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Austrian GP: FIA Drivers Press Conference

NEWS STORY
07/07/2022

Today's driver press conference with Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll, Alex Albon, George Russell, Carlos Sainz, Yuki Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Max Verstappen.

Group 1: Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll, Alex Albon and George Russell.

Valtteri, we will start with you. Let's throw it back to Silverstone first of all - let down by the gearbox, just how much of a missed opportunity was Sunday?
Valtteri Bottas: Definitely a missed opportunity but still the main thing is that always those kinds of crashes that happen in the first lap put things into perspective. So I was actually just really, really glad that I still had a healthy team-mate in a good spirit, ready for this race. The issues, yeah, they are not nice. And it's really troubling us. And it's not always like one issue, it's a few things here and there and different things keep happening. So that means we've not been able to score points.

Let's throw it forward to this weekend. You scored your first podium in Formula 1 here back in 2014. And you've won here twice. It appears to be a Bottas-style track. Is that fair?
VB: I don't know. I mean, I've had good results here so for sure it's good. I do like the track. It's good for racing and especially this weekend, with this new generation of cars, it's going to be interesting to see how the Sprint weekend works out. But performance-wise I'm sure we can get points with both cars on both of those days, that would be ideal.

Are you excited by the Sprint?
VB: I am because tomorrow is like immediately, straight into action. It's nice. So it's a bit more of a fast-paced weekend.

Thank you Valtteri. We'll hear more from you in a minute. Daniel coming to you now. Let's talk about the Red Bull Ring. You've spent a lot of time at this track in the past. Just share some of your best memories, both on and off the track.
Daniel Ricciardo: Off-track was probably, Max and I did, like, the caravan stuff. So towing the caravans. We ended up doing it again in Zandvoort, but I think, from memory, the first time we did it was here. I think it was like a trial run, just to make sure that we could then go to Zandvoort and execute well. And yeah, we had the whole track to ourselves here and we had a lot of fun destroying these beautifully presented caravans that we were towing. So that was certainly a really funny off-track memory. And then on-track, I really enjoyed the race here in 2017. It's probably the most jacked-up I've ever been from getting a podium. So it was nice to do that, obviously at the time with Red Bull and, you know, with all the family here. That was a good one.

Well, no doubt you're looking forward to a strong weekend this weekend. But can we just throw it back to Silverstone on Sunday? You didn't get much of a birthday present there?
DR: No. I guess because Sunday was Seb's birthday, the love was already gone and it didn't show me much. It was definitely a pretty dark race. It was very, very, very slow, a long, long way off the pace, and we're still trying to get to the bottom of it, to be honest. We're still trying to figure it out. So in a way I like having a back-to-back so we can, let's say, try to strike back. But obviously it doesn't give us a whole lot of time to diagnose what happened on the weekend. So we're still working at it. But knowing that we get straight in tomorrow, as Valtteri said, with the Sprint format, I do like that. There's less nonsense going in and hopefully the car is obviously in a better place and we can have a good weekend.

But Daniel, can you explain from a driving point of view what you were feeling or, or not feeling on?
DR: I mean, honestly, the most simple way is like a lack of grip. It wasn't like, 'Oh, I'm not really feeling like I can hang on to the car here or I'm worried that I'm just going to spin or do something' it was just I simply didn't feel I had the same grip as every car around me. So I was just operating at a different level from that point of view. And it was cumulative, like over the course of around the lap. It wasn't just one corner where we were really bad and the rest were OK. It was just, as I said, kind of felt like a lack of grip everywhere. So, certainly a puzzling race and obviously a frustrating one. And there are certainly opportunities ahead, but we'll come back and yeah, maybe it's a good thing not having too long to dwell on it. We're back on track now.

Best of luck this weekend. Thank you, Daniel, we'll hear more from you later. Lance, coming to you now. Great comeback at Silverstone on Sunday to 11th place. In the dry, do you feel that you've got a fast car underneath you?
Lance Stroll: We had a tough Saturday, so I definitely think we had better pace on Sunday. But there was a lot that happened in the race, so I think some of the circumstances kind of played into our hands and helped us come back on Sunday. But ultimately, I think we're just still lacking some pace and not as quick as we want to be. But this weekend's a new weekend, so we will see how we go.

Lance, certainly quicker in the dry relative to the opposition than you are in the wet. Has it been the same issue in the wet at both of the last two races?
LS: No, it hasn't been the same issue. I think we have our reasons why we weren't competitive. Last weekend in the wet I don't think we really put it all together on Saturday. But I think we have some tracks where we're more competitive than others. Silverstone just generally wasn't our most competitive track compared to for example Canada the weekend before that. So I think we have some ideas why we weren't as competitive as I think we should have been in the wet on Saturday. And, you know, if we had to do it again I think we could do it better.

