lap event, and went on to take the chequered flag in first place.
Leclerc felt his rival had broken the rules in forcing him off the track, and Verstappen’s win remained provisional for several hours as stewards investigated the incident.
They ultimately reached a “no further action” verdict, ruling that neither driver was predominantly to blame for the clash.
Speaking as the verdict was being announced, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto said the Italian outfit did not agree with the ruling, but also stated that it was looking to move on from the situation “to support the sport”.
“Ferrari’s opinion and position [is] we still believe this is a wrong decision, that’s our own opinion,” Binotto explained.
“We believe that Charles left the entire space, he had no fault, a collision has happened and he has been pushed and forced off the track.
“We believe these are clear rules, which we may appreciate or not, and these are exactly the same rules which have been applied in past races.
“Having said that, we respect fully the decision of the stewards, they are the judges and we need to respect that.
“More than that I think that as a Ferrari fan – and I’m an ultimate Ferrari fan – I think it’s time for F1 to turn the page and to look ahead.
“As we often said, we should leave the drivers free to battle, so we may not be happy of the decision, we are not supporting the decision.
“But somehow we understand the fact that we need to move forward, and overall I think that’s good for the sport and good for F1.”
Ferrari was involved in a saga over Sebastian Vettel’s Canadian Grand Prix penalty earlier this season, when the German lost victory to a controversial five-second penalty for rejoining the track unsafely.
The team initially notified the FIA of its intent to appeal the penalty, but then instead elected to go down the “right of review” route instead – only for the FIA stewards to dismiss its case two weeks later.
Asked this time whether Ferrari had any legal instruments to fight this latest stewards’ decision, Binotto said: “There is. We can appeal. We may somehow have intention of appeal tonight, and [lodge an] appeal later on.
“But it’s our decision not to do it, as I said, because we believe it’s good for the sport.”
Scuderia Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto believes the stewards’ decision not to take further action in the incident opposing Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is wrong, but the Italian outfit won’t contest the ruling.
Ferrari was hoping the stewards would have followed the Scuderia’s view that Verstappen had caused a collision and pushed Leclerc off the track when the two drivers came together at Turn 3 on lap 69 of Sunday’s Austrian GP.
Ultimately, the stewards, among whom was nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, labeled the run-in a racing incident.
“We still believe that this is a wrong decision. That’s our own opinion,” said Binotto when the decision was announced late on Sunday.
““We believe that Charles [left] entire space, he had no fault. A collision has happened and he has been forced off the track.
“So we believe these are clear rules, which we may appreciate or not, and these are exactly the same rules which have been applied in past races.”
Sunday’s ruling in Austria against the Scuderia follows the controversial call against Sebastian Vettel in Montreal, but which took place in very different circumstances.
While Ferrari appealed the Canadian ruling, Binotto insisted the House of Maranello would not protest the outcome of the Austrian decision.
“We respect fully the decision of the stewards,” said the Swiss. “They are the judge and we need to respect that.
“More than that I think that as a Ferrari fan, and I’m an ultimate Ferrari fan, I think it’s time for F1 to turn a page and look ahead and I think these are accidents that may happen in a race.
“As we often said we should leave the drivers free to battle so we may not be happy with the decision, we are not supporting the decision but we understand the fact that we need to move forward and overall I think that’s good for the sport and good to F1.
“So bravo to Verstappen, victory of him and I think he did a fantastic race today, as I think Charles [did] as well. Charles drove very well, and there will be new opportunities.”
Patricio O’Ward will take over Dan Ticktum’s drive in Japan’s Super Formula after the Briton was dropped from the Red Bull young driver program.
Ticktum struggled for results in Japan in search of enough points to secure an FIA Super License and currently sits 15th in the drivers’ championship with a solitary point to his name after three rounds. With Red Bull releasing him from its young driver program, Ticktum also lost his seat with Team Mugen and O’Ward will take over for the rest of the season.
Japanese Super Formula. Image by Yasushi Ishihara/LAT
“Well, now I’m going to have to learn some Japanese,” O’Ward told RACER after the end of his first Formula 2 weekend at the Austrian Grand Prix. “And hopefully maybe a couple more F2 events would be nice, to get to know some more Formula 1 tracks and get to know the tire a little bit more and just continue working from there.”
While Red Bull had made it clear it would not provide O’Ward funding to continue to race in IndyCar after he hit difficulties with his backing, the drive in Japan does not require a budget.
“Yeah this one is fully-backed by Red Bull. They just don’t have any interest in America, that’s why IndyCar was very hard, and I guess this Super Formula ride came about. It’s going to be another big challenge but I don’t really think it can get much harder than what I did this weekend. And you get more practice sessions, a proper car, proper tire, so more towards what I’m used to.”
O’Ward in MP Motorsport’s F2 car in Austria. Image by Jerry Andre/LAT
O’Ward — who had been working on trying to make further IndyCar appearances this season — struggled in the F2 feature race at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday but was much more competitive in Sunday’s sprint race, challenging for points before a late safety car.
“It was a huge learning curve. It was like learning how to drive again because everything is so massively different. But I think for a first weekend, to be challenged with so much that this series challenges you with and racing against guys that have been around for four years in the category, I think it was not too bad.
“If we kept getting worse, be worried, but we made massive improvements from race to race and from practice to qualifying; so I think now what’s going to make me better and what’s going to be that little bit extra that I need to be fighting at the front is just going to be seat time.”
Ferrari ruled out appealing Max Verstappen’s Austrian Grand Prix victory on Sunday, after it was upheld by a post-race enquiry, even if they again felt Formula One stewards had made the wrong decision.
The result of the race was confirmed some three hours after the finish as stewards reviewed the Red Bull driver’s wheel-banging move on Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc two laps from the finish.
“We still believe that this is a wrong decision, that’s our own opinion,” team principal Mattia Binotto told reporters after the outcome was announced.
“We believe that Charles leaves the entire space, he had no fault, a collision has happened and he has been pushed and forced off the track.”
Three weeks ago in Canada, Ferrari missed out on victory when Sebastian Vettel was handed a five-second penalty after going off and returning to the track in an unsafe fashion while leading.
In that case Vettel finished first but was demoted to second, and Ferrari made a failed bid to secure a review of the stewards’ decision.
“They (the stewards) are the judge, we need to respect that,” Binotto said on Sunday. “And more than that, as a Ferrari fan — and I am ultimate Ferrari fan — I think it’s time for F1 to turn page and look ahead.”
Sunday’s exciting race was seen as an antidote to last weekend’s dull French Grand Prix, but the stewards’ enquiry took some of the immediate gloss off the track action with the result still unsure late into the evening.
Verstappen battled fellow 21-year-old Leclerc for the lead, after the Monegasque had started on pole position and appeared to be heading for a first win.
The Dutchman had dropped down the field after anti-stall kicked in at the start but scythed back from eighth at the end of the opening lap.
The pair, both tipped as future champions, had a brief wheel-to-wheel duel before Verstappen launched a move up the inside of the Ferrari into the tight uphill turn three.
Verstappen managed to seize the lead but not before banging wheels with the Ferrari, which ran off the track and took to the run-off.
Stewards decided it was a racing incident and took no further action.
The race was the third time this season Ferrari missed out on victory after leading from pole. An engine issue cost Leclerc victory in Bahrain in March.
Sunday was a chance for Ferrari to end Mercedes’ 10-race winning streak but instead that honor fell to Red Bull, with engine partners Honda celebrating their first win of the V6 turbo-hybrid era.
Binotto said his team’s improvement was down mainly to the track suiting their car better rather than a more sustained resurgence.
“Will we be able to fight and battle on all the tracks? I don’t think (so) yet,” he stated. “But again…we may bring some more development and I think we can only see race by race.”
The long wait to learn whether Max Verstappen had kept his Austrian Grand Prix victory was a result of various influencing factors, says FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi.
Verstappen beat Charles Leclerc to win the race at the Red Bull Ring but his race-winning move was placed under investigation as the two drivers made contact and Leclerc briefly went off-track.
The decision to take no further action was communicated at 7.47pm local time, more than three hours after the race ended.
Asked by Autosport to explain why the decision took so long, Masi said that it started with the incident occurring with three laps to go, giving little time to act before the end of the race.
“The primary part was we didn’t get going [with the stewards’ hearing] until 6pm, [because of] the various media commitments, the [television] pen and the post-race press conference,” said Masi.
“The hearing itself, give or take, was about an hour with all parties involved.
“The stewards deliberated, looked at other cases, precedents, and spoke between themselves.
“By the time you write the decision and then make sure there are no typos or anything in it and so forth, and then summon the teams back, delivering the decision to them, it quickly [adds up].
“Time flies a lot more when you’re sitting outside like all of us than it does when you’re sitting in the room.
“So it was just one of those things, they were considering absolutely everything.”
The decision followed two controversial calls at the previous two races in France and Canada.
In France, Daniel Ricciardo received two time penalties that dropped him out of the points almost three hours after the race ended.
The decision to punish Sebastian Vettel in Canada was made during the race and therefore even though Vettel crossed the line first, Lewis Hamilton inherited the win immediately and the result was clear.
Asked if something could be changed to prevent the winner changing beyond the race’s end, Masi admitted it was “tough” and pointed out that a problem uncovered in post-race scrutineering that results in disqualification can also change the identity of the winner.
“You want the right decision made, considering all the circumstances and all the factors that are around, and using as much as information as you have available,” he added.
Masi also suggested it was not correct to draw parallels to decision-making speeds in other sports.
“It’s just one of those nuances in this sport,” he said.
“We can’t blow a whistle and freeze everything, make a decision, and play on.
“We try wherever possible to have the podium be the podium, but when it’s the last two or three laps of the race, it does make it quite difficult.
“If it was something that happened on lap three I would have thought that if the stewards felt they had everything, they would have made a decision and it would have been ‘play on’.”
Sergio Sette Camara claimed a controlled first win of the 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship, pouncing from third on the grid and maintaining the position, despite a late safety car bunching up the drivers and creating a tense final few laps. The Brazilian finished ahead of UNI-Virtuosi’s Luca Ghiotto and championship leader Nyck De Vries.
Jordan King started on reverse grid pole and made a clean getaway off the line, as Louis Deletraz focused on retaining second place. All eyes were on De Vries as he claimed three scalps when the lights went out and honed in on Deletraz. The Dutchman didn’t wait around: he was past the Carlin driver ahead of Lap 2 and sat just 0.4s behind King.
De Vries promptly leapt ahead of the poleman when DRS was enabled and left King to squabble with Deletraz over second. The Swiss driver came out on top and King began to drop down the order.
De Vries’ delight turned to disarray shortly after when the pit limiter was suddenly activated on his ART Grand Prix machine and he plummeted back to his starting position of sixth. By the time De Vries got back up to speed, Sette Camara had replaced him at the front of the field, following a DRS enthused moved on Deletraz.
Mick Schumacher was making waves further down the grid. The German had started in lowly 18th after a frustrating Feature race, but quickly clawed his way through the order and claimed a provisional points’ position with an overtake on Anthoine Hubert.
Sette Camara was the holding down the fort out in front and maintaining a healthy gap between himself and Deletraz who had Ghiotto on his tail, having seen the Italian overtake Guanyu Zhou for the final podium spot. The Swiss driver managed to garner further pace from his Carlin and return to within DRS range of the DAMS’ driver ahead of him, and in doing so, fend off Ghiotto.
His improvement was short lived and what appeared to be a mechanical failure sent him curtailing nastily into the barriers, after he span on the corner. The Swiss thankfully emerged from the battered machine unharmed and a safety car was brought out to clear up the mess.
The safety car’s intervention in the race resulted in a bunched-up front five with only two laps remaining. Sette Camara held on ahead of Ghiotto when racing restarted, but Zhou was thrown off the podium by De Vries who had recovered from his earlier issues.
