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Team Quotes - Sunday 9 May

SEASON INFORMATION
09/05/2021

Aramco Gran Premio De Espana

Team Quotes - Sunday 9 May

Mercedes

Lewis executed a bold strategy call from the team to record his 98th victory in F1 following a brave decision to pit early for his second stop on lap 42. Valtteri's race was compromised after being boxed in at the start to find himself behind Charles Leclerc, yet the Finn completed an impressive recovery drive to clinch P3 and move up to third in the Drivers' Championship.

Today marked the 100th win from pole for the Mercedes F1 Team, becoming only the second team to do so.

Lewis' victory was his fifth consecutive at the Spanish Grand Prix; Ayrton Senna is the only other driver to record five consecutive victories at a Grand Prix - Monaco.

Lewis (94 points) leads the Drivers' Championship by 14 points from Max Verstappen (80 points) with Valtteri (47) in P3. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (141 points) lead Red Bull (112 points) by 29 points in the Constructors' Championship.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of INEOS, accepted the Constructors' trophy on behalf of the team.

Toto Wolff: I think we had a quick car, but when you lose position on the first lap it puts you on the back foot. It was difficult for Red Bull as the car in front to make the right decision on strategy, being in second it's easier if you have the gap to make the call that we did today.

When you look at qualifying, there were three cars within a tenth, you never know who's going to be in front. I hope it's going to remain like this till the end of the season - it's just what the sport needs and we're enjoying this fight.

Today was brilliant work from the team back home, it was our Head of Race Strategy, Rosie's, last race before going on maternity leave and I'm so proud. It was a bold move, and when you see the gap open up to more than 20 seconds, you think there's no way you'll catch up. We saw Max's tyres suffered more than ours, and we were able to stay close. The planner actually showed we'd catch Max with one lap to go but we got there with four!

The guys and girls in the team are doing a really good job, even on the days we lose, we learn and the mindset is right. When our car is not quick enough, we are still able to extrapolate good performances. We we never rest, never have any sense of entitlement - in two weeks it can swing in the other direction and then it will be a weekend to learn. The atmosphere was fantastic and I really need to take my hat off from the group of strategists led by James and all the group back in Brackley, they are just fantastic.

Andrew Shovlin: Congratulations to Lewis on another well-deserved win! A good day's work by the team and drivers but it felt like a lot of effort to get back to where we started. Both drivers dropped positions off the line; we didn't have a particular issue on Lewis's side, he just lost a bit in clear air and ended up on the left where you can get pushed wide. Valtteri got a bit boxed in with Lewis going into turn 3 and lost to Leclerc on the outside. We knew overtaking on-track was going to be a long shot on the same age tyres but at least we could sit close enough to Max to force him in early and with Valtteri, to go for the undercut on Charles.

Going into the race, we thought a one-stop would be much easier to complete than it turned out to be but I don't think we were alone going in with that mindset. That's largely down to the short sessions, with less time to do our homework but at least the scene was set for the alternative strategy to take the win as many cars were dropping off at the end.

Our pace has been pretty solid this weekend, although we still seem to be relatively better on the long runs than the single lap and in Monaco, it's mainly about single lap performance. That's always a challenging weekend to get right but it's a great race and we're looking forward to going back there after the gap in 2020.

Red Bull

Christian Horner, Team Principal: "It was a great start by Max and he was fully committed into Turn 1 and grabbed the opportunity to take the lead - it was full Max Verstappen spec. He positioned the car fantastically well, hit the brakes later and ran the car wide to take the race lead. Unfortunately we had a slow pit stop after a miscommunication meant Max pitted a lap earlier than we expected but fortunately quick thinking and fast reactions from the pit wall and the pit crew meant we lost minimal time and recovered incredibly well. We couldn't have done anything differently today, Lewis and Mercedes were quicker than us and able to follow Max so closely without hurting their tyres. We were able to hold track position but when the field opens up to the degree it did behind, Lewis gains a free pit stop which leaves you in the horrible position as race leader trying to brave it out to the end instead of sacrificing track position. Once Lewis caught up and got past, all we could do with Max was go for the Fastest Lap which he achieved. Checo did a good job to recover to fifth after qualifying eighth yesterday, making a bold move on Daniel around the outside of Turn 1, and banking solid points for the Team. It's full focus on Monaco now and continuing work back at the factory to find more performance and catch up to Mercedes."

McLaren

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: "The team executed a very good race today, resulting in both Daniel and Lando gaining a place on their starting positions after each raced hard from lights to flag. Given how difficult overtaking is here in Barcelona, that was pretty much everything possible for us to achieve today. We're in a very close battle in the Constructors' Championship and scored strong points on a weekend where we didn't have the upper hand.

"Thanks to the entire team, our drivers and our colleagues at Mercedes HPP for a very good job managing our first double-header of the season across the last two weeks. Big thanks particularly to the development and production teams back at the MTC who have pushed very hard in recent weeks to deliver the upgrades we had on the car this weekend."

