• Austrian Grand Prix

Who said what after the Austrian GP

ESPN Staff
June 22, 2014

ESPN rounds up all the reaction from around the paddock after the Austrian Grand Prix

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Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel (DNF): "We stopped because we wanted to save some mileage. We were hoping for a safety car but it wasn't coming. Obviously, it has been a bad first half of the season with a few retirements and other problems, but I guess it's part of the game. Equally we were able to learn a lot today and it's good that Daniel got some points for us. It would be bad to say I got used to it, but obviously we have had a lot of problems so far already and I got calmer when the problem occurred. Our pace looked alright and we were able to go quite far on the soft tyre, but we were a lap down so in the end we decided to save some mileage."

Daniel Ricciardo (8th): "It was frustrating today; it's never nice going backwards on the first lap. Off the line, it was actually one of our better starts this year, although I think Kevin [Magnussen] on the inside got a better one. I tried to hang around on the outside, which was the wrong thing to do, because you basically lose too much on the exit. So I then got swamped on the long straight. We already struggle on the long straights as it is, but even more when you get a poor exit.

"So I was frustrated with myself and I will have to look if maybe I could have cut to the inside and done anything better. From that point on we tried to push and catch the others, but we just didn't have that much pace. It wasn't until the last bit that we were able to overtake the Force India. The last lap move put a little smile on my face, but other than that it wasn't a great race for us - we've got a bit of work to do."

Christian Horner, team principal: "It was a tough day on track - unfortunately Sebastian lost power right from the first lap with an engine electrical issue, which we are yet to understand what caused it. Daniel, after getting a bit wide after Turn 1, was never able to really recover. Our lack of straight line speed seemed to really hurt us today and despite a great move on the last lap round the outside of Turn 5 by Daniel, P8 was probably the maximum today.

"It's been a fantastic event for the fans of Formula One this weekend. There's been a huge crowd and it's great for Formula One to be back in Austria. Congratulations to Mr Mateschitz and everyone in Red Bull for putting on such a wonderful event and showing how a Formula One event can and should be promoted."

Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton (2nd): "After what happened yesterday in qualifying, today was all about damage limitation for me, so I'm as happy as I can be with a P2 finish. I have had the pace in the car all weekend here but I wasn't able to capitalise on that, so getting second place from a bad weekend is pretty good, I guess. I had a rocket start - it's something we've be working hard on all year and it was one of the best I've ever had. You can't ever plan what's going to happen but I managed to put the car in all the right places and climb to P4 by the end of the first lap.

"We were managing the brakes a lot today, because I was in traffic for most of the race and it was the most important thing to bring the car home, so that was a real balancing act. But the strategy worked really well for me to get into second position, then I tried to start pushing Nico - but he didn't make any mistakes and I didn't have the chance to overtake. The guys did a fantastic job today to get us another one-two and the fans here in Austria have been insane. Next race is in Silverstone and all the positive energy from my home fans; it will be a special time and I'll be going all out for the win."

Nico Rosberg (1st) : That was an amazing weekend for us here. It was so great to be back again in Austria - for me, it felt almost like being at my home race in Germany! This is a great track, with amazing fans and at the end also with a great result for us. I have to thank the team for a great car and a perfect strategy. We chose the aggressive way to pit earlier and to overtake the Williams that way and that worked out quite well.

"We had to look after our brakes, which was a big job for the whole race. Also this worked out perfectly for me. Before the weekend, my target was to extend the lead in the championship, which I achieved. So I can be quite confident before the next home race for our team in Silverstone. A great job also from Williams, they were the second force today. Congratulations to them."

Toto Wolff, Executive Director, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "A fantastic result for us here in Austria and we are just delighted to get a one-two finish today. The race was all about management: managing the brakes because this is such a tough circuit for them, and also looking after the Power Unit to make sure we didn't have any repeat of the problems in Canada.

"Nico and Lewis did an incredible job - a controlled drive from Nico, where he let the race come to him and let our strategy play out, which worked really well; then a really typical dynamic drive from Lewis, who just did an amazing first lap to climb from 9th to 4th. After that, the guys pushed each other hard but we made sure to bring the cars home, too. It's a great day for the team to take another one-two finish and congratulations, too, to our partners at Williams, who made it four Mercedes Benz engines in the top four this afternoon."