Sitting behind the Chinese driver was Schumacher, who’d enjoyed a remarkable race and somehow made his way up to fifth on the grid. The German was not done there and swiftly surged past the Chinese racer for fourth, as Zhou was struggling with his tires and suffered an array of further overtakes.
Sette Camara ran home in first at the checkered flag ahead of Ghiotto and De Vries. Schumacher claimed fourth, followed by Nobuharu Matsushita, Nicholas Latifi, King and Zhou.
A second podium place this weekend secures De Vries’ position at the top of the drivers’ standings with 152 points, ahead of Latifi on 115. Sette Câmara is third with 107, followed by Ghiotto on 97 and Aitken on 86. DAMS’ stronghold of the teams’ standings remains with 222 points, with UNI-Virtuosi second on 182, ART Grand Prix on 158, Campos Racing on 116 and Carlin on 103.
De Vries will attempt to further stretch his lead at the top of the championship in Round 7 at Silverstone in two weeks’ time.
Max Verstappen overtook Charles Leclerc with three laps remaining to take a stunning victory in the Austrian Grand Prix, but the race-winning move is under investigation.
A terrible start saw Verstappen drop from second to seventh and he struggled to make up time early on in the race but then went longer on the medium compound tires than any of his rivals. With Lewis Hamilton running third but needing to change his front wing, Verstappen rejoined in fourth after his first stop and duly set off after Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas and leader Leclerc.
Having dispatched Vettel on the run to Turn 4 after a three-lap battle and then outbraked Bottas into Turn 3, Verstappen’s excellent pace saw him reel in Leclerc as a thrilling fight for the win went right to the closing stages.
Leclerc repelled the Red Bull for a few laps, impressively on Lap 68 of 71 when Verstappen got down the inside at Turn 3 but Leclerc managed to accelerate around the outside to regain the lead.
One lap later, however, Verstappen made a more robust move, outbraking Leclerc and leaving the Ferrari no space to turn in. Leclerc still tried to hang on around the outside and the pair banged wheels, with Leclerc going into the run-off area and rejoining behind Verstappen.
The incident was noted and is now under investigation from the stewards, with Leclerc finishing 2.7 seconds behind Verstappen should there be a penalty.
“It’s hard racing — otherwise we have to stay home,” Verstappen said. “If those things are not allowed in racing, what is the point of being in F1?”
Verstappen celebrates on the podium with an unhappy Leclerc. Image by Zak Mauger/LAT
Leclerc felt the move was too strong, with both drivers set to give their version of events to the stewards.
“Overall the race was good, in the end had a bit more degradation than I thought and Max came back,” Leclerc said. “On the incident I’ll let the stewards decide but for me, it was pretty clear in the car. I don’t know how it looked like from the outside.
“I don’t know (it it was unfair). I was on the outside, like the lap before — the lap before was completely fine; he left the space for a car width on the exit of the corner but he didn’t on the other lap so we touched and I had to go wide, and then obviously I didn’t have any chance to pass back so it’s a shame.”
If no action is taken, then Honda will get to celebrate the first victory since its return to Formula 1 in 2015 as Verstappen takes back-to-back wins at the Red Bull Ring, while either way it is the first non-Mercedes win of the season.
Bottas came home a distant third while Vettel overtook Hamilton on the penultimate lap to take fourth as Mercedes again struggled in Austria. Hamilton was running second to Leclerc early on but a front wing flap failure once he was in the lead during the pit stop phase led to him losing time and needing a long stop.
Vettel pit for soft tires once Verstappen passed him and charged back at the Mercedes pair, getting Hamilton around the outside before Turn 4 on the penultimate lap and crossing the line 0.6s behind Bottas as the Ferrari went wide at the final corner trying to apply pressure.
There was another hugely impressive performance from McLaren, as Lando Norris finished sixth and Carlos Sainz eighth despite the latter starting from the back of the grid. Norris made an excellent start to jump the slow Verstappen and then go around the outside of Hamilton at Turn 1, running third for two corners before Hamilton slipstreamed back past. That move cost Norris momentum and he dropped behind Kimi Raikkonen, but on Lap 14 dived down the inside of the Finn at Turn 3 to regain the position.
Norris was the only driver to switch from softs to mediums and made the tires last excellently, repelling the attentions of Pierre Gasly who had been running directly behind Verstappen in the opening laps. There was a chance Sainz would get Gasly after the Spaniard went long on his first stint to gain clear air and rose from 19th on the grid to eighth, but he lost time in traffic and was left to fight off the Alfa Romeos in the closing stages.
Raikkonen came home ninth after failing to put enough pressure on Sainz, with Antonio Giovinazzi picking up the first point of his career with a strong drive to shadow his teammate across the line in 10th.
All 20 runners finished with the Williams of George Russell beating Kevin Magnussen to 18th on another miserable day for Haas, after the Dane was too far forward in his pit box on the grid and picked up a drive-through penalty.
Max Verstappen’s race-winning move in the Austrian Grand Prix is under investigation after contact with Charles Leclerc.
Leclerc had led most of the race, with Verstappen fighting through the field after a poor start. Once Verstappen passed Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas he closed in on Leclerc and the pair started battling with five laps remaining.
Having already been close once at Turn 3, Verstappen then got down the inside of Leclerc on Lap 68 and tried to park the car on the apex. Leclerc accelerated around the outside and Verstappen left room as the Ferrari came back at him, with Leclerc taking the lead on the run to Turn 4.
On the next lap, Verstappen braked deeper into Turn 3 after again being able to get down the inside, and Leclerc had no space as he turned in, with the pair touching wheels and the Ferrari running wide.
The stewards are investigating the incident, with 2.7s separating the pair at the end of the race. Both drivers will visit the stewards at 6 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET) to give their version of events, after they carry out media duties.
While studying Sports Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, Chris managed to talk his way into working at the British Grand Prix in 2008 and was retained for three years before joining ESPN F1 as Assistant Editor. After three years at ESPN, a spell as F1 Editor at Crash Media Group was followed by the major task of launching F1i.com’s English-language website and running it as Editor. Present at every race since the start of 2014, he has continued building his freelance portfolio, working with international titles. As well as writing for RACER, he contributes to BBC 5Live and Sky Sports in the UK as well as working with titles in Japan and the Middle East.
“I think it’s mega driving this car in Hockenheim,” said Mick Schumacher who also drove his father’s 1994 Benetton at Spa in 2017.
“The last time I was on this track was when I celebrated my Formula 3 championship title, and now I’ll be able to drive one of the strongest cars in Formula 1 history there – a big grin creeps into my face.
“All motorsport crazy people can look forward to a very special and wonderfully loud moment.”
Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc – the future stars of Formula 1 – slugged it out in a thrilling Austrian Grand Prix with the Red Bull driver taking a second victory in two years at the venue owned by his team.
It was a nail-biting duel as the pair dodged a weaved, rubbed wheels as Leclerc did all he could to keep Verstappen at bay, but in the end the Dutchman sent the orange army into euphoria in the heat of Spielberg as he muscled his way past the Ferrari – at time of writing stewards were looking at the incident.
It was a great drive from Verstappen, after messing up the start and was swallowed by the pack he dropped down to seventh and dropped 14 seconds behind the leader at one stage. But the Dutchman was relentless and kept his head down to deliver the kind of performance that fills grandstands, arguably his best drive to date and sets him up there with the very best drivers of this sport.
Afterwards, Verstappen said, “After that start I thought the race was over, but we just kept pushing hard. I had quite a bad flat spot on my first tyre, and then after the pit stop we were flying. You could see we had good pace on the straight to make the pass. I’m delighted for the team and for Honda.”
As for the ‘fisticuffs’ with the #16 Ferrari, “It’s hard racing, otherwise we have to stay at home. If those things are not allowed in racing, then what’s the point of being in F1.”
It was an incredible end – but a terrible start to Max Verstappen’s race in Austria
Leclerc was not happy with the move that cost him the race which looked like his to win as he seemed in control from the moment he took the lead from pole until Verstappen decided to change the script.
His victory is packed with milestones including the big fact that Honda are back on the top step of the podium for the first time since 2006 and finally a non-Merc winner this year.
Leclerc summed up, “Overall the race was good, at the end, I had a bit more degradation than I thought so Max came back. I’ll let the stewards decide, but for me in the car, it was pretty clear. I don’t know how it looked on the outside, but we will see.”
“I was on the outside just like the lap before, it was fine because he left the space for the exit on the corner, but he didn’t on the next lap, so we touched and I had to go wide and then obviously I didn’t have another chance to pass back, so it’s a shame,” added the Ferrari driver.
Mercedes met their match this weekend at Red Bull Ring, the short circuit kinder to their rivals. Nevertheless, Valtteri Bottas did well to finish third while teammate Lewis Hamilton had one of his less flash afternoons as he damaged his front-wing on his way to fifth on a day he never found the sweet spot.
Bottas, who finished 19 seconds behind the leading duo, reflected, “It was a little bit more difficult than we expected, especially with the over-heating of the engines, so we couldn’t really race properly having to manage the temperatures. That’s why defending and attacking was difficult but we got some good points. It’s not a bad weekend.”
Sebastian Vettel did well to recover from ninth on the grid to finish fourth, overtaking Hamilton with the flag in sight. The reigning F1 World Champion was fifth and thus ended a ten race streak of top three finishes.
Arguably the Drive of the Day went to the youngest driver on the day with Lando Norris slugging it out at the sharp end with the best of the best and rewarded with Best of the Rest and a fine sixth place for him
His teammate Carlos Sainz also delivered a strong performance to finish eighth from 19th on the grid on a great weekend for a revitalised McLaren team who were the class of the Renault powered brigade.
Alfa Romeo veteran Kimi Raikkonen led home his rookie teammate Antonio Giovinazzi, the Italian claining his first F1 point.
Max Verstappen pulled off a storming comeback drive to take victory in the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix despite suffering a nightmare start to the race.
The Red Bull dropped five places at the start but fought his way back, the Honda power allowing him to force his way past pole sitter Charles Leclerc on lap 69 to the delight of the grandstands packed with Dutch fans. However the controversial overtaking move is under investigation by the race stewards, and the result could still be overturned.
Leclerc held on to second place, with Valtteri Bottas flying the Mercedes colours on the podium in third place. However Lewis Hamilton finished in fifth place after falling foul of a late pass by Sebastian Vettel, who had stopped for new tyres late in the race.
With western Europe still sizzling in heatwave conditions, the Red Bull Ring was undeniably baking as the cars lined up on the grid for the start of the race, Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon telling his team “My feet are on fire!” even before the formation lap.
Sunday’s grid was headed by the youngest-ever front row in the history of Formula 1, with two 21-year-olds leading the way: Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on a well-deserved pole, with Max Verstappen alongside. The Red Bull had been promoted one place by Lewis Hamilton’s penalty for blocking during qualifying, meaning Hamilton was now part of an all-Mercedes second row and starting in fourth place next to his team mate Valtteri Bottas.
Starting on the soft compound, Leclerc had the speed advantage when the lights went out and shot off in the lead down into turn 1. But there were problems for Verstappen on the medium tyres, the RB15’s anti-stall kicking in and immediately dropping him down five places. That allowed Bottas to pick up second place, while Hamilton initially fell foul of McLaren’s Lando Norris before fighting back through the opening corners to retrieve thirds place before the end of the first lap.
Norris also fell foul of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, leaving him in the cross hairs of Sebastian Vettel who was already up three spots from his compromised grid spot after technical issues in qualifying. Vettel completed the pass with a brave move through turn 3 on lap 4, leaving Norris running ahead of the two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Pierre Gasly. Verstappen also made quick work of the McLaren and took off in pursuit of Vettel, the pair soon catching and passing Raikkonen to put them into the top five.
Now the big question was how long the flying Ferraris could extend their opening stint on soft tyres before having to pit, and whether the medium compound would offer Mercedes any significant advantage given that overheating was already becoming an issue for the two Silver Arrows, both of whom were struggling to stay on track. Bottas finally blinked first on lap 22, and Vettel immediately responded – only for a radio comms glitch catching the Ferrari pit crew on the hop, and problems fitting the front-left costing him vital seconds.
