An encouraging P3 and P4 finish for the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team in Spielberg after an action-packed Austrian Grand Prix.
- Lewis took his third podium finish in three races after a strong recovery drive from his P8 starting position.
- He made two stops, initially for Hard tyres, then converted to a two-stop strategy – but the potential upside was neutralised by the VSC that allowed the cars ahead to pit.
- George had contact on lap one with Perez, damaging his front wing and was given a five-second penalty.
- George therefore took an early stop and changed the wing, plus served his penalty, before beginning his recovery drive through the field from P19 – picking off numerous rivals on his way back to P4.
- The team now has 237 points in the constructors’ championship, with 7 podium finishes so far.
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First, I want to say a big thank you to the women and men in the garage who worked so hard to rebuild the car. I needed a brand-new car on Saturday morning, unfortunately. That’s something I don’t do often, but I’m just thankful for how hard everybody worked. It was tough in the Sprint yesterday, but today felt better. We had decent pace at different points of the race, even if I was racing a little bit in no-man’s land. It’s been a bit of a rough weekend for the team – but I’m grateful we got third and fourth today. That’s great points, and we have improved the car. Now we need to keep chipping away to get back to the front.
I started P4 and finished P4 – and probably would have taken that before the race. But I’m a little disappointed at how everything unfolded. On lap one, Checo dived down the outside at Turn Four, then took a tight line. I had Sainz ahead and had to get up on the apex kerb. I thought the penalty was harsh – for me it was a racing incident. But after that, we optimised the race well from lap two. Looking at the positives: we had a 20 second pit stop at the start – and finished around 15 seconds behind the podium; I came back through the field from P19 to P4; and we maximised as a team. Now we need to get our heads down and keep pushing.
We always seem to be in two minds at the end of the races right now. We must accept P3 and P4 today. And when you think we had two cars in pieces on Friday afternoon, that’s a strong result. But we are missing the two or three tenths to be able to race at the front. We have glimpses of light at the end of the tunnel with the car – then it disappears again, and we need to get on top of that. Today, over a race stint, we looked more competitive than yesterday. But we had two drivers needing to put in strong recovery drives, after incidents in the Sprint and in the opening laps. It was good to see Charles on the top step. He’s had a lot of bad luck, and it looks like the fight is on at the front. Now we need to work on the car to close the gap to the teams ahead, then see how we can get in the mix.
It’s been a very tough weekend in the garage but very satisfying to come away with third and fourth positions. We felt that George’s penalty for the incident with Sergio was harsh. He was up on the apex kerb and left more than enough room. We had to change the front wing after the contact, so it made for a very long stop. He had to pass through the field twice but raced superbly and maximised the opportunity. Similarly, Lewis had rather a lot to do in the first stint due to his start position. Once he was through the midfield cars he had good pace but by then the gap to Charles and Max was way too big to chase so we just focused on bringing the car home. This hasn’t been a track that has suited us in recent years. Despite lacking a little pace to Ferrari and Red Bull, we’re encouraged by the fact we’re moving in the right direction and have more to come in the next few races. We have a busy few days ahead at the factory to recover the situation on car parts, this weekend has not been great in that regard! But we’ll pull that back in time for Paul Ricard and are looking forward to a track that should suit the car.
Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team