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Team Quotes - Sunday 27 September

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27/09/2020

VTB Russian Grand Prix

Team Quotes - Sunday 27 September

Mercedes

Valtteri secured his ninth victory in Formula One - his second of the 2020 F1 season and second at the Russian Grand Prix. Lewis recovered from receiving two five-second time penalties for a practice start violation, which he served at his pit stop, to complete the podium finishers in third.

Today's result marked Lewis's 150th Grand Prix start for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. Valtteri scored the fastest lap for the 15th time in his F1 career.

Lewis (205 points) leads the Drivers' Championship by 44 points from Valtteri (161 points). The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (366 points) leads Red Bull Racing (192 points) by 174 points in the Constructors' Championship.

Dom Riefstahl, Race Support Team Leader and Test Engineer, accepted the Constructors' trophy on behalf of the team.

Toto Wolff: We've held onto our 100% winning record in Sochi and a one-three finish is a great result for the team, so we're very satisfied. On Valtteri's side, the win was long overdue and he drove a brilliant race. There were no mistakes, he managed the tyres well and controlled it to the very end, cruising across the finish line. On Lewis's side, it was a frustrating race. There is some room for interpretation with the practice start rules, so clearly, we need to analyse why we made the mistake and take the penalties on the chin. Like always, we win and lose together, never pointing the finger but instead trying to investigate what we can do better and how to improve. Clearly, we've had two incidents, here and in Monza, where we have made mistakes, and learning from these will only make us stronger in the long run. Nevertheless, we increased our Championship advantage with a strong result and now look ahead to the Nurburgring.

Andrew Shovlin: Valtteri did an excellent job today and it was very nice to see him on the top step of the podium again. He had a good weekend overall and drove a strong race to finish it with a win. Lewis had a more difficult weekend. The issues already started yesterday when he had his first time in Q2 deleted and the session was red flagged when he was at the end of his second Q2 run. It ultimately meant that he had to qualify on the Soft tyre which put him on the wrong foot for the race. The challenge with that compound is they keep fairly consistent grip levels until you get down to the underlayer of the tyre - and then you suddenly lose a lot of grip. When we pitted Lewis there was very little rubber left on the rear left tyre and while it might have been able to do another lap or two, you just risk suddenly losing grip which would bring other people into your pit window. Lewis served his penalty when he pitted and after that it was all about trying to secure the maximum result. It was a difficult day for Lewis, but he still came away with reasonable points and still holds a commanding position in the Championship. We're now looking forward to going back to the Nurburgring in two weeks; there are a number of things we could have done better in Sochi this weekend and we'll try and put them right at the Eifel GP.

Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari leaves Sochi with a sixth place courtesy of Charles Leclerc and a 13th with Sebastian Vettel, after a relatively straightforward race, apart from two incidents on the opening lap that brought out the Safety Car.

Starting from tenth, Charles soon found himself eighth, after Carlos Sainz hit the barriers at turn 2 and Lance Stroll spun after a collision with the Monegasque. From then on, he did a perfect job of managing the tyres, which was the key to his race. Leclerc was actually the third from last driver to make his stop on lap 29, going from Medium to Hard. Charles ran at a consistent pace and made no mistakes, thus making up two more places, getting ahead of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, to finish sixth behind Daniel Ricciardo.

At the start, Vettel, who was taking part today in his 250th race in Formula 1, maintained 14th place and spent the entire race outside the points. He pitted on lap 31 to change tyres and in the closing stages, made a few passing moves, but still could not break in to the top ten.

The World Championship resumes in a fortnight's time in Germany with the Eifel Grand Prix on 11 October, the Nurburgring thus returning to the calendar for the first time since 2013 when the winner was Sebastian Vettel.

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal: "To sum up the weekend, it was a step forward, at least compared to recent races, both in terms of the result and our performance level. Charles produced a solid drive to sixth, getting the most out of the package. He was aggressive after the start and then drove a very mature race for someone who is not yet 23.

"Sebastian was unable to get into the points, stuck in traffic in the key moments after the start. We brought a few small aero updates to Sochi: nothing radical in terms of performance but a step in the right direction for the development of the car. In a season when the gaps in the mid-field are very close, it doesn't take much to move up the order. We must continue moving forward like this, starting with the next round in a fortnight at the Nurburgring.

