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Styria GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
27/06/2021

Today's post-race press conference with Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Track Interviews - Conducted by Mark Webber.

Q: Max, 14th grand prix victory. Was there any grand prix that was easier than that, mate? That looked pretty straightforward from where I was sitting?
Max Verstappen: You never know, of course, how it's going to end up but straight away I felt a good balance in the car and it was good to manage the tyres basically from the start. I felt like also to the end I always had tyres left. Of course, they pitted one lap earlier than us and we reacted to that and then we just kept on going, trying to hit out lap times, and that worked really well today.

Q: You must be looking forward to... We have two races here in a fortnight. Back-to-back obviously, in seven days' time you are going to go again at this even so you must seeking some great comfort with that, with this championship battle really coming in your favour now?
MV: Yeah, I mean, that's very positive, but we have to show it again next week, so we will definitely have a look at what we can do better but yeah, I'm looking forward to next week.

Q: And Sergio did his best to get through but in terms of the Constructors', reliability, all the momentum is now starting to come Red Bull's way.
MV: It's looking really good, so we just have to keep on going, keep pushing really hard and I'm confident we can do a good job again.

Q: Thanks Max. Lewis, well I must say, in the previous grand prix, I've never seen you drive as well. That was an extraordinary performance in Ricard to try to fight this battle with Red Bull. But you didn't really have the answers today. Congratulations on second place, but where did you feel you lost the grand prix today?
Lewis Hamilton: Thanks. It was a bit of a lonely race really. I was trying to keep up with those guys, but the speed they have, they have obviously made some big improvements over the last couple of race, so it was impossible to keep up. I don't know where we are losing all the time. Their long runs seem to be a bit better, they seem to be able to continue pulling out those laps and obviously on the straight we lose a lot down the straights or it feels like we lose a lot down the straights. Nonetheless, we got good points as a team today and we've got to just keep pushing.

Q: You say you wanted a fight, buddy, with this team, against Red Bull. They are now really laying the gauntlet down in terms of development, in terms of speed. Where do you see this championship going as they have now had some wins on tracks that have traditionally been your home turf in terms of victories? Now that they are getting this momentum, is it starting to become a concern for you?
LH: Well, I try not to concern myself. Naturally... They are faster, they're just faster, so there is not a lot I can do in that respect. I have just got to keep trying to do the best job I can each weekend. We need to find some performance. We need an upgrade of some sort. We need to push. I don't know whether it's just [their] rear wing or whether it's the upgrade in the engine or whatever it may be, but we have to find some performance from somewhere.

Q: Well done, mate. Valtteri, congratulations on third place. The maximum result was second today. You had the pit lane spin which gave you the grid penalty and it was really recovery mode from then I guess?
Valtteri Bottas: Yeah, I think from where I started it was the maximum today and it's good. I think it was important in case they won to be in between their two cars to pick up the points, so a bit of damage limitation. And the good thing is we get to do all this again next week.

Q: That's right. Sergio got our attention in the last few laps. Red Bull tried a different strategy to put some heat on you at the end, but you felt you had him covered?
VB: Yeah, it was getting pretty close at the end and there was no much margin. It was the best thing they could try and it nearly worked but I'm glad we could defend and it's been a while since I've been on the podium, so it's good.

Q: Well, you've been fast here all weekend so hoping for a smooth weekend next weekend for a better result?
VB: Yeah, exactly. No penalties, a good quali, and then we go.

Press Conference

Q: Max, that looked like the perfect race from you and Red Bull. You must be thrilled by the manner in which you took this victory?
MV: It was of course important to have a good start and I think that first stint was all about managing the tyres a bit and I could see the pace was quite strong while looking after tyres. It has been sometimes a bit different in previous races, so I think we worked quite hard to try to make that better and I think today that was very good. And then as soon as we stopped to go on the hard, honestly that was a really enjoyable stint just to drive. Of course we had to go through a bit of traffic, with like 12 cars in a row, but once we cleared them I could just keep my pace quite consistent to the end and the car was super nice to drive. You know, it's not always the case like that but today I was really enjoying it.

Q: Would you say this was your most dominant victory of the season so far?
MV: Well, clearly with the gap, yes. But also just the balance of the car was the best of the season?

Q: And Max just a word on a radio message that came two thirds of the way through about your brake pedal. Was there an issue at Turn 9?
MV: Yeah, it quickly just feel a bit to the floor in between 9 and 10 while braking and then it would come back after Turn 10. So we'll look into that. It happened two times I think.