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): We woke up this morning knowing that we had a big job to do today given our less than ideal qualifying positions. We had a lot of work to do with the strategy to get the cars to the front. Both drivers had great starts and a good first lap, particularly from Lewis which meant we were in P3 and P4 after lap one. Behind the scenes we were doing a lot to manage the condition of the car during the race, at the same time as running a strategy to overtake the Williams, who looked to have very strong pace today. To finish where we did is a credit to the whole team. Well done to Williams for getting P3 and P4 and congratulations to Mercedes-Benz for securing seven out of the top ten positions with no retirements at this particulary demanding circuit."

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Ferrari

Fernando Alonso (4th): "I think that I can consider this to be my best race of the season, because finishing eighteen seconds off the Mercedes in a race without a Safety Car or any particular incidents, is a good result. It was impossible to keep Hamilton behind me and fifth place is really the best we could do today, because the first four cars were quicker and therefore deserved to finish ahead of us. We pushed hard all race without any problems, which means that little by little, we are improving. Sure, there's still a long way to go but the aim is still to do well and score points. Each track is a different story and we will always try our best."

Kimi Raikkonen (10th): "This was another very difficult race for me, despite having gone in a different direction yesterday to try and improve the performance. Unfortunately, it did not bring the improvements I'd hoped for and again here I found myself fighting the handling of the car. At the start I made up one place, but already on the second lap I began to have a problem with the brakes overheating and this meant I had to slow down.

"At the time of my first pit stop, my tyres were completely worn and on my in-lap alone I lost two places. We should definitely have stopped sooner. Compared to the start of the season, progress has been made, even if there's still a lot to do as our speed still doesn't allow us to fight for the top places."

Marco Mattiacci, team principal: "The way this season is going becomes particularly evident when one races at a track where what counts the most is the power of the car. Today, we tried to get the most out of what we have and we believe we have taken another small step in the right direction. Unfortunately, we were unable to demonstrate that with Kimi, who did not have an easy time on this circuit, but we are sure that with the progressive improvement of the car he too will be able to show what he's capable of. Fernando could not have done any better today.

"He managed to maintain a great pace for the whole race, at times even quicker than the leaders and this must serve as an incentive to continue developing the F14 T. Overall the gaps are coming down and the number of teams fighting it out behind the frontrunners is increasing. So our aim is to exploit all our potential to be at the front of the pursuing group."

Pat Fry: "After a good start both Kimi and Fernando struggled a lot on the Supersoft because of graining on the rears which slowed their pace. In this stint, a gap grew to the Mercedes-engined cars which made the most of their superior power down the three straights. Apart from the actual result, we can nevertheless be pleased because in the second and third stints, especially with Fernando, we were one of the quickest cars on track and that shows that, race by race, we are making small steps forward.

"Kimi struggled more than Fernando and unfortunately, with him we paid a high price for his in-lap before his first stop when the rear tyres were on the limit. Now we must look ahead to the next race in Silverstone, a very different circuit to this one, where we can also expect the Red Bulls to be back on form. As usual we will try and be in the fight and to prepare our car as well as possible for this new challenge."

Lotus

Romain Grosjean (P14): "Today hasn't been easy. We had various issues during the race to add to our struggle for overall performance so it was quite a challenge! We stopped very early for soft tyres but unfortunately we soon experienced graining from these which made it difficult for the rest of the race. Looking at the past, the team has always managed to make a great comeback. It might be a bit of a big build-up this time, but I know that we will work hard and do all we can to fight back to where we want to be."

Pastor Maldonado (12th): "For me in the car it was actually quite a good weekend. We finished the race which is positive and we made the most of the package we had today. We are losing a lot of time in the slow speed corners and we need to keep improving in this area to be more like our good high speed corner performance. Unfortunately we had some brake issues from very early on in the race so I wasn't able to fight others around me, even though it was nice to be running in the top ten during the course of the race. After that, it was a case of saving fuel and brakes to get to the chequered flag. I think Silverstone will suit us much better."

Gederico Gastaldi, deputy team principal: "There are positives from today. Both cars made the chequered flag in what's been a difficult race for many teams. Pastor and Romain really got their heads down and made the most of the cars under them and should be applauded for today's drives. It is obvious where we are lacking against our rivals so our focus going forwards is clear."

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McLaren

Kevin Magnussen (7th): "I really thought we were going to finish sixth today, but Checo [Perez] just had too much pace at the end of the race. That wasn't great, but it's positive that we're making improvements. We've made progress this weekend, but we still need to keep pushing: we still need to find good, efficient downforce. Still, I think we got everything out of our package this weekend. It's tough racing in the midfield pack, like we did today, but we're going to get there. It's maybe difficult to see it from the outside, but, believe me, we're making improvements all the time."