Aston Martin

Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal: "After 66 hard-fought laps, our two drivers finished today's Spanish Grand Prix in the same positions as they had started it from: P11 for Lance and P13 for Sebastian. Yet it was an eventful afternoon for both of them. Sebastian made up a place at the start and, until the Safety Car was deployed, our two cars were running in line astern, Lance just ahead. Soon afterwards, Lance pulled off the overtaking manoeuvre of the race, a brilliant move on Fernando [Alonso], thereby moving up to 10th. However, towards the end of the race, both our drivers were passed by Pierre [Gasly], dropping them to 11th [Lance] and 13th [Sebastian], with the result that, again, frustratingly, we narrowly failed to score points."

Alpine

Alpine F1 Team's Esteban Ocon scored two points from today's Spanish Grand Prix after finishing in ninth place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with home favourite Fernando Alonso outside the points in seventeenth.

On a difficult afternoon in Barcelona, the team planned for a one-stop strategy with both cars, which ultimately proved increasingly challenging towards the latter stages of the race. Esteban managed to hold on to ninth place at the chequered flag with Fernando pitting close to the end as a result of high degradation on his Medium tyres on his second stint.

After yesterday's superb qualifying, Esteban made a clean start from fifth position, but lost two places on the opening lap. Fernando, from tenth, was locked in a wheel-to-wheel battle but held onto his place.

In between an early safety car, both drivers remained in seventh and tenth before Fernando pitted on lap 21 for Mediums and Esteban two laps later for the same compound.

With others around also pitting, it was a straight, tactical fight to the end. Esteban managed his tyres to the end, falling back to ninth, with Fernando unable to secure points at his home race after struggling on his set of tyres. He pitted on lap 61 for Softs to take him to the chequered flag in seventeenth.

The team remains fifth in the Constructors' Championship.

Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director: "After a very positive qualifying, this race result clearly was not what we were hoping for. We lost some positions at the start, two for Esteban and one for Fernando. We were pretty committed to a one-stop strategy and we tried to make it work. However, it was quite tough to get to the end on the second set of tyres, with Esteban able to salvage two points after a brave last couple of laps. Fernando ran out of tyres at the end, leaving him out of the points. We didn't have the pace to fight with Ferrari or McLaren in the race today, so that gives us an area to focus on and find further improvements. Nevertheless, we've scored two points on the teams behind us in the Constructors' Championship. Overall, though, we were hoping for more from this race."

Ferrari

Charles Leclerc fourth and Carlos Sainz seventh: this is how the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow drivers finished the fourth round of the Formula 1 World Championship, the Spanish Grand Prix. The result confirms that the team is making definite progress compared to last year, which is clear if one looks at the result of this race in 2020, when the gap to the winner was more than double today's. Qualifying had seen the Scuderia confirm its position as the third force in the field and that was translated into today's race result, in terms of pace and tyre management. Worth noting that the team's best performance on a technical level came at the most demanding of the tracks raced on so far this year.

Today was the second time Charles has finished fourth this season, but whereas in Imola that had a decidedly disappointing taste to it, as he would have easily finished second but for the race being red flagged at half distance, in Spain it was the result of his skill at the wheel, accurate tyre management, the right strategy and the team's optimisation of the SF21's potential. Charles produced an amazing first lap, which saw him move straight to third ahead of Valtteri Bottas. He stayed there until his first stop, at which point the Finn made full use of his car's speed. The Scuderia achieved its aim of being the best of the rest behind the two teams fighting for the title. In fact, Charles went one better given that he finished ahead of Sergio Perez in a Red Bull.

Carlos Sainz paid a heavy price for a less than perfect start which saw him lose a few places. The Spaniard finished behind Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo, but still produced a solid drive, passing Esteban Ocon and fighting right down to the last lap with McLaren's Australian driver, running a two stop strategy which meant he was able to run an aggressive race. Scuderia Ferrari picked up a total of 18 points, the second biggest haul after Imola and many more than its closest rivals, who are now just five points ahead in the classification.

The World Championship will resume in a fortnight's time with the next round, Charles' home race taking place on Sunday 23 May, after last year's Monaco Grand Prix was cancelled because of the pandemic.

Matia Binotto: A positive result with a good points haul that sees us close the gap to those just ahead of us. Achieving that was our main aim for the weekend and we succeeded.

Charles drove an impeccable race. He was aggressive at the start and did a very good job of looking after his tyres, something that we have worked on a lot with him. Carlos lost positions at the start and that cost him a better result, but he did not lose heart and fought back, making up quite a few places.

We head home believing that we have taken a significant step forward compared to where we were in 2020. There's still a lot of work to do to get the Scuderia back to where it should be and I was pleased to see that the whole team, both at the track and Maranello, is clearly keen to improve.

Alfa Romeo

If it sounds repetitive, it is because the sense of deja vu is real. Another Sunday, another race with almost non-existent attrition in which we went close to a top ten finish, but couldn't break into the points. Another Sunday, the fourth this season, in which we showed we can fight with all the cars in the midfield, but we are left just outside the positions that count.