There were no such problems for Leclerc who also pitted for hard tyres next time by, while Hamilton and Verstappen both decided to try toughing it out for a while longer now that they were up in first and second respectively. Hamilton finally came in on lap 31, but his hopes of overcutting Bottas for position evaporated when the team elected to fit a new front wing to the W10 due to Hamilton reporting a loss of downforce, having repeatedly running wide over the thick sausage kerbs. When he emerged from pit exit, Hamilton was eight seconds behind Vettel.
Verstappen pitted two laps later to return the lead to Leclerc, who now held a four second lead over Bottas with Vettel a further nine seconds behind. Verstappen himself rejoined in fourth ahead of Hamilton, with Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo yet to stop in sixth and seventh followed by Norris, Gasly and Raikkonen.
With the key pit stops complete, any further gains were going to have to come on track – and Verstappen was up for the challenge, eagerly using his fresher tyres to wipe out Vettel’s lead over the next dozen laps. The storm finally broke on lap 50 when Verstappen used DRS out of turn 3 to blast past the Ferrari, to a road of approval from his legion of orange-clad fans in the grandstands. Job done, he was immediately off in pursuit of Bottas while Vettel reacted by pitting for a fresh set of tyres, ceding track position to Hamilton in favour of fresher, faster rubber that soon saw him setting fastest race laps.
Despite reporting a worrying loss of engine power, Verstappen continued his charge and made a successful move on Bottas in turn 3 for second place on lap 56, leaving him five seconds to find to take the fight to the race leader. He did so with time to spare, catching the Ferrari with five laps to go and then throwing everything he had into attack. The decisive move came on lap 69 when Verstappen forced Leclerc to run wide in turn 3, a robust move that the stewards indicated would be under view.
At almost the same time, Vettel was able to use his fresher tyres to pass Hamilton for fourth place. Norris crossed the line in sixth place, followed by Gasly, Sainz, Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi while Racing Point’s Sergio Perez just missed out on the points, followed by Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg. Lance Stroll finished 14th ahead of Albon and Romain Grosjean.
The second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat was able to fend off George Russell for 17th place. Despite starting from the pit lane due to an overnight repair to his FW42, Russell still finished ahead of Kevin Magnussen after the Dane was handed a drive thru penalty for being out of position on the grid before the start.
With all 20 cars making it to the finish, the last man on track was Robert Kubica in the second Williams.
As part of the 2019 German Grand Prix weekend, spectators at the Hockenheim Ring will be treated to the sight of Mick Schumacher, currently racing in Formula 2 for Prema Racing and the Ferrari Driver Academy, at the wheel of a Ferrari F2004, as driven by his father Michael, when he took his seventh Formula 1 World Championship title in 2004.
On Saturday 27th July, just prior to Formula 1 qualifying and on Sunday 28th before the Drivers’ Parade, Mick will drive the car on a track where the Schumacher family enjoyed so much success. Michael won four times at Hockenheim in Formula 1; in 1995 with Benetton and then in 2002, 2004 and 2006 with Scuderia Ferrari. It was at this track that Mick won the FIA Formula 3 European Championship last year, his first ever series title.
Mick Schumacher, Ferrari Driver Academy driver and F2 Prema driver, said: “I think it’s mega driving this car in Hockenheim. The last time I was on this track was when I celebrated my Formula 3 championship title.
“ow I’ll be able to drive one of the strongest cars in Formula 1 history there – a big grin creeps into my face. All motorsport crazy people can look forward to a very special and wonderfully loud moment.”
Ross Brawn, Managing Director, Motorsport, at Formula 1 said: “It will be an emotional moment seeing Mick at the wheel of a car linked to so many great memories.
“The F2004 was a fantastic car, which took 15 wins and both championship titles in a season that can be seen as the culmination of a golden period, which was the result of all the hard work from an amazing group of people and Michael Schumacher, a supremely talented driver.
“I’m sure that all the fans at Hockenheim will be pleased to see it roaring around the track again, especially with Mick in the cockpit. One of the requests we get most often from fans is to see the cars that wrote F1 history back on track, so this demonstration run at Hockenheim will be truly unmissable.”
As the shortest track on the F1 calendar, the Red Bull Ring requires just over 63 seconds to complete a full lap at record pace.
As a track that weaves up and down across green pastures, with a few blind spots around its ten corners, the circuit is more of a challenge for drivers than it is for engines, but good traction and plenty of grunt are required to do the job.
“We made quite a few changes and then we found out that we had a few set-up issues on the car after third practice,” said Ricciardo.
“So we made them right for qualifying but that didn’t seem to give it that much more.
“We’ve been struggling this weekend and we never really looked like a Q3 car.
“I feel like maybe there’s something more fundamental with the car that we haven’t quite got on top of yet because we’ve changed a lot and kind of always ended up with the same outcome.”
Renault appeared to have made a break-through recently in terms of the performance of its R.S.19 in low-speed corners. In Austria however, Ricciardo feels the team is back to square one, although for reasons that have yet to be understood.
“We changed a few things to try and address it but it didn’t really help so that’s why I’m a little bit suspicious or curious that we’re missing on the car,” he added.
“Obviously the guys checked the set-up and everything but it didn’t really feel like it was adapting much to changes. I would say the characteristics have been slightly different so far this weekend so it’s a tough one to know right now.”
On the other side of the Renault garage, Hulkenberg – who missed the Q3 cut on Saturday by a small margin – pointed to the Red Bull Ring’s layout as a possible cause for the R.S.19’s under-performance.
“We have really exploited all the envelope of set-up changes and possibilities that we have to have to our availability,” Hulkenberg told Motorsport.com.
“We’ve really tried everything to make the car go faster and to help the balance.
“We’ve not really managed to fix the problem still – we’ve shifted around things a little bit, but for qualy we’ve put our best guess and best set-up together and I think that was seen as well, that we recovered a little bit of pace.”
With Charles Leclerc on pole and Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel starting out of position, the stage seems set for a fascinating race after an eventful Saturday in Spielberg.
Considering the way the 2019 F1 season has gone so far, it’s probably not the wisest move to get our hopes up over the prospect of any given race, but by golly, the way things have shaken out so far in Austria, it’s awfully hard not to.
Charles Leclerc, with his Ferrari granted one of the season’s rare opportunities to flex its straight-line superiority, is on pole, looking for redemption after the heartbreak in Bahrain. Lewis Hamilton, courtesy of a three-place penalty for blocking Kimi Raikkonen, starts fourth, with Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas in front of him. Sebastian Vettel, unable to run in Q3, starts ninth. Oh, and the Ferraris start on softs, while the Mercedes’ and Verstappen start on mediums.
Add in the fact that this is a track where both cars can pass and significant offs do happen, and it’s entirely possible any of those five drivers could finish the winner. Of course, Leclerc or whomever could also run away with it, but the hope is there, and especially after the events of a week ago, we should be happy to take it.
If you’re wondering why Hamilton starts fourth when he received a three-place grid penalty from P2, well you’re not alone. Will Buxton explains it better than I can – in short, blame McLaren.
Regardless of what happens on Sunday, it really is incredible how Ferrari once again found a way to shoot themselves in the foot with Vettel’s engine issue in qualifying. After all the disappointment this season, they could’ve been looking at a 1-2 in Austria, but as we should know by now, they’re physically incapable of having a clean weekend.
It’s always difficult to know what to make of the driver market rumours, but the way Pierre Gasly is driving, he seems intent on self-fulfilling the prophecy. Being a tenth slower than your teammate in Q2 on faster tyres is inexcusable, and so is finishing Q3 behind a Haas, McLaren, and both Alfa Romeos.
Race Tyre Strategy Preview, Courtesy of Pirelli
Based on the data collected in free practice, the theoretical quickest pit-stop strategies predicted by Pirelli for the Grand Prix are as follows:
THE QUICKEST ONE-STOPPER: 1 stint on medium for 14-20 laps + 1 stint on hard to the flag
2nd QUICKEST ONE-STOPPER: 1 stint on soft for 12-16 laps + 1 stint on hard to the flag
SLOWEST TWO-STOPPER: any combination of soft, medium and hard
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he has not spoken to Max Verstappen about a possible switch to his team amid speculation linking the 21-year-old Red Bull driver to the Formula 1 champions.
The Dutchman, one of the hottest properties in the sport and on the front row for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, has a contract with Red Bull until the end of 2020.
However German publication Auto, Motor und Sport recently quoted Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko expressing concern that Mercedes were lining up a bid for Verstappen if exit clauses were triggered.
“I haven’t spoken to Max,” said Wolff when asked about Marko’s comments who has previously accused Mercedes of trying to poach one of the biggest stars in the sport.
“I’d like to continue like we’ve always done it in the past, first to evaluate our current line up and discuss with the drivers and what their views are before really entering into a proper discussion with anybody else,” added Wolff.
Lewis Hamilton, on course for a sixth world championship this season, is under contract with Mercedes until the end of 2020.
Teammate Valtteri Bottas, winner of two races this year and 36 points behind Hamilton in the standings, has a one-year deal with an option for 2020.
Mercedes also have highly-rated 22-year-old French driver Esteban Ocon, currently without a seat, on their books.
Wolff told reporters at last week’s French Grand Prix that he was optimistic Ocon would be back in a Formula 1 car next year, “Putting all that puzzle into place is something I’d like to do over the next few months, over the summer.”
Verstappen refused to be drawn on any exit clauses in his contract while Hamilton, sitting alongside the Red Bull driver in the post-qualifying press conference, said it was all news to him.
“I think the team’s pretty happy with Valtteri and me,” said Hamilton, turning to Verstappen and added, “I don’t mind driving with you. I’ll drive against whoever.”
It took a few attempts, but the FIA finally confirmed late on Saturday the provisional grid for this afternoon’s Austrian Grand Prix after considering the penalties impacting several drivers.
It was initially believed that Lewis Hamilton, who qualified second but was hit with a three-spot demotion for impeding Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, would start from fifth, just behind McLaren’s Lando Norris.
However, because of Kevin Magnussen’s own grid drop from P5 to P10, the Mercedes driver will line up fourth, with Norris right behind in fifth.
Max Verstappen secured a top three start for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing with an excellent qualifying performance in Austria, while misfortune limited the other Honda-powered cars.
The first part of qualifying saw Daniil hampered by traffic, having to take avoiding action at the penultimate corner on his final run and running wide as a result. That meant Daniil was eliminated in 18th place, with the incident being investigated after the session but not able to affect his starting position.
Alex progressed into Q2 and then set the 13th fastest time, ensuring he will start ahead of Carlos Sainz as both drivers drop to the back of the grid due to exceeding power unit components this weekend.
Both Pierre and Max advanced to Q3 with competitive times, and Max then produced an impressive lap to finish provisionally third, with Lewis Hamilton ahead of him also under investigation.
Pierre’s run in Q3 was compromised by a mistake at Turn 1 that meant he was unable to improve on his final lap and he ended up ninth, but will start from eighth due to a grid penalty for a car ahead.
Toyoharu Tanabe, Technical Director, Honda F1: “Once again it was very hot for qualifying and in these conditions, Max produced another excellent lap, which means he equals his best qualifying performance of the year, having been third in Monaco.
“This is a positive result as we prepare for tomorrow. Kvyat was very unlucky to meet so many slow cars in front of him at Turn 9 in Q1 which eliminated him and for Albon, qualifying well was not a priority as he has to start from the back.
“However, we expect them to race well and move up the order. It could be even hotter for the race, which will be tough on the drivers and cars and we are hoping for a strong showing here at Red Bull’s home track.”
Alfa Romeo boss Frédéric Vasseur is expecting a challenging Austrian Grand Prix in which strategy will likely be crucial to ensure a run in the points for the Swiss outfit.
Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi delivered to Alfa Romeo its best qualifying result so far in 2019, with the pair clocking in 7th and 8th but lining up P6 and P7 on Sunday’s grid thanks to Kevin Magnussen’s demotion.
