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Austrian GP: Post Race press conference


Track Interviews - Conducted by David Coulthard

Max Verstappen, your fifth victory here in Austria. That was a dominant weekend, congratulations.
Max Verstappen: Yeah, thank you very much. I think most important for me, of course, was lap one, to stay in front, and after that we could do our own race. Of course, we opted not to box during the Virtual Safety Car and just to follow our normal strategy. And I think that worked out really well, because the tyre life was not that high around here. And I think out stints were perfect. So yeah, great day, I enjoyed it a lot.

Did you have any doubts when the team chose not to pit during that Virtual Safety Car how it was going to play out? Because going into this race, you had very little knowledge on the tyre degradation and how many stops you would need to do.
MV: Yeah, I mean, I could see already in the few laps before the Virtual Safety Car came out that we were pulling out quite a gap. So I knew that I would get them back eventually. And I think just following our own plan, I think, at the time, was the best way forward.

You extend your lead at the head of the World Championship. Do you take your race by race? Or can you start to dream of a hat-trick of titles?
MV: I don't like to think about that. I'm just enjoying the moment driving this car, working with the team. I think the whole weekend we have done a really good job. You know, a Sprint weekend is always very, very hectic and a lot of things can go wrong. And luckily, a lot of things went right for us this weekend. So I'm just very happy with this weekend and we'll focus again on Silverstone.

A sea of orange in most of the grandstands. Maybe a small message to the race fans?
MV: I mean, it's an incredible support every time we come here and to see all the orange in the grandstands, the flares as well at the end, incredible atmosphere. So thank you very much for coming.

Max. Congratulations Charles Leclerc, tough weekend in many ways, but you must be happy. The overall competitiveness of the car is looking stronger.
Charles Leclerc: Yeah, well, I think, Friday and today we have maximised what we have really. It's more yesterday that I was off the pace. But it's good to be back on the podium. The upgrades that we brought to the car made me feel a little bit better in those conditions, which is looking good for the future. The team has done an excellent job by bringing these upgrades earlier. So that's great. But obviously, there's still a lot of work to do because Max, and Checo too, had a lot of pace.

We saw a super aggressive first lap from you, up into Turn 3, down into Turn 4. You were really looking to try and find a way past Max.
CL: Yeah, we are struggling quite a lot in dirty air. So I was trying to get the track position. Even though we knew that in the long term, for the whole race, it would have been difficult to keep Max behind, with the race pace he had. But I tried and it wasn't enough. But at least it's good to be back on the podium, especially after the last few races that have been a bit more difficult.

For the Ferrari fans around the world, it was super close on Friday, in Qualifying. We move forward one week from now to the British Grand Prix. A very different race track. What can we expect from the team there?
CL: Yeah, together with Austria actually, these are my two favourite tracks that are non-city tracks and in Silverstone we always had great results. So hopefully we can take advantage of the new upgrades we have on the car and be a bit more of a challenge to the Red Bulls.

Charles, thank you and congratulations on being second. Our third place finisher and a fantastic comeback from a difficult Friday Qualifying. Checo, you must be very happy with that third place.
Sergio Perez: Yeah, I'm really happy. It's been a very difficult weekend for me personally, physically. I have been really, really weak. I was sick on Thursday. So it hasn't been an easy weekend. You know, high fevers, no sleep during the weekend. So great recovery from the team. A fantastic strategy and we had a great pace.

A great battle between yourself and Carlos Sainz in the other Ferrari. We saw him moving, defending, you trying every angle. Hard but fair?
SP: Yeah, it was very hard but fair, like you said, always a pleasure to race them. They were very, very strong, especially in the low speed. They were having very good traction. But it's a good comeback.

Overall, a double podium weekend for you, so good, solid results.
SP: Yeah, definitely. It's been a bit of a rough patch for me. So now hopefully we are back and we can keep that consistency now.

Press Conference

Max, your fifth win here at the Red Bull Ring. You also topped every qualifying session, you won the Sprint, just sum up what's been a phenomenal weekend for you?
MV: Yeah, it's been a pretty incredible weekend, of course, something I didn't expect. But with the Sprint format, normally, it's always a bit more chaotic to get on top of everything. But I think we did everything well as a team. Also today, I think with the strategy, with the pit stops, everything was smooth. And out there on the track we just had a very quick car and I felt comfortable in the car. And we could do everything we wanted, like we planned it.

Including fastest lap at the end.
MV: That wasn't planned!

How much of a risk was that?
MV: To me not, but to the team, I think they were a little bit more nervous. But I mean, I saw the gap and I was like 'we have to pit, I want to go for the fastest lap'. When you have the opportunity, you know... And that's what we did at the end.

Does the fastest lap mean more than just the one World Championship point to you?
MV: Maybe.

Some people will look at that and go: 'Gosh, he's risking a lot for one point, given that he's already in the lead'.
MV: Yeah, but I mean, from the outside maybe it looks like a big risk. But when you're in the car... For me, it didn't feel like a risk at all.

Now, you had some close on-track battles today, especially with Charles. How much did you enjoy that?
MV: Yeah, I mean, it was good but also a little bit unfair. The tyre advantage I had as well and also the general pace advantage. But yeah, I mean, of course, Charles, he knows how to race. You could see that also last year, right, around here. But we were clearly just a bit faster today.

Can you talk us through the overtake on lap 35? Because we saw some impressive race craft from you, ensuring that you stayed in the DRS on the run to Turn 4.
MV: Yeah, I mean, you know where the line is, right. But I also had a lot more grip and traction. So for me, I think... I mean, I don't know, it was not really... It is what it is. It would have been better if you had, like, similar pace, same tyres. You know, you're really fighting for it. I think the battle between Carlos and Checo was better in that sense.

You were 24 seconds ahead of your nearest pursuer prior to that last pit stop. It seems your closest pursuers aren't as close as we thought they were two weeks ago in Canada?
MV: Exactly. But I loved all the articles about it! Yeah, I mean, some weekends they work a bit better for you and some don't. And for me, Montréal wasn't that fantastic in the race, from our side. And here, I think we did a really good job and then naturally the gap is a bit bigger.

Alright, very well done. Thank you, Max. Charles, coming to you now. Great job by you as well. Your first podium since Baku. How pleased are you with how things went today?
CL: It feels good to be back on the podium, especially after what was a very difficult day yesterday. I had a really good feeling in the car on Friday. I think with the new upgrades the feeling is getting there. And we were really waiting for this race in order to confirm the good feelings we had on Friday. And it worked out. I mean, no secrets, we still need to work extremely hard to catch up Red Bull, who are still quite a lot faster on race day. But the feeling is better. And the team is pushing like I've never seen before in terms of bringing the upgrades much earlier than what was planned. And this is great to see.

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