Another P12 obtained with grit, determination and putting up a fight until the chequered flag, with Kimi Raikkonen making up three places in the final stages. Another race in which an unfortunate incident - a deflating tyre during a pit-stop - took out one of our cars from being deservedly in the battle for points.

We close the first four races of the season with no points on the board, but with the knowledge that, if we come knocking every race weekend, being the best placed to pick up the pieces should anything happen, the top ten results will come soon enough. Two weeks to regroup now; two weeks to make another step forward. Monaco next.

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: "Today was another race in which we proved we can fight with all the cars in our section of the midfield, but we came home with nothing to show for it. To end just outside the points in a race with just one car failing to finish shows we are in the right place to benefit from any trouble, but we know we have to still improve to make it into the top ten on pure merit. We don't lose heart, we have made a lot of progress already and we do not intend to stop now."

Haas

Uralkali Haas F1 Team drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin classified 18th and 19th respectively at the Spanish Grand Prix, Round 4 of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Schumacher took the start from 18th position on Pirelli P Zero Red soft tires and executed an excellent start to capture two positions, before settling into a rhythm. Schumacher came in on lap 23 for Yellow medium tires and extended that stint until lap 52 prior to boxing once more for the same compound. Schumacher preserved that set through to the checkered flag to maintain his 100 per cent finishing record in Formula 1.

Mazepin also utilized Red soft tires for the start, lining up 20th, and likewise undertook a two-stop strategy at the tire-limited circuit. Mazepin boxed on lap 23, exchanging his soft tires for Yellow medium tires, and then returned to the pit lane once more on lap 44. Mazepin followed Schumacher to the finish to ensure Uralkali Haas F1 Team's duo added more valuable experience in their rookie seasons.

Uralkali Haas F1 Team will return to action at the Monaco Grand Prix, to be held at the Circuit de Monaco, from May 20 to 23.

Guenther Steiner: "It was a tough race today for us. I would say the start was very good for Mick (Schumacher), and also Nikita (Mazepin), he had a good start too. But then they rightly decided not to take any risks in the first few corners and then the Williams got by. We obviously need to end races, there's no point to do anything that will damage the cars so you can't finish the race. I think our strategy was the best one for us, it's what we could get out from the race this afternoon - there was not more there for us this weekend."

WilliamsF1

George Russell finished 14th and Nicholas Latifi 16th in the Spanish Grand Prix. The Brit started 15th and the Canadian 19th, both on the soft Pirelli tyre.

George ran a two-stop race, pitting on lap 9 under the Safety Car and once again on lap 28, each time for the medium compound. Nicholas ran a three-stop strategy pitting for the medium tyres on lap 8 and 27 before finally stopping on lap 50 for a used set of the soft Pirelli tyre.

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: We enjoyed today and were able to race with some high-quality midfield cars. The opening stint was tough, but the early safety car presented an opportunity and we were able to capitalise on the slow pitstop that Giovinazzi had by pitting both of our cars. George and Nicholas both showed good pace on the Option tyres and George, as the lead car, was able to pull away and avoid a lot of the blue flags and attacking cars that subsequently pitted behind us. Nicholas pitted a third time to protect his position to Giovinazzi and the Haas cars. Meanwhile George attempted to thread a needle between managing his tyres, attacking Alonso and defending from the cars behind. In the end it was an impossible task, but we are pleased that we could race hard and that we got ourselves into a strong position. Once again, the top-10 was agonisingly close, but this only increases our appetite and motivation to push everything out of the FW43B for the rest of the season.

Pirelli

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won a strategic tyre battle in Spain, stopping twice with a soft-medium-medium run to overhaul Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who initially tried to hold him off with just one stop, from P Zero Red soft to P Zero Yellow medium.

Once Hamilton was past him, Verstappen made a second stop to take the soft tyres and claim the extra championship point for fastest lap. The soft-medium-soft strategy was used by all the finishers from second place to eighth place.

Alpine's Esteban Ocon, who finished ninth, was one of just two drivers to stop only once, going from soft to medium. The other driver was Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen, who did the opposite by going from medium to soft.

The only other drivers to adopt the same strategy as Hamilton were George Russell (Williams) and the two Haas drivers. The other Williams of Nicholas Latifi was the sole driver to stop three times.

Track temperatures were around 10 degrees cooler during the race compared to qualifying, at around 32 degrees centigrade (with 26 degrees ambient).

Mario Isola: "This was an intense strategic battle, so it's perhaps surprising that in the end the top four finished exactly as they started on the grid, despite plenty of movement and pit stops during the race. The cooler temperatures today prompted extensive use of the soft and medium tyres, which as we expected also led to nearly all the drivers making two pit stops. With most drivers moving from the soft to the medium after the start of the race, they had some flexibility on strategy. However, it soon became apparent that two stops were necessary here due to the abrasive nature and high-energy demands of this track, which makes the performance of the soft tyre as a key element to the race all the more commendable."

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