Both Alfa’s drivers will launch their race on the soft compound tyre, like their top-ten rivals with the exception of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
“Having both cars in Q3 was our target for today and we can be satisfied about reaching it,” said Vasseur on Saturday.
“On such a short track the gaps were minimal and Kimi and Antonio were able to drive good, clean laps to claim our highest qualifying positions of the year so far.
“We will need to come up with a good strategy that allows both drivers to make the best of their starting positions: it’s going to be a challenging race but we are confident we can score a good result.”
Williams report from qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, Round 9 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
George Russell qualified 19th and Robert Kubica 20th for the Austrian Grand Prix
George continued to improve his time throughout the session, posting a 1m05.904 on his final run
Robert also improved throughout and recorded a best time of 1m06.206
After Qualifying, George was handed a three-place grid penalty for impeding Daniil Kvyat during the session
Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: “As usual we spent FP3 completing our final checks ahead of defining the set-up for rest of the weekend. Conditions were again very hot, but the wind was calmer than yesterday afternoon. Both drivers made some small set-up changes overnight and were happy to take these into qualifying.
“The tyres remain a little awkward to get working due to the short outlap and as a result we saw teams employ a range of run plans in Q1. We chose to split our approach with George completing multiple laps on his two sets of tyres and Robert using three sets but setting only a single timed lap on each of the last two. Both drivers were happy that they got their tyres working reasonably well when it counted.
“The short track, the need for people to prepare their tyres carefully whilst also looking to get a tow from a car in front, can lead to some traffic difficulties and we saw several examples of this today.
“Unfortunately, George was caught in a train of cars waiting to start their timed lap when Kvyat was completing one of his laps. Although George remained off the racing line and inside the pit entry line, he was deemed to have impeded Kvyat and will therefore receive a grid penalty for tomorrow’s race.
George Russell: “It felt like a fairly decent lap. We maximised the car, it’s just unfortunate it’s still a bit of a way from where we want to be, but we know our pace at the moment and we just need to make the most of it.
“During my final run I was warming my tyres up and there was a bunch of cars ahead doing the same. Daniil was on a flying lap and he closed quicker than expected due to the queue ahead. I tried to stay to the inside but the next thing I knew, he was driving around the outside of the track. It is a bit frustrating but just one of those things unfortunately. I apologise to Daniil as it was nothing intentional.”
Robert Kubica: Qualifying went quite okay. On my second run, I managed to put in a reasonable lap although it is still not enough compared to the others. At least something positive is that, apart from turn one where I lost a bit of time, the rest of the lap was pretty good for me.
“Tomorrow will be busy with the short lap and blue flags. I hope to enjoy the beginning of the race, and hopefully we will not struggle too much with the tyres.
Rich Energy Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean qualified fifth and 11th, respectively, for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, the ninth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.
Magnussen was assessed a five-position grid penalty for a gearbox change following today’s FP3 session and will start Sunday’s race from 10th.
Grosjean led the way for the Haas F1 Team duo in Q1 with a 10th-fastest lap of 1:04.552 around the 4.318-kilometer (2.683-mile), 10-turn circuit to advance to Q2. Magnussen’s lap of 1:04.778 was 15th-fastest and was the final position to advance to Q2.
In Q2, Magnussen took the 10th and final position to advance to Q3 with a lap of 1:04.466. Grosjean, who had to pit early in the session to replace a damaged front wing, just missed his fourth top-10 qualifying effort of the season with the 11th-fastest lap of 1:04.490.
Magnussen laid down a solid lap of 1:04.072 in Q3 that was fifth overall – his best effort of the season. It was a best-of-the-rest effort that placed him behind a pole-winning Ferrari, a Red Bull and the Mercedes pair.
Magnussen and Grosjean ran exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Red soft tire throughout qualifying.
Taking the pole for the Austrian Grand Prix was Scuderia Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, whose fast Q3 lap of 1:03.003 bested the track record of 1:03.130 set in Q3 last year by Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas. It was his second career pole and second this season. Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes was .259 of a second behind to take the second position on the grid.
Romain Grosjean: “I’m happy with qualifying. I was hoping to go into Q3, but I didn’t get a tow on my lap which cost a little bit. I had a lot of understeer in turn three, I lost a couple of tenths there, but I was fast everywhere else.
“It’s a bit annoying, but these tires are hard to understand, and I haven’t got the feeling yet in qualifying for them as I do in the race. I think we’ve made a good step forward though this weekend. 11th is not a bad place to start. I can choose my tires to start the race. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
Kevin Magnussen: “When it’s working, it’s working. I don’t know where that lap came from. It was there, and I took it. Today the guys have just worked so hard between FP3 and qualifying to get the gearbox changed. It wasn’t only my side of the garage, the other side came to help on my car too, to help get it ready.
“We have a few guys out injured this weekend as well, but everybody just pulled it together. After a few bad races, and a couple of bad qualifying’s, it’s nice to do this. We’re starting in the points, in the top ten, even with the penalty. If you’d asked us before qualifying if we’d have believed that, it would have been no way. I’m very happy.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: “It was a difficult morning for us. In FP3 we had to change the gearbox on Kevin’s (Magnussen) car, so obviously he didn’t do the whole session because of that. Romain (Grosjean) did the session but it wasn’t fantastic, we did some tests. In qualifying it almost all came together. Kevin did a fantastic lap, and Romain was just a few thousandths shy.
“It shows that it’s up and down. There is no real trace to it, in terms of what is up, and what is down – otherwise we’d follow the up trace. We just have to keep learning from all of this and try to make it happen every weekend. Anyway, Kevin did a fantastic job today with his last lap – it was magic.”
No need to check your schedules – we have you covered!
Red Bull report from qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, Round 9 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
Practice 3 – P5 1:04.446
“I’m really happy about qualifying. All weekend the car has felt competitive and also from the engine side we have worked really well with Honda to extract a little more power. To be third is great and I was smiling in the car when I finished the lap. We definitely got the most out of it today and through the corners we were really quick. To be closer to the pole time is also a great step forwards. As soon as I stopped the car and turned the engine off I could hear the crowd.
“There are so many Dutch and Austrian Red Bull fans here which gives me a lot of positive energy and motivation. I haven’t done a long run but normally we are a little stronger in the race than qualifying. There is a long way to go before we fight for victory but this is a really good start for the Team and we will give it everything we have tomorrow.”
Max will start the race from second place due to Lewis Hamilton incurring a grid penalty
Practice 3 – P7 1:05.152
“It’s a shame and I’m disappointed with myself not to put my lap together when it really mattered. I didn’t do the job properly in Q3 and this is something I need to focus on. We had good pace and overall I think we made a step. We had a really good free practice and we managed to build everything up from there.
“There are a lot of positives to take from Q1 and Q2 where we were strong. Everything was looking good for Q3, my first lap wasn’t ideal but on my second and final run, I made a mistake into Turn One and by Turn Three I had lost three or four tenths, otherwise I think we could have been P5.
“Now I need to move on and focus on tomorrow. We can recover, nothing is done, and we’ll try everything to come back in the race. I think we have a strong car and now we need to look at what we can do with the strategy.”
Pierre will start the race from eighth place due to Kevin Magnussen incurring a grid penalty
Christian Horner, Team Principal: “That was a great lap by Max at the end of Q3. He was quickest in Q1 and had been quick throughout qualifying. We elected to use the medium tyre for the start of qualifying and then took the soft in Q3 resulting in third on the grid, which is a great place to be starting our home race from.”
“Pierre comfortably made it through to Q3 but then made a mistake on what turned out to be the most important lap. He lost around three or four tenths in Turn One and then unfortunately, with it being such a short lap here, he was unable to recover the time. He’ll be starting in P9 so we’re looking to make progress from there.”
Note: Verstappen was promoted to second place on the grid after Lewis Hamilton received a penalty after qualifying
Alfa Romeo report from qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, Round 9 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
Being at high altitude is no easy matter. It is a huge undertaking for the untrained body. It is uncomfortable. At first, it feels unnatural. And yet, such a beautiful and resilient thing the human body is, you can get used to it.
Acclimatisation takes a while and it is not an easy process, but it is possible – and once you’re used to the thin air, new horizons open.
We’re not, obviously, referring to the lofty heights of Spielberg, the Styrian village that hosts this weekend’s race. At 660m over sea level, you don’t feel much difference from the norm – our home of Hinwil, for example, is just a bit lower, at 585m.
We are referring, of course, to the positions we will take on the grid tomorrow, as the Austrian Grand Prix starts. In P6 and P7, we’ll be in the highest places on the starting order we’ve been this season.
A week on from our positive performance in France, with Antonio in Q3 and Kimi in P7 in the race, this is no fluke. It is progression. For every day we spend at these heights, managing the altitude becomes a little easier.
The road to the top is still long. We may be only just starting from Base Camp, but we’re getting more and more used to the thin air, and we’re heading up.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: “Having both cars in Q3 was our target for today and we can be satisfied about reaching it. On such a short track the gaps were minimal and Kimi and Antonio were able to drive good, clean laps to claim our highest qualifying positions of the year so far. We will need to come up with a good strategy that allows both drivers to make the best of their starting positions: it’s going to be a challenging race but we are confident we can score a good result.”
3rd practice: 13th / 1:05.514 (21 laps)
QF: 7th* / 1:04.166 (23 laps)
“We can be pretty happy about today’s result. The speed has been there all weekend and we got what we wanted in qualifying. Everyone is very close here and if you get things right you can be high up: I feel we could have perhaps been ahead of Norris as the gaps were so small but in the end we’ll take this. Tomorrow is when it matters and we will try to do the best job we can. We still have things to improve but we are starting from a good position. We need to be careful and do a good job on the first lap and we’ll see where we end up.”
3rd practice: 9th / 1:05.336 (17 laps)
QF: 8th* / 1:04.179 (22 laps)
“I am really pleased with today’s performance, both mine and of the team as a whole. Our car has made a step forward since France, I feel I am getting more and more confident every time I step in the car and I am happy with the work we are doing together with the team. Having two cars in the top ten gives us a good chance to score points, but we still need to work out the best strategy for the race. Our long run pace is good and I think we can play our part in tomorrow’s battle: we’ll be giving it all we have to bring home a good result.”
Both drivers will gain a position on the grid due to Kevin Magnussen’s penalty.
“F1 have admitted to us for the first time that they want to have a race in London,” Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle told the BBC.
“That’s a material change because it’s different to previous arrangements and Britain is not a very big island. It’s a commercial concern.
“Throughout this process we have sought to manage the significant risk that comes with promoting an F1 race and this does nothing to reduce it.
“In fact, it significantly increases the risk to Silverstone that only a few short years ago was nearly obliterated by its commitment to F1 and trying to maintain a British Grand Prix.
“We metaphorically and literally cannot afford to go back to that position,” Pringle added.
“But we are still very much talking. They’ve always said they want a British Grand Prix at Silverstone and we’ve always said we want to host one.”
Alluding recently to the possibility of bringing F1 to the streets of London, likely in the Stratford area of the city, F1 sporting manager Ross Brawn insisted the event could co-exist alongside a race at Silverstone.
“London would be a different race than the British GP. It is a city race, there is a place for both,” said Brawn.
“But I don’t think it’s feasible to have a race in the middle of London, unfortunately.
“The chaos and impact it would have would be too severe. But on the periphery of London there are a number of areas that could work.
“I don’t see it as it would necessarily replace the British GP; it would be the London GP.”
Renault F1 Team faced disappointment today during qualifying for the myWorld Austrian Grand Prix with Nico Hülkenberg qualifying twelfth and Daniel Ricciardo fourteenth in Spielberg.
Nico and Daniel comfortably progressed into the second phase of qualifying and had looked set to be in the mix of reaching Q3. However, yellow flags in sector two on their faster runs meant both drivers had to abort their laps.