Jenson Button (11th): "I'd hoped we could make up some places today, but it's never easy to overtake around here. We went for a different strategy - starting on Primes - but it didn't really work for us. At the start, Nico [Hulkenberg] pushed me wide at the exit of Turn One - there was no real need for that as there was enough room for both of us - so I lost a couple of places. From then on, my race was all about sitting in the train, waiting for people ahead of me to pit, and trying to make my strategy work - which in the end I couldn't. It was a long afternoon's work for 11th place. I'm now really looking forward to Silverstone."

Eric Boullier, racing director: "Kevin drove extremely maturely all afternoon, balancing the need to turn fast laps when required with the ever-present necessity to manage tyre wear. For the first half of the race, he was able to maintain a steady sixth place, best of the rest behind the two Mercedes-Benzes, the two Williamses and Fernando's [Alonso] Ferrari. He did well to hold that position until lap 66, when, running on worn Primes, he was unable to prevent Checo, running on fresh Options, from passing him.

"Jenson was never quite able to compensate for his less-than-optimal grid position, but he nonetheless did his level best to capitalise on an adventurous race strategy which in the end didn't quite work out. As a result, he was able to finish only 11th, through no fault of his own. In summary, then, seventh and 11th isn't the result we were hoping for, but, as I said yesterday, we're on the right development path, even if the gains we're making are frustratingly incremental at the moment. We'll continue to work as hard as we possibly can in an effort gradually to enlarge those gains, but it won't be an instant fix.

"Even so, we're very much looking forward to the Santander British Grand Prix, at Silverstone, the spiritual home of British motorsport, where, once again, you can be well sure that Jenson and Kevin will both be driving their hearts out in an effort to put on a good show for McLaren's many UK-based fans, who'll be cheering them on from the packed grandstands all around the circuit."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg (9th): "It was quite a tough afternoon and more difficult than I was expecting. Inside the car I was struggling with the balance quite a lot, which hurt our pace and also had an impact on the tyre wear. So I think it was just a general lack of pace which stopped me from being able to get a better result. Checo obviously had better race pace, even though he was on a different strategy, so we need to understand why that was the case. It's good to continue picking up points and I had some good battles this afternoon, especially with Ricciardo on the final lap. I was fighting hard to keep him behind but he had a tyre advantage and I could not hold him off."

Sergio Perez (6th): "Today we got a very positive result for the team, especially considering where we started the afternoon. When you start in 16th it is always going to be difficult to make up ground, but I had a very strong start and made up a good few positions. It was especially important to pass Jenson [Button] because he was on a similar strategy to mine: it was a key moment for my race.

"The strategy worked; we showed once more that we can manage the tyres well, and we had a very strong race pace, as we have had all year. It was nice to be in the lead for a while, although we obviously knew that the cars behind us were on a different strategy. The only regret is that without the grid penalty I would have been further up the grid, which would have made a big difference because we had the pace to fight for a podium today. It's nice to be back in the points after two disappointing races: the car is improving and we are in good shape."

Vijay Mallya, team principal and managing director: "All in all it's encouraging to see both our cars come home in the points to maintain our fourth place in the championship. Checo's race was particularly noteworthy when you consider that he started from P16. It was a very mature drive and he did a fantastic job of looking after the tyres and making an alternative strategy work. His pace was excellent, he set the fastest lap of the race, and he didn't put a wheel wrong.

"The opening lap was the key to making the strategy work because he overtook five cars. Nico's two-stop race followed a similar pattern to most of the frontrunners, but he struggled for outright pace on the soft tyres. He still picked up a couple of points - continuing his run of points in every race this year, which shows how consistent he has been. It sets us up nicely for the British Grand Prix where we will try and deliver another strong showing at our local track."

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Sauber

Esteban Gutiérrez (19th): "It was not a satisfying race. We made a mistake during the first pit stop, as the wheel nut on the right rear wheel was not secured, so I had to stop in the pit lane and my mechanics had to pull me back. Afterwards, I got a ten second stop and go penalty. Apart from this incident, I was trying to get the most out of the car.

"I got a lot of blue flags, so I had to let other cars by, which resulted in slower lap times. We tried by compromising qualifying in order to get a better race pace, but it didn't seem to pay off. It was difficult to keep the tyres alive."

Adrian Sutil (13th): "From a driving perspective, it was a good race. I had a good start and was able to gain two positions on the first lap. Up to lap 15, after my first pit stop, everything went according to our plan. Suddenly, I got the instruction through the radio to stop the car immediately. However, the radio communication was not for me, but for Esteban. After telling me this I immediately continued in the race, but I had already lost quite a lot of time due to this incident."

