Max Verstappen made it three wins in a row as he secured an emphatic victory at the Austrian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver never looked under threat at the head of the field as he finished ahead of Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas, while Lando Norris of McLaren completed the podium.
There was late drama as Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel collided on the final lap, resulting in more than half of the grid being summoned to the stewards amidst concerns over observing yellow flags.
Only Raikkonen, Nicholas Latifi and Nikita Mazepin received post-race penalties.
3 Legs 4 Wheels looks at the drivers’ reactions following the race in Spielberg:
Max Verstappen – 1st (Red Bull):
“To win again at home at the Red Bull Ring is just incredible. I expected it to be good, but not this good, and the car was on rails. It was really nice to drive and the pace was incredible on both tyre compounds. I could push and also look after the tyres which is exactly how you want it to be and I could extend my gap lap after lap. Just like everyone else we learnt from last weekend and we optimised the car even more by improving the set-up. It’s actually hard to put into words because it was so enjoyable to drive and the weekend was the best it could be, so let’s hope we can carry on in the same way. It’s a great reward for everyone in the Team and it was also very nice to have Honda represented on the podium by Tanabe. The fans were also incredible all weekend, so much orange in the grandstands and it’s just great to see people back and enjoying Formula One at the track. There are of course a lot of difficult races coming up and Silverstone will be interesting with the Sprint Race to mix things up. But for now, I’m really happy with the way the whole race went and you don’t often get this type of race, so we all have to enjoy it.”
Valtteri Bottas – 2nd (Mercedes):
“For me personally, P2 one place better than last week and I started from fifth so not a bad afternoon. I think as a team we got some decent points considering the gap we have to Red Bull in terms of pure pace. For me it’s nice to be on the podium again in second place and I think we really maximised what we could get today. The tyres held on pretty well today which was a surprise. Next two weeks of hardwork and learning then Silverstone, it will be great to see the fans there and I hope we can pick up our pace to give it a real fight there.”
Lando Norris – 3rd (McLaren):
“I’m extremely happy with today’s result. Another podium and a lot of points for us as a team. A very good day. The only thing that’s disappointing is the fact we could’ve been P2, but at the same time that’s also a big positive. Our pace today was extremely strong, especially in the second stint against very fast cars and against Mercedes. A lot of positives and altogether a very good day – a huge thank you to the whole team for their hard work and giving me such a great car. We’ll keep pushing to take this momentum into our home race at Silverstone in a couple of weeks.”
Christian Horner – Team Principal (Red Bull):
“Max had another fantastic race today and a second victory at the Red Bull Ring is a great way for the Team to sign off the triple header. It was another impeccable drive from Max and he didn’t put a wheel wrong. To achieve pole position, fastest lap, lead every lap and become the first driver to win all three races in a triple-header is just phenomenal and shows the calibre of driver he is and the effort the Team are putting in every single weekend. Checo was unlucky to have a racing incident with Lando, but for me that’s hard racing, just like the similar incidents later in the race but he came back strong and we could all see how hungry he was to get a result. We’ve now won the last five races, a first for us in the hybrid era, but we cannot get complacent and need to keep that momentum going. There’s a long way to go in this championship, we don’t take anything for granted and we have to keep doing what we’re doing, session by session, race by race. Silverstone will be a big challenge and it’s been a Mercedes stronghold for the last seven years but there’s going to be a big crowd there and we have brilliant fans, so I can’t wait to put on another show for everyone who comes out to support us.”
Lewis Hamilton – 4th (Mercedes):
“It’s not the result I wanted but it’s still some decent points. I sustained some damage just before I overtook Lando – the rear of the car started to feel strange and it just got worse throughout the race. Otherwise it would have been a straightforward second place for me. Max is clear out front at the moment so we need improve our car and start performing better each weekend. The team are working incredibly hard and we need continue that so we can find performance.”