Red Bull

Christian Horner: "Second place is a fantastic result for Max today and once again he extracted everything he could out of the car with a quality drive. Second was the optimum we could have hoped for and Lewis' penalty did help us out. It was a tough afternoon for Alex who started in 15th place following a grid penalty for a gearbox change. He lost ground on the opening lap but with the Safety Car we effectively had a free stop, only conceding one place as we changed Alex from the soft tyre to the hard which he was more comfortable on. He was then able to make progress through the field with some great overtaking moves. The Team once again made some fantastic pit stops and in six years of coming to Sochi this is our best result, with yesterday's front row start and today's second place so it is great to leave with a trophy."

McLaren

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: "It's a very disappointing Sunday afternoon for us, coming away from Russia with zero points. Our race was pretty much over after two corners, with Carlos running into the barriers and then Lando having to take avoiding action, finishing up at the back of the field. We boxed Lando onto the Hard tyres at the end of the first lap, trying to go to the end of the race, which was still a sensible choice given the long life of that compound. Lando gave it his all, but without another Safety Car to mix things up, there wasn't really anything he could do.

"The team - here at the track and back home - put in a lot of hard work, so it's a tough one to take, especially with the great atmosphere in Sochi with fans finally back in the grandstands. We have to go away and reset, further understand the weaknesses of the car, work on updates and come back stronger two weeks from now at the Nurburgring."

Renault

Renault DP World F1 Team scored 16 points from the VTB Russian Grand Prix with Daniel Ricciardo fifth and Esteban Ocon seventh at the Sochi Autodrom.

The points haul means the team moves onto 99 points - more than its entire total from 2019 - to remain fifth in the Constructors' Championship.

An action-packed race start saw Esteban progress from seventh on the grid to fourth by the end of lap one with Daniel remaining fifth, despite running as high as third place for two corners after an electric getaway off the line. Esteban passed Daniel at Turn 7 on the opening lap.

Daniel fell back to sixth on lap 15 with his Soft tyres starting to lose rear grip and he pitted a lap later for Hards. Esteban pitted on lap 18 for Hard tyres but lost a position when Sergio Perez ran longer on the overcut strategy. With those on the reverse strategy a threat, Esteban let Daniel by on lap 26 to make further inroads and cover those behind. After running wide at Turn 2 during the move, Daniel was given a 5-second time penalty.

From there, Daniel extended the advantage to sixth place to ensure the time penalty did not drop him down the order with Esteban defending brilliantly from a fast-charging Daniil Kvyat on home turf to hang on for seventh.

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal: "The weekend has delivered a strong team result with 16 points added to the Constructors' Championship. We felt since Friday morning that we could achieve that sort of position and it's good to have done that. Obviously, you always want more, but the four cars that finished ahead of Daniel deserved to be where they are. We knew we would be under the threat of the cars starting outside the top ten and that's exactly what happened with Leclerc and Kvyat. But Daniel was really impressive in building the required gap to Leclerc to absorb the five-second penalty from going deep into Turn 2 when we swapped the cars to mitigate the time lost behind Vettel. Esteban, on his side, struggled a bit more with grip at times during the race, but was remarkable in defending from Kvyat for more than 20 laps and contributed to the overall team achievement. We leave Sochi with 99 points after 10 races, which is more than what we scored last year over a 21-race season, which is a clear demonstration of the team's progression, year on year. It's also closer than ever to the two teams ahead and it's going to be a very exciting fight with both of them to the end of the season."

AlphaTauri

Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer): "Starting from P9 and P11 and finishing P8 and P9 is positive as we were able to progress in the race, however, we felt that our car pace was capable of more. Pre-race we predicted starting inside the top 10 on the Option compound would be a disadvantage, and we saw that for Pierre. He had to stop earlier than Daniil and he re-joined the race in traffic - at that time the tyres were good, but suddenly they hit a cliff. In hindsight, maybe stopping him a couple of laps earlier may have been an advantage, but in any case, I don't think it would have changed the end result.

"Then it was a case for Pierre to fight through traffic and bring the car home. Near the end of the race there was a Virtual Safety Car, and at the time it was effectively a free stop for fresh tyres, but the VSC ended much quicker than expected so we didn't make life easy for him, but he did a good job regaining those two positions.

"As for Daniil, the car showed fantastic pace, particularly on the first stint in free air where he was very quick. After we pitted him, he came out behind Ocon, but unfortunately, he was quicker in the last sector and we weren't able to get close enough to pass. It's good to get both cars in the points, although overall, we have the feeling we might have been able to achieve more.

"We've lost two points to P6 in the Championship and obviously, that's the next target for us, so we will regroup and do everything we can to come back stronger in the next race."