Monisha Kaltenborn: "Our work today is not acceptable. Such a mistake at a pitstop must simply not happen. We will carefully look into our procedures and the consequences, and we will take appropriate measures. Today, both drivers put in good performances, but this doesn't help when we make mistakes. We cannot afford that. Concerning the event in Spielberg, I would like to forward a big thank you to the organisers and the spectators for welcoming us to this great race and creating such a fantastic atmoshpere."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, head of track engineering: "What we delivered today is inexcusable. Our performance was decent, considering our potential, but the mistakes at the pit stop spoiled our race. Procedures were not adhered to. As a result we stopped the wrong car on the track. Equally unacceptable was Esteban's first pit stop, during which he was released although the wheel nut on his rear right wheel didn't go on. At the same time, Adrian, who was out on the track, was stopped by a radio communication which was simply a huge mistake."

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne (DNF): "I have struggled with the brakes from the beginning of the race. It's difficult to drive the car with such a considerable rear locking. It's not good for tyre life and for the balance in general so it was really a tricky race. I was doing my best to finish it at least but in the end I just could not bring the car to the chequered flag. Problems happen, it's a shame that they occurred here but the new aero package is working well and we have a good car to face the next Grand Prix in Silverstone. There are still a lot of races in front of us and I'm sure we are moving in the right direction for the rest of the season."

Daniil Kvyat (DNF): "I'm obviously disappointed with how today turned out, especially because everything was working so well this weekend and it seemed like a promising race. Our pace was strong, our updates and also tyre management worked well. The start was difficult, I lost a few positions but I managed to get a position back. From then on I was able to push hard and it looked like we could have a strong result.

"Around lap 26 I saw my rear right tyre blow up and I was forced to stop. I'm not quite sure what exactly happened, but we will now analyse everything closely and find out what the problem was today. On the positive side, we have made a solid step forward this weekend and I think it looks promising for the upcoming races, so I can't wait to get to Silverstone where we will aim high again."

Franz Tost, team principal: "Starting from seventh position and not finishing the race is quite disappointing. We have to investigate the problem on Daniil's rear right suspension, as well as the brake problem on Jean-Eric's car. Generally speaking the car showed a solid performance in Qualifying and now we have work hard to transfer this also into a strong race result. It is a real shame that we were not able to do so here at the Red Bull Ring and in front of all the Red Bull family, but we are hopeful that we can come back stronger at the next race in Silverstone."

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Williams

Valtteri Bottas (3rd): : "It's difficult to explain how I feel right now. That was the best champagne I've ever tasted. All the hard work that the team puts in shows in moments like this. I had one pitstop that really put in me in the fight and that changed my race, so well done to the boys for that. I had put in a good lap before that and so I got in front on Felipe and from there I could manage my pace with the cars in front. Having both cars score good points is what we wanted and so third and fourth for the team is a great result. There are still two places to go up the podium, but for now we will enjoy this moment.

Felipe Massa (4th): "I am very happy for Valtteri, he did a great job. We had a good fight with the Mercedes but it was clear we were never going to win. I had to manage my tyres the whole race and also struggled with traffic. To stop first and come back out fourth is a bit disappointing but that's racing. It was a positive weekend for the whole team and an emotional one as well. The main thing is that we got 27 points which means we move up in the Constructors' Championship. We have progressed a lot but there still work to do to close the gap to Mercedes."

Rob Smedley, Head of Vehicle Performance: "I believe we got everything out of today that we could have done. It was a difficult race in terms of managing brakes, systems on the car and tyres, and that dictated what we could do with strategy. The two car crews did a great job to manage tyres and get us to the end of the race and both drivers drove a sensible race. Considering where the team was 12 months ago, to where we are today, everyone should be very proud of this result and enjoy this moment. Securing 27 points is a great result today."

Marussia

Max Chilton (17th): "We had a very good strategy today which enabled me to keep Ericsson behind and in the latter stages of the race, close the gap to Kobayashi. I had a really good second stint but unfortunately we just ran out of laps as the gap came down to only 2s. Generally I'm pleased with 17th after starting at the back of the grid today. It has been a positive end to the weekend but we've grown used to being able to focus on the cars ahead, not behind, so we need to recover a bit of ground for the next race to get us back on track. The next round is our home race, for the Team and for me, so hopefully we'll find a little bit more pace to get us back where we need to be."