Carlos Sainz – 5th (Ferrari):
“I’m leaving Austria feeling confident about the work we are doing weekend after weekend. Today we executed a smooth race with a good strategy, great tyre management and teamwork. We chose to start on Hards, which we knew would make us struggle in the first few laps. That cost me a couple of positions at the start due to the lack of grip but I knew my race was not about lap 1. The target was to extend the first stint as much as possible and I managed to maintain a very solid pace saving my tyres. I actually went very long before stopping for the Mediums and from there it was flat out until the chequered flag. I caught up quickly to the cars ahead after passing Yuki (Tsunoda) and then thanks to our teamwork with Charles and a good overtake on Daniel (Ricciardo) I managed to cross the line less than 10 seconds behind Checo (Perez) for P5. We’ve had two good Sundays here in Austria but we are still far from where we want to be. The ambition and motivation is high, so we’ll keep pushing hard to improve for the upcoming races.”
Andreas Seidl – Team Principal (McLaren):
“What a performance today from Lando, Daniel and the entire team. P3 and P7 is an excellent result and continues the strong run we’ve had all the way through this triple-header. Everybody has contributed. A big thank you to every single member of the team here at the track, back home at the factory and our colleagues at Mercedes HPP for making this happen. After a strong race here last week it was great to see that we could increase our performance again and be in a position to battle the top cars with Lando. I’m just as happy with Daniel’s performance today – he scrapped it out with the Ferraris, did a great job and scored more important points in our Constructors’ Championship battle. The team is looking forward to a bit of a rest now after an intense triple-header. We’ll reset and get ready to go again at Silverstone. We’re already looking forward to our home race, with our fans and many of the team cheering us on from the grandstands.”
Sergio Perez – 6th (Red Bull):
“I’m obviously not very happy with my race today. On the fourth lap I had the position and I out-braked Lando but he pushed me off the track which pretty much ended my race. As for the other incidents with Charles, I still have to review the situations and look at the incidents because I thought that I was ahead in both of them, especially the second one but it’s hard to say right now. I braked as late as possible, we were in dirty air and we had very old tyres so I lost the rear on the second one into Turn 6. I’m very sorry for Charles and how I affected his race because that’s not the way I like to race. I don’t feel happy with myself for compromising the race for another driver. But I am very happy for Max and the rest of the Team, it was great that we could get more points today at our home race at the Red Bull Ring. We move on and I’m looking forward to the next race at Silverstone.”
Not the race I hope for our home race!
After the incident with Lando my race was very difficult.
I’m very sorry with Charles because that’s not the way I race, but we were on the limit of tyres, dirty air and very hot brakes.
I will move on and come back stronger! #AustrianGP pic.twitter.com/1SdmiYggKG
— Sergio Pérez (@SChecoPerez) July 4, 2021
Toto Wolff – Team Principal (Mercedes):
“I think the result probably looks worse in terms of pace than the reality. We were stuck behind the McLaren which cost us a lot of time, otherwise our pace was good, maybe not enough to win the race but right up there at the front which is a step forward. Lewis picked up some damage at turn 10 – I don’t think he was running particularly hard over the kerb, it was just a piece that fell away so we need to understand what happened. Overall, not a bad damage limitation weekend. Morale in the team is good, we could see the improvement in race pace was from last weekend so we are making progress and eventually we will be competing for the win again. We are one DNF away from being right there in the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships so this is far from over.”
Daniel Ricciardo – 7th (McLaren):
“It was a nice day for the team with a podium for Lando and getting into the points for me. That was good. I just had a pretty fun race. It was busy, trying to attack and defend. It’s one I could enjoy and take some fulfilment from. The defence was tough. I was trying everything I could, every trick in the book to stay ahead. I think I held on as long as I could and Sainz was just a bit quicker at the end with a fresher tyre – but I can’t complain with the race and the result. A better day. Happy to have finished the first triple-header of the season. As fun as the triple-headers are, they’re tiring. Everyone can enjoy a break now. We’ll look forward to Silverstone and the new format there. It should be interesting!”