As a result of taking the Spec B ICE – the fifth element change of the year – Nico has incurred a five-place grid penalty and will start tomorrow’s race fifteenth with Daniel in twelfth.
Q*: P12, 1:04.516
FP3: P12, 1:05.514
“It’s fair to say we’ve been struggling all weekend with the car. We’ve tried everything to find the right set-up. We did make a good step today. We didn’t have a clear second lap in Q2 and that certainly hindered our chances. I think we had more left in the car, maybe enough to see us through to Q3. Tomorrow is going to be very hot, it won’t be easy from near the back but we’ll give it a go.”
Will start the race from P15, following a five-place grid penalty for a new ICE.
Q: P14, 1:04.790
FP3: P17, 1:05.878
“Austria has been one of our more challenging weekends, and we struggled all day today. It just wasn’t happening for us and we couldn’t find the pace. It’s a shame as we had a nice run of Q3 appearances in recent races. We’ll gain some positions with grid penalties tomorrow, but before then we need to find out what went wrong today.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director: “Spielberg is a tough track for us, and it’s been a difficult day. We’ve struggled all weekend with the car in the high-speed corners. We did make improvements from yesterday, but we were not quick enough today.
“Looking ahead to tomorrow, our high fuel pace on Friday was better than our low fuel runs. Typically, at the moment, we race better than we qualify. It’s certainly not over and we’ll do all we can to get both cars into the points.”
FIA race stewards handed Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton a three-place grid penalty for impeding in Austrian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday, meaning that pole-winning Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc will be joined by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on the front row of the grid for the race on Sunday.
The sanction means Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, last year’s winner, will now start alongside Ferrari’s pole sitter Charles Leclerc.
Stewards ruled Hamilton had impeded Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen in the first phase of qualifying. The Briton was also handed one penalty point, his first of the 12 months period.
Five times champion Hamilton is leading teammate Valtteri Bottas by 36 points after winning the last four races and six out of eight.
Before receiving the penalty Hamilton acknowledged, “Obviously, there was the incident with Kimi in Q1. I got off the brakes to try and get out of the way, because I didn’t want to meet in the corner. I don’t think we did, but it probably did put him off. I wasn’t aware the car was coming, so it wasn’t the easiest.”
And later added, “Totally deserved the penalty and have no problem accepting it. Was a mistake on my behalf and I take full responsibility for it. It wasn’t intentional. Anyway, tomorrow is another day and the opportunity to Rise.”
Scuderia Ferrari took its 222nd pole position courtesy of Charles Leclerc, who will start at the very front of the field in the 32nd Austrian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
It was the third pole of the season, following on from the ones in Bahrain – Charles again – and Sebastian Vettel’s in Canada. This fantastic day for the Monegasque driver came in stark contrast to that of his team-mate.
Vettel was unable to take part in Q3, even though he had made the cut. A technical problem on the SF90 means he will now start from ninth on the grid.
Q1. As the session started, both Ferrari SF90s were running Medium tyres. Charles and Sebastian did two very good timed laps. Leclerc began with a 1’04”304 getting down to a 1’04”138, while Vettel’s sequence began with 1’04”623 and ended with 1’04”340 to see both of them go comfortably through to Q2.
Q2. In this part of qualifying, both men ran the Softs with just a single run required to get them into the top ten shoot-out. Charles did a 1’03”459 and Sebastian a 1’03”667.
Sebastian. As the 15 minutes of Q2 came to an end, the team noticed a problem with the engine’s pneumatic air supply line and it was not possible to fix it in time for the final part of qualifying. Sebastian, officially tenth therefore, will actually start from ninth, as Kevin Magnussen has a grid penalty.
Q3. Therefore for the final 12 minutes of the afternoon, Charles was the sole Ferrari representative on track. He first did a 1’03”208, before getting down to 1’03”003, which is a new track record. This is Scuderia Ferrari’s eighth pole in Austria, 16 years on from the previous one, set by Michael Schumacher in 2003. The Grand Prix starts at 15h10 CET tomorrow.
Charles Leclerc: “I am happy with qualifying today. It is satisfying to see that the work we did in preparation, especially in terms of the way we set up the car for Q3, has paid off so quickly. A great result for me, unfortunately not for the whole team with Seb having a problem in Q3.
“Hopefully, we will have a good race tomorrow. I am happy about our tyre choice with the soft compound. It will be the key to have a good start and keep competitors behind, especially at the beginning of the lap. Our race pace was quite strong this weekend so I am confident that we can do a good job.”
Sebastian Vettel: “It’s obviously bitterly disappointing on a day like this, when you have the car to fight for pole and you are not even taking part. There was a problem with the car so we lost a part of Q2 and all of Q3.
“We fairly quickly made a decision but we had to take the bodywork off and it was not easy to get to the faulty bit. The guys did everything they could but we could not fix it in time. I knew that if we’d fixed it, most likely I would have had only one run, so I was trying to focus only on that but it didn’t happen.
“As much as this is a pain, it’s good to see that Charles came through and got pole. I am happy for the team, obviously nor happy for my side. I think our car is quick this weekend, quicker than the people in front of us so I am looking forward to a good day and a good race tomorrow.”
Mattia Binotto Team Principal: “We are very pleased with Charles’ performance, which continues to get better all the time. All in all, a Ferrari has been on pole twice in the last three races and this is a glass half full scenario which I’m pleased to see. Today’s result is down to the way Charles has evolved and to the work of everyone in the team.
“Of course, we are disappointed for Sebastian who could have had a great qualifying, but because of a trivial mechanical problem he could not leave the garage. Probably, because of riding over a kerb, a mechanical connection came apart resulting in a loss of pneumatic pressure to the engine. The mechanics tried their best to fix the problem but unfortunately, the connector is very inaccessible. However, we have no concerns about this for the race.
“When Seb realised his session was over, he thanked his crew and spoke a few words of encouragement to Charles, who in turn, after taking pole had a few words of consolation for his team-mate. As for the decision to start the race on Soft tyres, we believe it’s the right one. Yesterday, we found they were very consistent and we are convinced that will also be the case tomorrow and could give us a performance advantage.”
Sebastian Vettel’s qualifying session at the Austrian Grand Prix was brought to a premature end by a power unit issue that saw him unable to set a time in Q3.
Ferrari was quick throughout Saturday and Charles Leclerc duly went on to claim his second pole position of the season with an impressive performance. However, Vettel was prevented from running in the final part of qualifying, with Ferrari confirming a problem with the air pressure line to the engine was to blame.
“Obviously the car was broken, so we couldn’t fire it up and go, so we lost parts of Q2 and then Q3 completely,” Vettel explained after the session. “We fairly quickly made the decision to change, but it’s not so easy to take the bodywork off and get there. The guys did everything they could but we couldn’t do it in time.”
With Leclerc taking pole, Vettel admits the missed opportunity makes the problem even more tough to take as he knows how competitive Ferrari is in Austria.
“Obviously it’s frustrating but there’s nothing you can do, but it’s nobody’s fault. For sure we need to understand what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again but as I said, it’s nobody’s fault. We tried everything to fix it. I knew that if we fixed it, it would only be one run, so I was trying to focus solely on that but it didn’t happen.
“At least, as much as a pain it is, it’s also good to see that the other car came through and got the pole. I’m happy for the team but obviously not happy for my side. But we’ll have a good race tomorrow.”
As long as no power unit components need replacing, Vettel will start from ninth on the grid due to a five-place grid penalty for Kevin Magnussen — who originally qualified in fifth — for changing his gearbox.
Lewis Hamilton had an unusually tough battle to secure a front row starting position for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg.
In fourth place after his penultimate flying lap, a final push managed to put him up into second at the chequered flag, albeit 0.259s slower than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who had dominated the session.
“Congratulations to Charles, he’s been quick all weekend,” said Hamilton afterwards. “We’ve just not really been able to keep up with him.
Hamilton confirmed that a lack of pace on the straights at the Red Bull Ring had left him needing a tow from other cars to boost his lap times.
“Positioning was so difficult out there,” he explained. “I was always out at the front so I was never in the slip stream. Luckily that last lap I was in an okay position, but it was very tight right at the end.
“A bit of a panic, but nonetheless I’m grateful [to be third],” he said. “I think it’s quite cool to see three different teams in the top three positions.”
However Hamilton’s starting position could still be in jeopardy after he was placed under investigation for an incident during the first round of qualifying that appeared to impede Kimi Raikkonen.
The Alfa Romeo was was on a flying lap early in Q1 when it came up behind Hamilton heading into turn 3. The Mercedes driver only appeared to notice the danger at the last minute, at which point he tried to get out of the way by running straight on and off the track.
However it still distracted Raikkonen, who immediately radioed the team pit wall to report: “Hamilton completely blocked me.”
Pundits reviewing the incident acknowledged that Hamilton had been in the way and that he had inadvertently blocked Raikkonen.
“I just don’t think there’s any other way you can read that,” commented Sky Sports F1 expert and former F1 world champion Damon Hill. “If there’s a penalty for impeding and they apply it consistently, then I’m afraid he’s probably going to be in line for one.”
A grid penalty could drop Hamilton back to the third row of the grid for the start of tomorrow’s race.
Afterwards the Briton explained what had happened from his view within the Mercedes cockpit
“Basically I saw one of the team’s cars came by and I was braking for the hairpin turn 3 and I saw the other [Alfa Romeo] coming.
“I got off the brakes and tried to to straight on to get out of the way because I didn’t want to meet him in the corner.
“I don’t think I met him in the corner but I think that put him off I would have thought, so it wasn’t ideal. I wasn’t aware that car was coming, so not the easiest [situation].”
Despite the close encounter, both Hamilton and Raikkonen went on to make it through to the final round of qualifying. While Hamilton took a provisional second place, Raikkonen will start tomorrow’s race from sixth.
But now Hamilton and a representative from the Mercedes team will have to appear before the race stewards to review the incident, together with Raikkonen and one of the Alfa Romeo race engineers.
A penalty for Hamilton could demote him three or more places. However it’s also possible that he will escape with just a reprimand that would leave his grid spot unaffected.
Forced to carry Ferrari’s hopes by his lonesome, Charles Leclerc stepped-up with an unassailable performance to take pole position for the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix.
Driving the only Ferrari on track in Q3, Leclerc finished top of the timesheets with a track record 1:03.003 at the Red Bull Ring, as Sebastian Vettel was denied the opportunity to set a time due to an issue with the air pressure line on his SF90’s engine.
Already the fastest man on track by the end of Q2, the Monegasque maintained his advantage throughout the decider, taking full advantage of one of the few tracks that suits his car to beat Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton by 0.259 seconds, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen third, a further 0.177 seconds back.
His second career pole, Leclerc was clearly thrilled with his performance, saying, “the car felt amazing. In P1 I struggled a little bit and then from P2 it was quite good and a big pleasure to drive this car on the limit.”
Unfortunately for Ferrari, Leclerc’s performance will be somewhat overshadowed by the misfortune befallen by Vettel, his mechanics not able to get him back on track, relegating him to tenth on the grid.
A disappointed Vettel said afterwards: “The guys did everything they could, but we couldn’t do it in time. Obviously it’s frustrating, but there’s nothing you can do inside the car. Nobody’s fault. For sure we need to understand what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
However, the German won’t be the only driver out of position on the grid tomorrow, with Hamilton taking a three-place penalty for blocking Kimi Raikkonen in Q2, moving him to fifth on the grid. Valtteri Bottas, whose 1:03.537 was only good enough for fourth fastest, will now start in the top three.
Sure to add some spice with Vettel and Hamilton having to come through the field, Sunday could also benefit from the top teams’ differing tyre strategies in Q2. Both Ferraris opted to set their fastest times on soft tyres in the session, while both Mercedes’ and the Red Bull of Verstappen stayed on mediums, choosing to sacrifice grip off the line for a longer initial stint length.
Behind in the battle for “best of the rest”, Kevin Magnussen was the surprise of the day, a looming gearbox change penalty not deterring him from getting his Haas into P5, albeit over half a second off the top four.