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Jules Bianchi (15th): "It was not an easy race trying to make our one-stop strategy work, but we did and I am pretty happy with how we have finished. I got a good start and kept everyone behind me until it was not possible for me to keep pace with the Supersoft tyre Kobayashi was running to my Soft and he was able to get by. We just had to keep faith with the strategy though and run as long as possible on the prime, which, in the end was 40 laps.

"Everything worked out well because on the Supersoft I was able to catch him very quickly, overtake, and then pull away from him by some margin. Late in the race I was also closing the gap to Grosjean but unfortunately I ran out of time. Nonetheless, 15th is a good result and I am happy that we delivered a good team performance today. It was a nice fight, just not the fight we had been hoping for, which was with the cars ahead. I hope we can find those extra tenths for our home race at Silverstone in two weeks' time."

John Booth, Team Principal: "We leave Austria with mixed feelings after the race today. On the one hand, each car held off a Caterham. On the other hand, we didn't quite have the pace when looking to the Sauber and Lotus cars in front. Both drivers held their nerve with our one-stop strategy; we had opted to start on the prime tyre in order to give us a clear first stint in terms of traffic. This paid off slightly better for Jules than Max, but obviously with Max starting from the back this was inevitable.

"In the last few laps, both cars got close to the cars immediately in front. With an extra lap, Jules could have had a good tussle with Grosjean and with the absence of a couple of blue flags for Max, he could have passed Kobayashi. We knew this track would be tough for our package, however both on the Marussia side and Scuderia Ferrari side we have worked to extract as much performance as we could. We hope this continues into Silverstone at what is maybe a slightly better circuit for our car."

Caterham

Kamui Kobayashi (16th): "I didn't have a great start but then recovered and passed my teammate and Bianchi and was running well for the first stint. We'd started on supersofts and they held up well, right until we boxed on lap 14 for a set of softs. Our original plan was for a two stops and with our race focused on the Marussias, as soon as it became clear Bianchi was stopping once, we decided to switch the strategy during the second stint which meant I had to manage that set of softs for 55 laps to the flag. Unfortunately that didn't work as with about ten laps to go I couldn't hold him back as he was on supersofts and had the pace to pass. We tried something and this time it didn't work, but ultimately we probably didn't lose anything as we were really only fighting him.

"Despite that I think we have to take quite a few positives from this weekend as our performance relative to our nearest competitors improved quite a bit. Our reliability has been much better this weekend and the setup change we made on Friday night paid dividends again today as I was pretty easily able to pass the lead Marussia and pull away early in the race. From where we were on Friday, and in the last couple of races, that's a good sign and we know we can improve again at Silverstone so I'm already hungry to get back and fight again there."

Marcus Ericsson (18th): "I'm pretty pleased with my race today as the gap to our direct rivals on Friday looked like it would be much more than it was today. I had a really good start, passing a couple of cars, but we'd planned to stretch out the first stint on softs to around lap 28 so I didn't want to kill them defending so early in the race. The first stop was good, going onto a set of new supersofts which performed really well until about 10 laps into the stint, and then they started going off so we boxed again on lap 43 for a set of softs to the flag.

"Unfortunately we had to extend the second pitstop by four seconds because of a Ferrari in the fastlane of the pitlane and that meant I came out about 12 seconds behind Chilton. The car felt good and within a few laps I had the gap down to around three seconds, but then the blue flags really kicked in and cost me a lot of time. They're obviously part of the race, especially for us, and even though they make life even more tough, particularly on a small track like this, it's still something I'm learning. We're nearly halfway through the season and I'm definitely improving, and I'll take that as another lesson - without that I think it would have been a much better fight to the flag, but 18th is still ok, especially considering where we were in FP1 and FP2."

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 Track Support Leader: "The team made some set-up changes to the car over the weekend that made the car a bit more stable and closer to the competition. Kamui was able to race both Marussias and Marcus was fighting well with Chilton until traffic in his second stop cost him a lot of time, but this is good news for the coming races. The Power Unit has been working well all weekend and hopefully these latest steps will put us in a better position for the next race as well."

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, motorsport director: "Tyre performance was very much in line with our expectations today, despite the warmer conditions. As a result of that, degradation was a little higher than we saw previously and it was a straightforward two-stop race, with a one-stopper becoming a little too ambitious for most teams. We saw an entertaining grand prix where tyre strategy was very important, and of course it's always great to see a new face on the podium. Congratulations to Valtteri and Williams, as well as Mercedes, for a great performance all weekend."

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