Today's post-race press conference with Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
Track Interviews - Conducted by David Coulthard
Max Verstappen, not the result you would have wanted, but a nice little battle with Charles, Talk us through your race and put us in the cockpit, because you never seemed that comfortable with the balance on heavy fuel.
Max Verstappen: Yeah, it was a tricky day. It really seemed like we were struggling quite a bit with the tyres and basically that continued on every single compound. So yeah, too much degradation to really attack Charles, especially. But nevertheless, still, second place is a good result for us on a difficult day.
Now you've had amazing home support here... The orange, that sea of smoke on the first lap was pretty impressive. Not too distracting?
MV: No, it was nice. I mean, it's a great colour anyways, so I don't mind driving through it. But you know, it's great to see so many fans coming here to Austria. Of course, unfortunately I couldn't give them a win today but I think second is still a decent result.
Very respectful racing between you and Charles, just standing here to your left. The battle will continue all season.
MV: Of course, like it has been already the whole year. So I think that's great to see.
So our race winner, welcome back, Charles Leclerc. You had to fight for that one. That was a real racing victory and some fantastic wheel-to-wheel action with Max Verstappen.
Charles Leclerc: Yeah, it was a really good race. I mean, the pace was there at the beginning and we had some good fights with Max and the end was incredibly difficult. I had this problem with the throttle, and it would get stuck at 20 or 30% throttle in the low speed. So it was very tricky. But we managed to make it stick until the end. And I'm so happy.
Now. It was a fantastic race, a fantastic victory, so congratulations for that. We saw your team-mate had some reliability issues. Was that in your mind when you started to experience those throttle issues towards the end?
CL: Yeah, weirdly, it was more or less at the same time. So of course, I had it in my mind. I knew it was not a problem with the engine, because it was really the pedal that was feeling weird. First at pick up and then at the end it would not come back to zero. But yeah, luckily it went until the end of the race.
You needed this one. Do you feel this will now put you back on track for this championship battle?
CL: I definitely needed that one. I mean, the last five races have been incredibly difficult for myself, but also for the team, obviously. And to finally show that we've got the pace in the car and that we can do it is incredible. So yeah, we need to push until the end.
Well, that was a great Grand Prix, congratulations on the victory. And moving on to Mr Consistent for another podium result. Lewis, maybe not as close as you were a week ago at Silverstone, but that was still an important result today.
Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, no, thank you so much. And what an incredible crowd we've had here this weekend. Definitely wasn't expecting that, but of course, yesterday was a bit of a difficult day. It's been a bit of a rough weekend. But I'm really grateful. As a team, we got a third and fourth. That's great points. And we move forward from here.
Well, you say a rough weekend. You saw you were in amongst the action at the start there but you were able to pick your way through and find your strategy. So does this get some light at the end of the tunnel? You got a couple of weeks off now before the French Grand Prix.
LH: Well, firstly, I do really want to say a big thank you to the guys, the men and women in the garage, who worked so hard to rebuild the car. I had a brand new car on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, something I don't do too often, but so thankful to them for working so hard and we made some improvements this weekend, so we just have to keep chipping away.
Charles, very well done. It's been a while since you last stood on the top step How much did you need this win?
CL: I definitely needed it. I mean, of course whenever I get to a new race since five races I have a smile on my face and I kept being optimistic, but obviously hard race after hard race, it just felt like everything was against me. So, finally we had a breakthrough good race today and it really feels good to have a win again.
A good race today, but it sounded a little stressful in those closing laps. So when you had that throttle problem, how difficult was that to manage? And what were you having to do inside the cockpit?
CL: Oh, not only a little bit stressful, very stressful! The throttle was really inconsistent and in the middle of the corner it would get stuck to whatever percentage, so in Turn 3 it was very, very tricky because that's where you don't want any more speed in mid-corner, so yeah, it was quite tricky to manage not so much in the high speed but mostly in the slow speed but at the end we managed to get the car to the end, which is great.
And the pace of the car seems stronger today than in the sprint yesterday. Can you explain that for us?
CL: Not completely. We've been working quite a lot on my driving yesterday night and I knew that I had a bit more pace on the medium. But yeah, it was a surprise to do that much of a step forward. So we will have to analyse well to understand that.
Max coming to you, very well done as well. A good amount of points on what looked like a more difficult day in the office than yesterday?
MV: Yeah, it was a bit more difficult than I expected it to be. Basically on any tyre I was just struggling a lot for pace after a few laps, just a lot of deg. It's something I cannot really explain right now, why it was so high. Because I think normally we are quite okay on the tyres. And I expected it to be tough today, but I didn't expect it to be like this. So it's just something we need to analyse and understand why this happened today. But even on a bad day, let's say an off day, to only lose five points over the whole weekend is I think still good.
Was the deg bad across all of the stints or was it a specific one?
MV: All of it.
Now the relative pace of your cars, and I mean Red Bull and Ferrari, continues to ebb and flow. Were you surprised by the pace of Ferrari today?
MV: I expected them to be strong. I just didn't expect them to be this good. And I think we were just a bit down on what we expected today.
Alright, thank you and Lewis coming to you, great job by you. Your third consecutive podium finish, your fourth of the season. Given your starting position today, how satisfying was this race for you?
LH: Massively satisfying. So happy to... I was a bit lonely once I got... These guys were like 30-something seconds ahead of me. So I was just watching their race on the TV, So, down the straights I was just watching where they were. I could see them coming through like Turn 6 as I was coming out Turn 1. So I was getting a bit of a fan view of what was happening. I saw some of the overtakes they were having. I think they did replays and stuff. But after such a difficult weekend, you know, with the crash, with a monumental effort from the team to rebuild the car this is a really great result. So I'm very grateful.
Now, you had arguably the fastest car at Silverstone last weekend. How competitive was the W13 here?
LH: I would argue that we've not yet been in a position where we've been the fastest car. These guys still have had the edge. I think we've sometimes been able to match their times. But, yeah, to the point where we're actually ahead of them, we're not quite there yet. So we've just got to keep... I think we've made some improvements this weekend to the car once again, but for some reason at this track it just wasn't the same, as they were a little bit further ahead, particularly in race pace. Hoping that when we go to these next tracks it's a little bit more favourable to us, a bit more like Silverstone. If that's the case I would really love to be in the battle that they're having at the front.
Questions From The Floor
(Matt Kew - Autosport) Question for Charles, you just said that about working on your driving overnight. Could you go into a bit of detail on that? Were you just looking at the data and throttle, steering... was were you looking at? What were you changing?
CL: Yeah, I don't think it makes sense to go so much into the details but yeah, just the driving. I think there was two, three corners where I was struggling yesterday, which was especially Turn One and Three and Ten. And I've been working on these three overnights and today was much better.
(Peter Vamosi - Racingline.hu) Question is to Lewis and Charles. How troublesome is the orange haze in reality. Because Max says it's okay.
CL: The formation lap was quite a lot but yeah, but nothing too bad. I mean, you could still see so it was fine.
LH: I would say the same. Just on the formation lap, you couldn't see the apex of Turn 7, and at the end of the race, you couldn't see anything through Turn 6! So fortunately, it wasn't necessarily the case during the race but maybe they should just save them more so for the end? Yeah. I can't believe they're already good environmentally either. So...
MV: I saw one flare, like they threw it onto the track or into the grass. I think that's the only thing they shouldn't do - but as long as you keep it on the grandstand. I mean, the wind blows it over the track for like one lap, so it doesn't arrive within the track, I think it's OK.
Check out our Sunday gallery from Spielberg here.