OK, well, best of luck this weekend. Thank you, Lance. Alex, coming to you now. First up, how are you feeling?
Alex Albon: Yeah, I feel fine, thank you. A little bit sore on Monday, and then each day so far has just been getting better and better. So I'm sure by tomorrow, I will be back to 100%. But yeah, there was a little bit of time spent in hospital and all that kind of thing, but, yeah, all OK.

What are your recollections of the crash itself?
AA: Not much to be honest. It all happened very quickly and obviously I was hitting the wall and then at that point it was kind of like a pinball reaction and just going wherever the cars were hitting. But you know, it was just one of those things. Fortunately, Zhou was okay. He had the bigger crash and he seemed to walk out shortly after, so there wasn't really much to it, it was a bit of a blur. But yeah, thankfully everyone's OK.

What about the car? The damage looked substantial. Are you going to be running the updates that you were using at Silverstone here in Austria this weekend?
AA: Yeah, I'd say actually maybe even more of an update. We've kind of got everything ready now. I think in Silverstone we had maybe 80% of the update and this weekend, we have all of it. So it's positive. The guys obviously did a great job to get it all repaired. Most probably the crash looked in some ways worse than it was. I was quite fortunate to hit the wall at least head on and avoid all the fancy parts on the sides. And then once obviously... The other crashes were damaging, but with less force, so it was actually salvageable in some areas. So it's good because at Silverstone we didn't actually get much dry running. Obviously, in the race we did about 100 metres, so you don't get much data from that. And coming into this weekend, we'll probably be able to look at what it's able to do and build from it.

Alex, great to see you looking so well. Best of luck this weekend. George, coming to you now. An emotional Sunday for you at Silverstone. In terms of being unable to take the restart, can you just tell us about the conversations with Toto and the team afterwards? Did they understand why you jumped out?
George Russell: Yeah, absolutely. I think there was no... I think it was just a natural reaction. And for me to do that, obviously, the race was red-flagged and seeing such a horrific incident... I thought at the time as well my car was probably game over. And as it turned out, it wasn't. So I think that just added to the emotions, the frustrations, because we definitely could have got going again and probably could have scored a strong result.

Well, talk to us about the pace of the W13? How excited are you? Do you think this is a car that you can now win in?
GR: I don't think we want to get too carried away, because I think Silverstone is a very unique circuit in the sense of the speeds you're going through all of those corners, and we clearly have a lot of downforce and good potential at a circuit like Silverstone. We're going to another circuit here that's, I'd say, more medium-speed as opposed to high-speed. We need to keep on evaluating. I think Silverstone was a really good step in the right direction and we've taken some really good understanding from there. But we're sort of going to go again this weekend and see how we get on.

Questions From The Floor

(David Croft - Sky Sports F1) Question to Daniel, first of all. To try and end this run, on the track that everyone wants to see you end, how much is down to the team providing upgrades and a better car and how much is down to you and what you can do out on the circuit as well?
DR: It means both. It's obviously a team sport and, yes, there's a lot of focus on us as the drivers and controlling the vehicle, but no, I don't think any driver has ever won a race 100% off his own back or done anything like that. It definitely is collaborative. I felt like the last few weekends were I would say better and everything was kind of looking like it was in a much better direction. And we were kind of getting some, like a little bit of consistency and then you throw Silverstone in there and it was like 'OK, what the hell has happened?'. There are still a lot of things that are confusing. And it's not two, three tenths off and you could say the set-up wasn't there, or maybe that, but when you're talking like margins that they are sometimes... Obviously, I've driven cars long enough to know that it's not like 'ah, I'm just lifting a little bit too much in that corner, or this or that'. It's just important that we obviously stay kind of committed to it now and obviously try to figure it out. So, we are. It could happen any weekend. Obviously I'd love sooner rather than later. But in terms of me feeling like... If everything's sweet and we're dialled in, then I 100% have faith that I can do it. So I'm kind of just waiting and hoping that it's going to be right. Obviously I'm putting the work in as well. But yeah, it could happen this weekend, it could not, but I'm not looking too far ahead at what Sunday might look like, but I'll hop in the car again tomorrow, and obviously Silverstone after today, after we kind of finish everything that we got to do and put it behind us and get in the car tomorrow with a nice mindset and try to have some fun and yeah, go hard. Thanks, I appreciate your commitment to the game, commitment to the support.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Spielberg here.

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