Franz Tost (Team Principal): "It was really nice to see that the grandstands were quite full here in Russia, so congratulations to the organizers as it's pleasant to be racing in front of many F1 supporters. Our race was moderate because I think we could have achieved more today. At the start, Pierre had good pace and was in P7 for quite a long time, but then we pitted him a bit late which put him in traffic and at the end, he was only able to finish in ninth position. Daniil had a good start on the Base compound, which was a really good strategic decision. We brought him in for his pit stop on lap 31, but unfortunately, he wasn't able to make an overtake on Ocon toward the end of the race and finished P8. We will now focus on the German GP, hoping to take further steps forward."

Force India

Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal: "A perfectly executed race by Sergio and the team to convert fourth place on the grid into a race result. Despite dropping back behind the Renaults at the start, he battled back with a combination of overtakes and strategy to score 12 important points. A very strong weekend from start to finish. But it was a bittersweet race with Lance being taken out of the race on lap one - through no fault of his own - when Leclerc hit his right rear tyre. That spun Lance around and into the wall. It's a massive shame because he had made a superb start and was already up in P7 right behind Checo. Given the pace of the car, it's frustrating that Lance couldn't score the points he deserved today."

Alfa Romeo

They fought. From start to finish, Antonio and Kimi produced a combative performance, squeezing the most they could from their C39s. It was a valiant race for both, and the final result doesn't tell the full story of a Sunday spent recovering from yesterday's problems.

We have made good, visible progress: fighting in the midfield, within or just at the edge of the top ten, is now where we expect to be. We are fighting different rivals, holding our own against cars we wouldn't have fought with two months ago.

Nothing in Formula One stands still, and our work need to continue to build on these improvements, to gain that little edge that means points are added to our tally on a regular basis. But we're getting there.

Today's race, started from the back after a difficult Saturday, showed two drivers at ease with their cars, able to push and bring the fight to their rivals for the positions that matter. We may leave Sochi without having added to our points totals; an equally important gain, however, is the one in our confidence.

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: "We had good speed today and both cars made considerable progress from our grid positions, so we can say that we got as much as we could out of today's race. Yesterday's difficult qualifying, where we didn't get everything our speed would have warranted, always meant we would have our work cut out today, but to make up ground and leave behind several of our rivals shows we have found the performance we lacked earlier in the season. We need to keep moving in this direction to continue closing the gap within the midfield and keep fighting for top ten finishes."

Haas

Haas F1 Team completed the 2020 Russian Grand Prix with Kevin Magnussen 12th, and Romain Grosjean 17th, at the Sochi Autodrom on Sunday.

Magnussen took up 18th place on the grid on Pirelli's P Zero Yellow medium tires and made a sensational start to surge up the order on a chaotic opening lap. He gained a whopping nine positions to take ninth spot and rose as high as sixth as he extended his opening stint. Magnussen came in on lap 20 of 53 to equip his VF-20 with hard tires and re-emerged in 14th position. He battled with drivers on off-set strategies while simultaneously preserving his rubber for the remaining 33 laps, which ran in green conditions, to classify in 12th position.

Grosjean started the race from 16th, also on medium tires, and followed Magnussen through to make strides across the opening sequence of corners. Grosjean held 10th spot and came in on lap 18 for a set of the hard rubber - emerging 15th. After running off at turn two he pitted for a second time on lap 44 for another set of medium tires, eventually taking the checkered in 17th place.

Haas F1 Team maintains ninth in the Constructors' Championship with one point.

Guenther Steiner: "It was a quite stressful afternoon. We started off after the restart in good positions, we tried to stay there, and for a while we achieved it. Obviously, we had some issues, because the car didn't get any quicker overnight, but the guys kept up for a while pretty well. The troubles started when the virtual safety car came out. Kevin (Magnussen) lost quite a bit of time under there - he was then attacked by Giovinazzi, and Giovinazzi was successful. Romain (Grosjean) was not happy with his car, but I think that was broadcasted very well, so I don't need to say more on that one."

WilliamsF1

Nicholas Latifi finished 16th and George Russell 18th in the Russian Grand Prix. George started the race 13th, with Nicholas lining up 20th, both on the medium compound tyre.

Nicholas made his only stop on lap 17, for the hard Pirelli tyre. George made three stops, pitting first under the Safety Car for the hard compound and then once again on lap 14 for the medium. His final stop was on lap 50 for the soft Pirelli tyre.

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: Following a successful day yesterday, today has been disappointing, including a pre-race gearbox change for Nicholas. At the race start, both drivers had decent launches, although George then lost out in the opening corners. Following the early safety car both struggled with the tyres and George in particular found it difficult to find a rhythm. We opted to pit George early and see if we could take the Prime to the end, but a flat-spot later in the stint meant another stop. In free air Nicholas had decent pace and was able to hold-off Grosjean at the end of the race.