McLaren’s Lando Norris finished sixth, only 0.027 seconds behind Magnussen in another strong showing for the resurgent team.
Taking seventh and eighth were the Alfa Romeo’s of Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi, delivering the team’s best qualifying result of 2019.
Ahead of Vettel in ninth, Pierre Gasly endured another dismal session with a performance that will only further incite the rumour mill.
Just missing Q3 was the other Haas of Romain Grosjean, losing out to his teammate by 0.024 seconds. Nico Hulkenberg starts alongside him in 12th, beating his teammate for the first time in qualifying since the opening round in Australia.
Alexander Albon was 13th for Toro Rosso, with Daniel Ricciardo alongside him in 14th.
Carlos Sainz was the final man to reach Q2, although not setting a competitive lap time with penalties looming.
The Racing Points of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were 16th and 17th, once again looking very un-competitive.
Daniil Kvyat’s day was over before it really began with George Russell compromising his final lap in Q1, the Russian only managing P18 as a result.
Occupying their regular spots on the grid, the Williams’ of Russell and Robert Kubica were 19th and 20th, although the former will start behind his teammate with the stewards deeming him worthy of a three-place grid drop for the Kvyat incident.
FIA Blow-By-Blow Report
Ferrari led the way in the opening stages of Q1, with both Leclerc and Vettel using medium tyres. Leclerc topped the order in the early exchanges, setting a time of 1:04.138. Verstappen, on soft tyres, then split the red cars with a lap of 1:04.339.
After a quiet opening, Mercedes were forced into final runs for both Hamilton and teammate Bottas and both eventually jumped to P2 and P3 respectively. Verstappen too, opted for a final outing in the segment and the Dutch driver rose to P1 with a time of 1:03.807, 0.011 ahead of Hamilton and two tenths clear of Bottas. Behind them, Leclerc and Vettel stayed with their medium times to progress in P4 and P5 respectively.
At the bottom of the order Racing Point’s Pérez and Stroll were eliminated in P16 and P17 ahead of Toro Rosso’s Kvyat, though the stewards also reported that after the session they would investigate whether the Russian driver had been impeded by 19th-placed Williams driver George Russell who was joined on the Q2 sidelines by team-mate Kubica.
In the second session, Verstappen was first on track, and with medium tyres on board the Dutchman powered to good lap of 1:03.835. The benchmark was swiftly passed by Leclerc and Vettel, with the Monegasque driver in P1, though both set their times on soft tyres.
Hamilton, also on mediums, then crossed the line to edge Verstappen out to P4 by three hundredths of a second. Bottas took fifth place behind the Red Bull, and the Finn was the only other driver to progress to Q3 on mediums.
Gasly made it into Q3 on a time of 1:03.988 set on soft tyres and the Frenchman took sixth place ahead of Räikkönen, the second Alfa of Giovinazzi, McLaren’s Norris and 10th-placed Magnussen of Haas.
Eliminated at this stage were Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Albon, Ricciardo and Sainz.
And there was no moving Leclerc from top spot in the final session. The Ferrari driver set a commanding pace in the first runs to take P1 three tenths of a second clear of Bottas, with Verstappen in P3. And despite improvements from Hamilton and Max, Leclerc found more pace again in the final runs to take his second career pole position with a time of 1:03.003, 0.259 ahead of Hamilton and four tenths ahead of Verstappen.
Bottas was left with fourth place, while Magnussen was an impressive fifth for Haas ahead of Norris and the Alfa Romeo of Räikkönen and Giovinazzi. Magnussen, though, will drop back due to a grid penalty.
Gasly was unable to improve on his first run time of 1:04.199 and was forced to settle for ninth place. Tenth place went to Vettel, who failed to get out in Q3 due to a mechanical issue.
Kevin Magnussen was beaming after his performance in qualifying in Austria and even the prospect of a grid demotion on Sunday couldn’t wipe the smile off the Dane’s face.
The Haas driver steadily made it through the first two segments of the Saturday afternoon session, the US outfit’s VF-19 running consistently, with few complaints from its driver about its tyres, a rare occurrence this season –
In the final top-ten shootout, Magnussen clocked in fifth, just over a second behind pace setter Charles Leclerc.
Asked by Sky F1 where his impressive performance had come from, Magnussen was as puzzled as his audience.
“I have no idea, it just came alive on that last run,” said the Dane.
“So happy because we have that penalty and we’re starting 10th , but after FP3 we lost the gearbox and had to change it.
“All the guys in the garage just flew onto the car, and even the other side of the garage came in and worked incredibly fast to get ready. Even with the penalty it was a real team effort, I’m so happy.”
Given Haas’ inability this year to get a grip on the random behavior of its car – or rather its tyres – Magnussen stressed the importance of making the most of any window of opportunity that presents itself.
“The car’s been feeling good all weekend,” he added.
“It seems at this time with the tyres and all, that it’s so up and down and unpredictable. And when the car comes alive, when the tyres come alive, you just have to take it, be there and get the lap in.
“It’s so frustrating because these guys are not stupid, they’re good engineers.
“Even though we try a lot of different things, one weekend one set-up will work and the tyres will switch on, and we’ll take that and try to apply it in another weekend and it just doesn’t work.
“It doesn’t really make sense when it doesn’t work, it’s like you’re chasing a moving target all the time.”
In addition to his positive performance, Magnussen said the session was another reminder of the incredible thrill and buzz that qualifying brings about for a driver who outperforms.
“It’s the best feeling in the world when you have a result like this,” he said.
“There’s something about qualifying, it’s so intense, it’s only a minute, you get it and you’re looking at the screens on the track trying to see if the others have improved.
“It’s just so exciting. I’m so extremely happy, we didn’t expect this!”
Full transcript from the top three press conference after qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, Round 9 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
Featuring pole winner Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), second-placed Lewis Hamilton(Mercedes) and third placed-Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing)
Track interviews conducted by Paul Di Resta
Q: Tell us about your session… Charles Leclerc: In FP1 I struggled a little bit and then we did some changes and then from FP2 it was quite good. A big pleasure to drive this car on the limit; it just felt great, and very happy to bring the pole position back home. But tomorrow we need to finish the job.
Q: A very different tyres strategy to Mercedes who are going to be your ultimate challenge. You’re starting on the soft; they’re starting on the medium. Do you firmly believe you went the right way? CL: Yeah, on actually what we tested in FP2 we are pretty happy with the choice we made, so we’ll try tomorrow.
Q: And it’s going to be pretty hot tomorrow. What are the conditions going to be like? CL: It’s going to be very difficult, physically, first, because it’s very, very warm, but also for the car, so yeah it will be all about management of everything and hopefully a good result tomorrow.
Q: Well done, it was an epic lap. Lewis, that was a nervy session, it looked like everyone was hunting for a slipstream. We heard the team trying to put you in that position, I think you tried to position yourself well for that last run, but Charles did a very good job. Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, congratulations to Charles, he’s been quick all weekend. We’ve just not really been able to keep up with them this weekend. Positioning was so difficult out there and I was always at the front so I was never getting a slipstream. Luckily on that last lap I was in an OK position, but it was very tight right at the end. I didn’t know if I was going to get to start the lap or not. I saw three cars behind me trying to start their lap. So, a bit of a panic, but nonetheless I’m grateful. Max has been driving really well all weekend as well. I think it’s cool to see three different teams in the top three positions.
Q: Last Saturday you were keen to get Charles to race. You’re up against it tomorrow, you’re going to have to fight these two for this win aren’t you? LH: Yeah, I’ll go and fight the young ’uns, man! It’s cool. I’m representing for the more grown men I guess. Nonetheless I’m excited to get out there and race with these guys, they’re both so talented, so fingers crossed we can put on a good show for them tomorrow.
Q: Max, you got the biggest cheer today. Red Bull’s home race, I don’t think you could have asked for much more. Could be a front-row start, as Hamilton is under investigation for a Q1 infringement with infringement, but how strong was that? Max Verstappen: Yeah, I’m actually really happy at the moment. For us, this is an amazing result on this track, which is not easy for us. The whole weekend… I think also again with the upgrades we brought here the car seems to be working again better.
Q: You won this race last year and you’ve put yourself in a strong position. How much does it mean to you to have this support around the track? MV: It’s great. It puts a big smile on my face and hopefully I can give them a great result tomorrow.
Q: Charles, both of those laps in Q3 were good enough for pole position. Tremendous performance by you and the team, just how satisfying is this for you? CL: Obviously I’m extremely happy. We have been competitive since FP2 but it’s always difficult to do a lap when you need to in Q3, but we did, so I’m very happy. We changed a little bit the car after the first run in Q3. I knew it would be a compromise a little bit for the first sector but actually it wasn’t that bad and then I improved quite a lot in the third sector, which was nice to see. Very happy for the team for the pole position but it’s a shame for Seb, as I think probably the two cars should be closer to first and second, so yeah, a bit of a shame for the team but very happy for my own performance.
Q: And just looking ahead to the race, how confident are you about the race pace of your car? CL: Well, on Friday actually it didn’t look bad compared to Mercedes but also Red Bull, so we are pretty happy I think. We are quite competitive this weekend. I think tomorrow the start will be very important. There is a long straight after it, but there is a long straight after it, but normally we are quite fast on the straights so hopefully we can keep first position in the first three corners, but the pace itself looks promising.
Q: Lewis, it’s been a bit of a tricky weekend for Mercedes so far. Great lap from you at the end to get second place but can you just tell us about the performance of you car and how that session was for you? LH: Well, firstly congratulations to Charles, he did a great job. He’s done a great job all weekend. For us, yeah, we’ve been chipping away at it, but early from the get go we noticed a bit of a deficit to the Ferraris. We thought it would be a bit closer than it was but they eked out some more time in P3 and going into qualifying. We definitely under-estimated how fast they would be, I would say. I think ultimately on the straights, they really kill us on the straights, so they’ve got that extra bit of power that really works well here and I guess they just managed to figure out how to get their car to work around the medium and high-speed corners. I think for us, the car has been feeling good, but as I said, we can’t do much more on the straights and I’m not really quite sure why it is we lose time on the straights but that’s something we’re working towards. The last part was really difficult. I think there were three cars right behind me going into the last corner, everyone was waiting and waiting and waiting and pushing it to the limit. We rarely go out right at the end of qualifying but as you could see it was quite a bit windier today and I think tow was probably important. Nonetheless I’m really happy with the position to get up here and I’m excited to have a race with these two.
Q: You’re under investigation for an incident in Q1 with Kimi Räikkönen, what’s your take on that? LH: One of the team’s cars came by and I was braking for the hairpin at Turn 3 and I saw the other one coming so I got off the brakes and tried to go straight on to try and go out the way because I didn’t want to meet them in the corner. I don’t think I met them in the corner but I think that probably put him off I would have thought, so it wasn’t ideal. I wasn’t aware that that car was coming so not the easiest.
Q: Max, congratulations on third place. How satisfying is it for you to split the Mercedes this afternoon? MV: Well, just in general, I think our whole weekend, the performance has been a lot better. Before we came here I was actually not really looking forward to it, to qualifying, because I knew that it was going to be hard – but actually with the new updates we’ve got to the car, I think yeah, we gained a bit of performance and I was really happy with the car throughout qualifying and I think in the corners as well, we looked very competitive. We do know that we are lacking quite a bit of pace to Ferrari and even to Mercedes of course on the straights but knowing this is not a great track for us, it’s still a great result in qualifying.
Q: And there’s a huge amount of support for you this weekend. What’s it like to have a Mexican wave follow you around the race track. MV: Yeah. It’s a Dutch wave but OK! It’s good. It’s bringing a big smile to my face, of course. I mean, it’s not giving me extra lap-time unfortunately. It’s a good motivation to have and I can’t wait for tomorrow.