Charles Leclerc – 8th (Ferrari):
“It was a frustrating race for me, as I felt I could have got an even better result. Splitting the strategy between me and Carlos paid off for the team in the end. I was struggling to fight my way ahead of Daniel on the Hards in the closing laps of the race and so I let Carlos by to give it a shot, which worked out well for us. Anytime I saw a gap I tried to take the opportunity. There were two close ones with Checo and I think he knows he was a little bit over the limit. We have already spoken and cleared the air and, in the end, it’s all part of the game. A 5th and 8th place is not what we want, but I think that we did a solid job today. We’ve been working extremely hard, and every step forward is important. We have to stay consistent and continue like this and hopefully we can confirm out strong race pace in the next few races.”
Pierre Gasly – 9th (AlphaTauri):
“I think today was harder than we imagined, but the good thing is we’re consistently scoring points. We thought we would benefit more from the two-stop strategy, but we struggled more than expected on the Softs at the start of the race. There are some positives to take away though and we still showed some strong pace out there. We’re continuing to battle at the top of the midfield but it’s disappointing to not be finishing further up the grid today. We’ll review all the data tonight and then look forward to Silverstone, which is a track I love.”
Fernando Alonso – 10th (Alpine):
“It was difficult to score points today and we knew this starting from so far back. We are happy with the point, although we know we deserved more this weekend, but it’s better than nothing. It was a tense and a good battle with George [Russell] on-track this afternoon and in the end, we had better tyres and managed to accomplish the overtake. On a positive, we saw some good improvements from the team this weekend and the car felt good across all three days here. I feel more confident now going into Silverstone for the next race with the car and the tyres and I’m enjoying being more competitive.”
George Russell – 11th (Williams):
“Today was so close, yet so far. I got off the line well at the start, but then Tsunoda had quite a big lock up and cut in front of me to avoid going into his teammate, so I had to get on the brakes and lost a couple of places. That didn’t really change the outcome of our race as there were faster cars that were always going to finish ahead of us. That P10 point would feel like a race victory for us, so I was fighting with everything I had. Of all the drivers to have behind you in this situation, Fernando wouldn’t be who you’d choose; he was flying and holding him off just wasn’t possible on my tyres. We’re all disappointed to miss out by such a small margin, but we’re making real progress and we’ll take the positives on to Silverstone.”
Gave it everything but we couldn't quite hold on for the point. Respect to @alo_oficial for a tough, clean battle. Let's hope it's the first of many. pic.twitter.com/L5cJNbXDBj
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) July 4, 2021
Yuki Tsunoda – 12th (AlphaTauri):
“It’s been a difficult day for me. I struggled with pace during the race and tyre management was really tricky. My Qualifying was good yesterday so it’s frustrating, but we need to go away and review the issues from today, so we don’t make the same mistakes again next time out in Silverstone.”
Lance Stroll – 13th (Aston Martin):
“It was not the race we were hoping for today. I think it is clear, with hindsight, that starting on the Softs was not ideal, although we managed to keep ourselves in the fight for points during the first phase of the race. When we made our first stop to get onto a set of new Hards, we came out in quite a bit of traffic. With cars on different strategies and tyres, it meant we lost time and did not take advantage of the peak of the tyre early in the second stint, which impacted our race. It is a disappointing end to the triple-header, but I am excited to get going for our home race at Silverstone in a couple of weeks. It is a very different circuit and we also have a new weekend format, so it is a clean slate and a chance to bounce back.”
Marcin Budkowski – Executive Director (Alpine):
“Considering the circumstances, finishing in tenth place is a decent result as it was always going be a challenge to score points from fourteenth and seventeenth on the grid. Esteban got sandwiched at Turn 3 on the first lap and was forced to retire with a broken suspension. We executed the one-stop strategy really well with a perfectly timed pit-stop and two good stints from Fernando. His pace was strong and it’s frustrating not to be able to capitalise on that today due to the outcome of yesterday’s qualifying. We’re looking forward to racing in Silverstone, our second home race, and returning to where we should be with both cars.”