We had a tougher day today than we expected, but we can learn from what happened with the tyres and do a better job next time. The Nurburgring will offer quite a different prospect to Sochi and we look forward to returning to a track that we haven't been to for some time.

Honda

Max picked up another top-two finish as both Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri can celebrate double-points finishes in the Russian Grand Prix.

For the first time since last year's Monaco GP, all Honda-powered cars finished in the points and Max's second place means that Honda has now finished on the podium 20 times in the current hybrid-powered era.

After a stunning qualifying performance, Max was slightly slow away on the dirty side of the grid and dropped to fourth on the opening lap but regained third before an early Safety Car period interrupted matters. The Safety Car was required after Carlos Sainz crashed at Turn 2, and Alex - who had to start from 15th due to a gearbox penalty - was shuffled to the back of the field as a result, opting to pit for hard tyres after starting on softs. Pierre made good progress at the start while Daniil started on hards and was able to run long in the first stint. After Pierre pitted for hards on lap 18 and Max on lap 25, Daniil was running third on the road before Max overtook him two laps after his pit stop, with the Russian extending his first stint to lap 30 before switching to mediums.

Max rose to second place behind Valtteri Bottas as Lewis Hamilton had a ten-second time penalty and was well adrift in third, meaning the Dutchman had a comfortable run to the flag and scored Red Bull's first podium in Russia. Daniil's stop saw him emerge in eighth place ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, with Pierre struggling to pass the Finn. The difficulty in overtaking was highlighted as Daniil quickly caught Esteban Ocon but could not find a way through and had to settle for eighth place. Pierre ended up two-stopping as AlphaTauri tried to take advantage of a brief Virtual Safety Car period to switch to a new set of medium tyres with 11 laps remaining and he had to overtake Alex and Lando Norris to get back up to ninth, finishing directly behind his team-mate.

Red Bull committed to a two-stop race early and Alex made a second stop for medium tyres on lap 27 before fighting back through the field, overtaking multiple cars - including an excellent move around the outside of Antonio Giovinazzi at Turn 13 - before getting Norris late on for tenth place and the final point.

Toyoharu Tanabe, Technical Director: "It was a good day from a Honda point of view, with four cars in the points for the first time since last year's Monaco Grand Prix. That is particularly satisfying after we had experienced some reliability issues in the last couple of races. Max and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing delivered a good performance to split the Mercedes and finish second. After starting 15th due to a gearbox penalty, Alex made his two-stop strategy work to bring him a valuable point for tenth place. Scuderia AlphaTauri had a strong race, with both Daniil and Pierre getting some good overtaking moves on their way to eighth and ninth respectively. We now return to Europe and the Eifel Grand Prix in Germany in a fortnight. It will be the first time we have raced at the Nurburgring in this hybrid era, so we will be doing plenty of simulation work in preparation for it."

Pirelli

Just as he did in 2017 - his first Formula 1 victory - Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas won in Russia from third on the grid. The Finn took the lead after his team mate Lewis Hamilton served a 10-second penalty during his pit stop. Bottas on Yellow Medium stopped 10 laps later, switching to White hard tyres.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who finished second, used exactly the same strategy as Bottas, making his sole stop a lap earlier. They were the only drivers who qualified in the top 10 of the grid to start the race on the Yellow medium tyre.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who finished third, ran a soft-hard strategy, but his tactics were dictated by Q2 yesterday (when he set his best time on the soft) and having to serve his penalty during the race. He rejoined in P11 and made his way back up to the final podium.

Three drivers (McLaren's Lando Norris, Red Bull's Alex Albon, and Williams driver George Russell) took advantage of a safety car on the first lap to change onto the hard compound. Only one of them - Norris - attempted to get to the finish on this compound, but was forced to come off them in the closing stages and switch to medium, after 46 laps on the same set of hards.

Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri) finished his home grand prix in eighth, as the highest placed of just two drivers to start the race on the hard compound. The other, Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen, completed a 35-lap opening stint on this tyre.

Mario Isola: "On a hot day in Sochi, with ambient temperatures in excess of 30 degrees, we saw a variety of strategies, as a result of bringing compounds that were a step softer than last year. In the past, Sochi has been mainly a one-stop race, and this was generally the case again but with all three compounds coming into play as part of the different strategies. Managing thermal degradation was key, especially on the soft, but we also saw some particularly long stints on the hard. Congratulations to Valtteri Bottas and also to Mercedes - which keeps up its unbeaten record at the Russian Grand Prix."

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