Questions from the Floor
Q: (Christian Nimmervoll – motorsport-total.com) Lewis, just how much to you think the drag is around this track in qualifying and do you think there can even be a benefit for you tomorrow at the start, considering you’re behind Charles? LH: The drag? Oh, the slipstream. I’ve not really been behind the other cars. In Montreal you saw just how difficult it is to follow a Ferrari, even in the slipstream they tend to pull away. I think the little bit of an advantage they have is a little bit different in qualifying compared to the race – but yeah, I don’t even know if I’ll be starting where I am now, so we’ll wait and see.
Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) Charles, there seems to be something about you and these tracks with big braking points into slow corners. Is there something about your style that helps you in these? You’ve had an advantage over Seb all weekend it seems. CL: Overall, as I said in Paul Ricard, I’ve changed a little bit the approach from Paul Ricard and I really felt I did a step forward. Then, Austria is also my favourite track, so it might fit a little bit better to my driving style but overall, I think, since Paul Ricard, I did a step forward. And I can feel it in car so, happy with this. Yeah, that’s it.
Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) To Charles and Max. All the attention for Ferrari is often on the straight line speed – but you had a really strong performance in the middle sector and at the end. Have you added a bit more downforce to the set-up this weekend to target the corners? And to Max, you talked about having a little bit updated, stronger car performance here. How much better has it been behind the wheel this weekend? CL: I think our main issue in the last few grand prix was the front. We didn’t have enough front. I think this weekend it was quite a bit better. We tried different set-ups also, set-up philosophy, and it seems to be a bit better. So, it doesn’t mean that we’ll do a big step-up for the other races but for here it worked pretty well. I think the most time gained on the second sector is because of a stronger front compared to the last grand prix.
Max? MV: Yeah. I think the things we bought, they just gave me more grip in general. I didn’t really have big problems before with a lot of oversteer or a lot of understeer, just not a lot of overall grip. I think that seems to be improved again. That’s very positive.
Q: (Maria Reyer – motorsport-total.com) Question to Charles, we saw you using the Soft tyre in Q2, so you’re starting on Soft and the Mercedes on the Medium. Why did you use the Soft tyre there? CL: Well, we did some analysis after FP2, like every team does after the race simulation, and the Soft looked pretty good so we are pretty happy with our strategy. Definitely different than Red Bull and Mercedes but yeah, only tomorrow will tell who as right to so that choice but I’m happy with it.
Q: (Péter Vámosi – Racing Line) Question to Lewis and Max. Silly season 2020 is opened now. Can you imagine that you both can be team-mates next year? LH: People are always making up stuff. It’s the first I’ve heard of it. I think the team’s pretty happy with Valtteri and me. So I do know Max is definitely interested in opportunities. I don’t know, maybe. If there is, then great. I don’t mind driving with you. I’ll drive against whoever. MV: I guess there’s people who know more than me!
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speed Sport) Charles, was the team keeping you informed of what was wrong with Seb’s car and were there any concerns about your car? CL: Yes, I was informed. Not exactly what happened – because I don’t know yet – but I was informed he had some issues with the car. They didn’t feel concern on my side. I don’t think they were – maybe they were behind the computers but they weren’t showing it to me. So no, I don’t think so.
Q: (Carlo Platella – F1ingenerale.com) Charles, this is your second pole position; are you going to approach the race in a different way from Bahrain? CL: No, I think my approach to the race itself didn’t change much from the beginning of the season. I did a change of approach for qualifying but not so much for the race. And for now I’m pretty happy with it so no.
Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) Slipstreaming is obviously becoming a huge issue in qualifying with these cars with extra drag. It’s kind of funny to hear you talking about it all the time over the radio, particularly you Lewis. Today we heard loads from you. What do you think about that? Do you think slipstreaming should be such an important part of setting the fastest lap time in qualifying? LH: For us it’s because we’re slow on the straights and they’re fast so we need to regain it somewhere but they do it IndyCar. It’s not everywhere. Most places we don’t use slipstreaming, but there are places like this, Monza with long straights where it’s beneficial. I think that’s just another element that comes into it. I don’t think it should be a problem, personally. CL: Yeah, same opinion. I think it’s always a compromise. It depends on the track, what you gain on the straight on some tracks you lose even more in the corners but here it’s not the case, we just win more on the straight by taking a slipstream so that’s why there was quite a bit of fight to try and have the best slipstream. Actually the last lap was pretty tricky because there was a train of cars. The only thing is that I feel that some cars – not of the top cars – but in the last lap they were slowing down unnecessarily. They had quite a big gap in front and that creates quite a problem for the cars behind but apart from that I think it’s part of racing. MV: Yeah, not much more to add.
Q: (Luke Smith – Crash.net) Charles, you talked about your change of approach in regards to qualifying from Paul Ricard. Could you talk a little bit more about what exactly you have approached with your approach and do you think that adjustment is the biggest thing you’ve learned so far this year with Ferrari? CL: Well as I’ve explained, just to be a little more step-by-step during the qualifying sessions. I probably over-pushed and then on the set-up side try to anticipate the track evolution which is quite a big factor now in Formula One, so just these two and I certainly found quite a bit of time.
Q: (Peter Hlawicka – F1News.cz) Lewis, how big an advantage is it to start on mediums and how confident are you that you can win tomorrow? LH: If we get to start the race in the positions… if I get to start the race with those guys I think it will be quite a fun race. This is a track that you can follow a little a bit more but still it will be quite difficult at the top between the few of us. I think the Ferraris are particularly very quick on the long runs, not only on the short runs so it will not be so easy to keep up with Charles but I gave it everything I had. If I can stay in the tow, for example and be there – if we’re on a different tyre, maybe we will be able to offset each other. Them starting on that tyre would tend to think they are going for a two (stop race) most likely unless that tyre goes a lot further than we anticipate. I don’t have the numbers but on the medium tyre hopefully we will able to go longer. I think a one and two (stop race) are very close so how you work them, safety cars and all those different things, it will be interesting but at least it makes it interesting hopefully.
Q: (Daniel Majer – GPHirek.hu) Lewis, now that you are leading the championship, tomorrow there is going to be a head-to-head battle between those other two guys. Will you consider that now you are leading the championship and it’s not necessary to beat them, it would be good if you finish on the podium or you will fight as it would be the first or the last race of the season? LH: You’ve not been here too long, hunh? You don’t know me. Those of you who know me well, know me slightly better. I would say no, of course. I try to have a balanced approach between aggression and conservative and of course I will be pushing for the win tomorrow, that’s ultimately always the goal and it should be nothing more and nothing less. As I said, it’s not going be easy to get close to be passing the Ferraris. I think they’ve been very very quick all weekend but of course I will be giving it absolutely everything. I don’t like ever settling for anything but first. Have you seen Talladega Nights? MV: It’s good, I like it. LH: Very good viewing. So that (inaudible). CL: Haven’t seen it. LH: You need to watch it.
Q: (Bart Pooijeweert – Nu.nl) Max, yesterday Helmut Marko confirmed there is an escape clause in your contract. Can you tell the details about it? MV: What do you think, my friend? Of course not! Why would I? I know, but I don’t care.
It soon became clear that the issue was also too serious to fix in time to get Vettel back out in Q3. As a result of the problem, Vettel will now start Sunday’s race from ninth position once a grid penalty for Kevin Magnussen has been factored in.
“Obviously the car was broken so we couldn’t fire it up and go,” Vettel explained to reporters after the end of qualifying. “We lost parts of Q2 and then Q3 completely.”
He confirmed that the issue was related to the engine pneumatic system, which meant stripping away parts of the car to get at the internal air pressure system.
“We fairly quickly made the decision to change, but it’s not so easy to take the bodywork off and get there.
“The guys did everything they could but we couldn’t do it in time,” he added. “Obviously it’s frustrating but there’s nothing you can do .
“It’s nobody’s fault,” he added. “We tried everything to fix it.
“For sure we need to understand what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. But as I said, it’s nobody’s fault.”
The engineers worked deep into the final round in the hopes of getting the Ferrari track-worthy, but ultimately ran out of time with Vettel not able to set a single lap time in the top ten pole shoot-out.
“I knew that if we fixed it, it would only be one run,” he said. “I was trying to focus solely on that, but it didn’t happen.”
Vettel said he took some consolation from the formidable pace of his team mate in the session, and from the way that Leclerc had claimed pole for the race.
“As much as a pain it is, it’s also good to see that the other car came through and got the pole,” he said.
“I’m happy for the team, but obviously not happy for my side. But we’ll have a good race tomorrow,” he insisted.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto was also looking on the bright side of today’s qualifying.
“It’s a mixed feeling,” Binotto admitted to Sky Sports F1. “A shame for Seb. He would’ve done very well.
“But Charles is doing very well,” he continued. “Two poles in the last three races. [However] our performance is very circuit dependent.”
“This is an amazing result at a track that is not easy for us,” Verstappen told the media afterwards. “I’m actually really happy at the moment!
“I was actually not looking forward to qualifying because I knew that it was going to be hard.
“We are lacking quite a bit of pace compared to Ferrari and Mercedes on the straights,” he admitted.
Verstappen said that it was proof that Red Bull was making progress as a team as the season progressed.
“Just in general the whole weekend, our performance has been much better,” he commented. “With the updates we brought to the car we had really good performance.
“They just gave me more grip in general,” he elaborated.
“I didn’t really have a big problem before with a lot of oversteer or understeer, just not a lot of overall grip. I think that seems to be improved again, and that’s very positive.
“Also Honda was able to get some more power from the engine. So I am very happy to be in the top three.
“I was really happy with the car throughout qualifying, and in the corners as well we were very competitive.”
Verstappen set his best Q2 lap on medium tyres, meaning that’s compound that he will start the race itself on.
Mercedes made the same call, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel opted to set their best times on the faster but less durable soft options.
Tyre degradation could prove a key factor on Sunday where the weather is forecast to be even hotter than today.
“We will have to wait and see if [medium] is the right choice,” commented Verstappen, who lost track time on Friday with a heavy accident.
“We have not done a long run and normally I will always trust how it feels. Now it is more like a gamble and hopefully because of the warm weather it will be better for our tyre.”
Red Bull put his team mate Pierre Gasly on the alternate strategy, but that means Gasly will start from eighth on the grid on soft tyres tomorrow.
“It’s a shame and I’m disappointed with myself not to put my lap together when it really mattered,” he said. “I didn’t do the job properly in Q3 and this is something I need to focus on.
“Everything was looking good for Q3, my first lap wasn’t ideal but on my second and final run, I made a mistake into Turn One and by Turn Three I had lost three or four tenths, otherwise I think we could have been P5.
“Now I need to move on and focus on tomorrow. We can recover, nothing is done, and we’ll try everything to come back in the race. I think we have a strong car and now we need to look at what we can do with the strategy.”
Charles Leclerc believes he made a step forward with his car in France that proved central to the second pole position of his career at the Austrian Grand Prix.
Mercedes locked out the front row at Paul Ricard but Leclerc was third after a solid session, picking up a podium in the race. In Austria, Ferrari’s straight-line speed came to the fore and Leclerc delivered the fastest times of FP2 and FP3 before taking pole position, and he says the past two weeks have seen him make clear progress.
“Overall, as I said in Paul Ricard, I’ve changed a little bit the approach from Paul Ricard and I really felt I did a step forward,” Leclerc said. “Then, Austria is also my favorite track, so it might fit a little bit better to my driving style; but overall, I think, since Paul Ricard, I did a step forward. And I can feel it in car so, happy with this.
“I think our main issue in the last few grands prix was the front. We didn’t have enough front. I think this weekend it was quite a bit better. We tried different setups, setup philosophy, and it seems to be a bit better.
“So, it doesn’t mean that we’ll do a big step-up for the other races but for here it worked pretty well. I think the most time gained on the second sector is because of a stronger front compared to the last grands prix.”
Leclerc will start on the soft tire compared to the Mercedes drivers and Max Verstappen on mediums, but says he is confident in Ferrari’s strategy.