Antonio Giovinazzi – 14th (Alfa Romeo):
“A frustrating day: just as last week, our race was compromised on the first lap. I had contact with Esteban and had to pit: we had good pace afterwards but everyone was pretty close and it was very difficult to recover much. I got stuck behind a Williams, then even got a penalty – a weekend to forget. Hopefully we can have a better race in Silverstone as the performance was not bad.”
L’Austria ci lascia un po’ di amaro in bocca, proveremo a riaddolcirla già dalla prossima gara.
Just not my day.#AlfaRomeoRacing #F1 #AustrianGP #AG99🐝 pic.twitter.com/nsBEjAjBBD
— Antonio Giovinazzi (@Anto_Giovinazzi) July 4, 2021
Kimi Raikkonen – 15th (Alfa Romeo):
“It was a race in which the car was pretty ok but we just lacked that little bit to be in the top ten. We had a first long stint on hards, then on mediums we were able to catch up to the guys in front fighting for tenth. Alonso went past Russell, I went close, then had the contact with Seb. We came together and that was it, in the end it didn’t change the end result as we would have both fallen a bit short of the points.”
Nicholas Latifi – 16th (Williams):
“It wasn’t a very eventful day from my side; we stayed out of trouble on the opening laps and then I ran on my own for most of the race. I felt like we were still lacking overall pace, but there were places where the car felt much better than last week, so we’ve clearly made some steps forward. We will go away and see what we can improve for next time out.”
Otmar Szafnauer – Team Principal (Aston Martin):
“A number of factors combined to prevent us from scoring points today, despite both our drivers having done so well to get through to Q3 yesterday. That strong performance showed the underlying pace of our car, but it is possible that other teams that did not get through to Q3 were actually advantaged by that failure since our drivers were both forced to make their first pit stops early as a result of having started the race on the Softs on which they qualified in Q3. We will have to analyse that issue carefully. Additionally, through no fault of his own, Lance was very unlucky to be slowed by debris that lodged itself in a brake duct, while Sebastian was nerfed off the track in the closing stages by [Kimi] Räikkönen. Looking on the bright side, next up is our home race, the British Grand Prix, and we will now start working through today’s data to learn from and build on the positives, in order to put on as good a show as we possibly can in front of the famously passionate Silverstone crowd.”
Sebastian Vettel – 17th (Aston Martin):
“It was not an easy race today, which ended with a trip through the gravel because of the misunderstanding with Kimi [Räikkönen]. I guess he just did not see me in front of him. The first I knew about it was the contact I felt on the left rear. I had made a good exit out of Turn Four and was pulling ahead of Kimi on the right as we approached Turn Five. I do not think there was any intention from Kimi. Even before that, we did not have the speed to fight for points today. The balance inside the car felt alright, but the cars on the Medium tyres had better performance in the opening stint when I was stuck in traffic without any clean air. It is disappointing not to score points, but we will work hard to understand where we can improve before we get to the next race at Silverstone.”
Mick Schumacher – 18th (Haas):
“It was challenging – the softer tires meant that we had to do a bit more managing in general. There was a part of the race where our pace was matching what Alfa Romeo and Williams were doing, so it just seems that we weren’t able to consistently do those lap times. We will have to analyze what we can do better but nonetheless I think we managed to learn something, especially at the beginning the race. We had a good first lap and we were able to be in the mix right away in T1 and T2, so lots learned on that side and now we’re going into Silverstone with an open mind.”
Nikita Mazepin – 19th (Haas):
“We went on alternative strategies – we went on two stops, which didn’t work. I think the drop off of the tires wasn’t as big as we were expecting but it was the blue flags. You’re not able to keep up your pace because you have to stop more. It was a long afternoon.”
Esteban Ocon – DNF (Alpine):
“It was unfortunate for our race to end early today. There wasn’t much I could have done as I was sandwiched between Mick [Schumacher] and Antonio [Giovinazzi] at Turn 3 in a racing incident. It’s one of those things and a consequence of starting the race at the back. There’s always a chance for fights and contact and it’s easier to be caught up in trouble there. The team and I can’t seem to catch a break at the moment. We’ll reset, restart from zero and prepare for Silverstone. The only way we can go is forwards.”
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