Q: Any reason to think that you can't repeat this next weekend?
MV: I don't know, but of course people will analyse everything now after the race so for sure I think next weekend it will be a bit closer naturally, as you have a bit more understanding of what has been going on. Of course we are using softer compounds so that will be interesting to see, how to manage that and of course we have to wait and see with the weather as well, what's going to happen. Clearly we had a good car this weekend and of course I hope that we will continue this form into next week.

Q: Lewis, coming to you. A great race by you as well. How was the performance of your car? Do you feel that it was closer to the pace of the Red Bull in race trim?
LH: No! (Laughs.) No, they were way too fast today for us. I think, yeah, I knew that we were going to be somewhat behind, I think, in single-lap pace and then, as I said, there was around a quarter of a second difference lap pace on the long runs. We gave everything we could today but they've obviously made some really good steps forward over these last few races, straight-line speed has picked up a lot. We don't know whether that's wing, as Max was saying, or whether it's engine but either way they were too fast today and Max did a great job!

Q: How difficult was your race? Any handling dramas in particular?
LH: The cars on the limit, you know, so just flat out the whole way really. Of course, then it you apply some management then you're even further off. I think Max was able to manage ahead and still be pulling away. Really strong pace from them today. There's not really a lot we can probably do over the next four days but we'll work as hard as we can so see if we can squeeze any more juice out of this car.

Q: You say there's not much you can do over the next four days - but you told Mark Webber earlier than the car could do with an upgrade. Is there one particular area of performance where you feel you're lacking to Red Bull?
LH: Straight-line speed. Whether that's power or wing, it feels draggy but it also feels not that strong on the straights. It could be one or the other or both together.

Q: Valtteri, great recovery drive from fifth on the grid. Just how much pressure were you feeling at the end from Sergio Perez?
VB: It was actually quite a short time because I was pretty clear of him until the last lap. I could see him in the mirrors and starting the last lap he was 1.5s but at the end of the lap he was like half-a-second so yeah, but you can't really overtake here in Sector 2 and Sector 3, so once I got clear of Sector 1 without any mistakes, with the poor tyres I had, I kind of knew that I should get it. I think as a team we did a good job to get ahead of him. They had a slow pit stop, I think, and we were quite reactive, stopping at that point even though we were not planning on stopping that early. So, that was good. At least we've had some points out of them.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Spielberg, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 28/06/2021 12:39

"@ Superbird70...thanks for your comment. Look at P2 and the question from Scott Mitchell which starts, 'on straight line speed diff...'. Hamilton states that Red Bull are 'running that wing that bends....' One other site has him stating that 'Red Bull are running their bendy wing...' as well. Whilst we're on that 'straight line speed' issue, the FIA official state that speed trap figures are as follows, Speed trap Hamilton 311kph, Verstappen309kph !!!!

Start line Hamilton281kph, Verstappen286kph with Red Bull 5kph plus. Sector 1, Hamilton 315kph and Verstappen 318kph Red Bull plus 3kph and sector two Hamilton 244kph and Verstappen 238kph, Mercedes plus 6kph. These figures show that the straight line numbers offered by Mercedes/Hamilton are fuzzy and in some cases totally untrue. Make of that what you will...."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Superbird70, 28/06/2021 3:19

"@kenji I don't think it was a bendy wing comment but more of them running less wing and having less drag. None the less, the excuses are starting to flow as quickly as Red Bull from a vending machine."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by kenji, 28/06/2021 1:58

"An interesting race of many parts. What is blatantly obvious is that Mercedes are relying for the lack of results by 'dissing' on RB rather that accept that they have been outpaced, outdriven and outwitted in all areas as of the race. Will it continue? Possibly, but things have a way of turning so until the points reflect more than a win as a basic difference anything can happen. Verstappen only needs to have one DNF and the balance will change dramatically. Hopefully that won't occur...Hamilton needs to be called out for his repetitious statement about 'bendy wings' as surely the new tests have dispelled that theory. Maybe their front wing is not doing the clandestine business it was designed for! Just as a sidebar...has anyone noticed that after some sessions and races Hamilton now does a fully helmeted walkaround his car appearing to look for some 'car 'reason why he was beaten? Another point was his claim that RB have superior straight line speed? Saturdays speed trap numbers showed that RB were 1.5 kph faster!!! That's hardly mind blowing. If there are different numbers around, I certainly haven't seen them. I would also like to add what a refreshing period we are going through, watching the slow degradation of the 'smug invincibles' after seven years of.....

As for the race well we saw some good results in some areas. Rewatching Ricciardo's first laps was thrilling and he drove like a demon only to be stripped of all that hard work by an 'engine problem'. McLaren did say sorry for that, but it was too late. Just when you thought it was going to turnaround!!! Ferrari did very well to recover and put in some really strong performances. Hoping that next week will be another good race.

"

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