“On Friday actually it didn’t look bad compared to Mercedes but also Red Bull, so we are pretty happy I think. We are quite competitive this weekend. I think tomorrow the start will be very important. There is a long straight after it, but normally we are quite fast on the straights so hopefully we can keep first position in the first three corners.
“But the pace itself looks promising. We did some analysis after FP2, like every team does after the race simulation, and the soft looked pretty good so we are pretty happy with our strategy. Definitely different than Red Bull and Mercedes but yeah, only tomorrow will tell who was right…”
Lewis Hamilton has been demoted three places on the grid for the Austrian Grand Prix by race stewards as punishment for blocking Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen on track during qualifying.
It means that Hamilton loses his provisional front row spot and will now line-up in fourth place for Sunday’s race due to the specific way in which the penalties are applied in the case of multiple grid demotions.
Instead, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will start the Grand Prix from second place alongside pole winner Charles Leclerc, with Valtteri Bottas promoted to third while McLaren’s Lando Norris will line up fifth following Kevin Magnussen’s five-spot demotion.
“Totally deserved the penalty today and have no problem accepting it,” Hamilton wrote on social media.
“Was a mistake on my behalf and I take full responsibility for it. It wasn’t intentional. Anyway, tomorrow is another day and an opportunity to rise.”
Hamilton had found himself in the way heading into the hairpin. Although he tried to get out of the way but running straight on and going off the track, it still distracted Raikkonen and cost him a shot at setting a new flying lap time.
“He should have slowed down and let me pass,” said Raikkonen. “He cannot slow down and then speed up. He went over the kerb and into the run off
“I don’t know why he didn’t slow down on the right hand side,” he added. “He blocked me, as simple as that! How can it be so difficult to move out of the way for people?”
The FIA race stewards agreed with the Finn. In the official statement announcing the decision, they said that they had “reviewed video evidence and heard from the driver of Car 7 [Raikkonen] and the driver of Car 44 [Hamilton] and the team representatives.
“Car 44 had just come out of the pits and was informed of the cars approaching, including Car 7.
“Although Car 44 tried to take evasive action when he became aware of car seven approaching on a fast lap, it was not sufficient to avoid impeding Car 7, which had to then abort the lap.
The statement therefore concluded that Hamilton had “unnecessarily impeded Car 7 at turn three.”
As well as the three place grid drop, Hamilton has also been given one penalty point on his superlicence, the first demerit he’s received in the last 12 month period.
Williams driver George Russell also fell foul of the race stewards for a similar offence. He was also given a three-place grid drop after being deemed to have blocked Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat in Q1.
Kvyat was forced to take evasive action when he rounded the superfast turn 9 to find a train of cars ahead of him. At the tail end was Russell, who was offline after having been overtaken by Kvyat’s team mate Alexander Albon.
Only lightning-quick reflexes from the Russian driver avoided what could have been a very nasty and violent accident.
“I could have killed him,” Kvyat told the Toro Rosso pit wall after the near miss.
“It is very frustrating,” he said later. “The feeling with the car was good throughout the session and I was on a good lap time which would have put me through to Q2.
“It’s a shame not to be able to show what the car was able to do today due to these things which are out of my control.”
“I was warming my tyres up and there was a bunch of cars ahead doing the same.,” explained Russell. “Daniil was on a flying lap and he closed quicker than expected due to the queue ahead.
“I tried to stay to the inside but the next thing I knew, he was driving around the outside of the track. It is a bit frustrating but just one of those things unfortunately. I apologise to Daniil as it was nothing intentional.
However the stewards clearly agreed with Kvyat’s view that Russell had been to blame for the dangerous incident.
“Car 63 [Russell] unnecessarily impeded Car 26 [Kvyat] after the apex of turn 9,” the official announcement stated.
“The Stewards noted that Car 63 was not given the requisite warning by the team in a timely fashion about Car 26 approaching on a fast lap.
“Furthermore, the situation was compounded by Car 23 [Albon] overtaking Car 63 during a slow lap, just before the incident in question.”
Like Hamilton, Russell has also had one penalty point added to his superlicence.
The penalty means that he will now start the race from 18th position, just behind his team mate Robert Kubica.
The back row will consist of two drivers who have received grid penalties for exceeding their power unit element allocations – Albon and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.
Max Verstappen admits he was concerned about Red Bull’s qualifying hopes at the Austrian Grand Prix and calls second on the grid an amazing result.
Red Bull struggled for pace compared to Mercedes and Ferrari at the French Grand Prix last weekend, having to hold off McLaren in qualifying before finishing fourth in the race. At the Red Bull Ring, however, the car was much more competitive and Verstappen originally qualified third before a grid penalty for Lewis Hamilton promoted him to second alongside Charles Leclerc (pictured above, with Verstappen).
“I’m actually really happy at the moment,” Verstappen said. “For us, this is an amazing result on this track, which is not easy for us. I think also with the upgrades we brought here, the car seems to be working better.
“Just in general, I think our whole weekend, the performance has been a lot better. Before we came here I was actually not really looking forward to it, to qualifying, because I knew that it was going to be hard — but actually with the new updates we’ve got on the car, I think we gained a bit of performance and I was really happy with the car throughout qualifying. In the corners as well, we looked very competitive.
“We do know that we are lacking quite a bit of pace to Ferrari and even to Mercedes of course on the straights but knowing this is not a great track for us, it’s still a great result in qualifying.”
Expanding more on Red Bull’s upgrades, Verstappen says the new parts are providing more downforce, to go with Honda’s power unit upgrade that was delivered in France.
“I think the things we brought, they just gave me more grip in general. I didn’t really have big problems before with a lot of oversteer or a lot of understeer, just not a lot of overall grip. I think that seems to be improved. That’s very positive.”
Charles Leclerc came into this weekend insisting that the Red Bull Ring was his favourite circuit on the F1 calendar, having won here from pole in Formula 2 and GP3.
On Saturday, the Ferrari driver proved his point by taking an emphatic pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix, which will now be his second time starting at the front in Formula 1 since joining Ferrari over the winter.
“The car felt amazing actually,” Leclerc said after the end of qualifying. “From FP2 it was quite good and a big pleasure to drive this car on the limit.
“It just felt great, and I’m very happy to bring the pole position back home – but tomorrow we need to finish the job.”
“Our main issue in the last few Grands Prix was the front, we didn’t have enough front [end],” he explained when asked what had made the difference today.
“This weekend it was quite a bit better. We tried different set-up philosophies and it seemed to be a bit better,” he continued. “It doesn’t mean it will be a big step up for other races, but it seemed to work here.”
In previous qualifying sessions in 2019, Leclerc has lamented not keeping up with the way that the track has evolved during qualifying. That was certainly not the case this weekend.
“We changed the car a bit for the first lap in Q3,” he revealed “I knew it would be a compromise for the first sector but it helped in the third sector, which is nice to see.”
Unfortunately for Ferrari, Leclerc’s team mate Sebastian Vettel suffered a technical failure with the engine pneumatic system on his SF90 during Q2 which prevented him from running in the final top ten pole shoot-out round.
Leclerc said that he hadn’t been worried about the prospect of his own car suffering a similar failure during the session.
“They [the Ferrari engineers] didn’t feel concern on my side. I don’t know if they were, maybe they were behind the computers. But they weren’t showing it to me.”
The last time that Ferrari was on pole in Austria was in 2003, when Michael Schumacher claimed the honours. He went on to win the race the following day, raising expectations that Leclerc will now do the same.
“I’ll push to the maximum,” Leclerc said. “Hopefully, I’ll get my first win tomorrow!”
Leclerc will take his place on the the grid on soft tyres, while Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton all start on mediums. That gives Leclerc the initial advantage when it comes to pace, but might force him to pit early for tyre degradation.
“We’re pretty happy with our strategy,” Leclerc insisted. “We did some analysis after FP2, like every team, and the soft looked pretty good.
“It’s different to Mercedes and Red Bull. Tomorrow will tell if it’s the right choice, but I’m happy with it,” he said. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow to see how challenging Mercedes will be.
“We are pretty happy, we are quite competitive this weekend. The start is important and yes there’s a long straight after it but usually we are pretty good on straights.
“It’s very tricky here. If I’m first at the first corner the slipstream is quite a big thing. So it will be about trying to keep them behind until turn 4.
“Hopefully we can keep our position on the first three corners,” he added. “But the race pace itself looks promising.”
Nobuharu Matsushita claimed his first career Feature Race win in FIA Formula 2, surging past polesitter and championship leader Nyck De Vries during the final few laps at the Red Bull Ring. The Carlin driver hailed the victory as the best of his career over team radio, as he earned last season’s dominant force its first win of the current campaign.
The Japanese driver finished ahead of UNI-Virtuosi ace Luca Ghiotto, who followed him past De Vries. The Dutchman lost a further place to Sergio Sette Camara, but ended up on the podium when the DAMS’ driver was dropped to fifth after a five second time penalty was added.
The race began in calmer circumstances with De Vries making a smooth start off the line to retain first place ahead of Anthoine Hubert. Guanyu Zhou quickly made an attempt on the Frenchman’s position, but ran out of track and swerved wide, allowing Matsushita through to third.
The Japanese racer was up to second a lap later with a successful assault on Hubert, but he then switched his attention to building a gap between himself and those behind him, ahead of his pit stop when he would switch the prime tire.
Tensions threatened to boil over further back when Sette Câmara’s attempts to pass teammate Nicholas Latifi ended with the Canadian getting thumped from behind and swung full circle. When he recovered, he had been dropped to P19 and the Brazilian was handed a five-second time penalty for causing the collision.
Those on the option tires went for Soft rubber on Lap 7, leaving Sean Gelael in first, with front five De Vries, Matsushita, Ghiotto, Zhou and Hubert among the drivers making the change. Zhou suffered a gearbox glitch upon his return and dropped down to 15th before he was able to get back up to speed.
Seventeen seconds separated De Vries and the PREMA man out in front and the Dutchman’s charge began with an overtake on American Ryan Tveter. Matsushita followed him through a lap later. Gelael was told to push harder over team radio, but by then the ART and Carlin men had already made their way past IndyCar racer — Patricio O’Ward, making his F2 debut — and Tatiana Calderon for fourth and fifth, and were fast homing in.
With Gelael unable to form a gap out in front, Nikita Mazepin took a stab at the race lead and passed the Indonesian. The PREMA man was then overtaken by De Vries, who had also just passed Arjun Maini. Gelael pitted and a slow stop saw him fall further down the grid.
De Vries was joined by Matsushita and Ghiotto in the chase for first and was closing in on his teammate at the front of the field. The Russian still required a pit stop, but the championship leader refused to wait and retook his place at the top of the pile. However, De Vries’ tires had already taken a battering as the race headed into its final five laps.
Sensing this, the duo behind him pounced at Turn 1 and De Vries was dragged back to third in dramatic circumstances, after both Matsushita and Ghiotto made their moves on him stick in one clean sweep.
Having suffered earlier in the race, Zhou showed no slowdown in pace from the earlier issues, charging back through the pack to P6 thanks to a gritty recovery. Latifi also managed to dice his way through the field and re-enter to the points’ paying positions, but narrowly missed out on reverse grid pole as he finished in ninth behind the impressive Jordan King — who had started the race back in 15th.
There was one final course of action when Sette Camara tried to make the most of his race, with the knowledge of an incoming five-second penalty. The Brazilian set the fastest lap with just one tour of the circuit to go and managed to slide past former race leader De Vries, who was still struggling with tire degradation. De Vries reclaimed the position upon the checkered flag as Sette Camara’s penalty dropped him to fifth.
Matsushita crossed the line in first, ahead of Ghiotto, who achieved his best finish since Barcelona. De Vries ran home in third, ahead of Hubert, with Sette Camara in fifth, followed by Zhou, Louis Deletraz, King, Latifi and Jack Aitken.
King will attempt to claim the top honors in tomorrow’s Sprint Race when he starts on reverse grid pole ahead of Louis Deletraz at 11 a.m. local time.