Move over Checo there’s a new tyre whisper in town. While Vettel and Ferrari blew their Supersofts on lap 26 and the Mercedes duo tried to blow the race on the last lap, Max Verstappen was busy laying claim to the title of tyre whisper on the F1 grid.
Rosberg was one of the first to move to a two stop strategy as he looked for track position to gain advantage after his grid penalties. His subsequent pace triggered both Hamilton and Raikkonen to abandon one stops as they came in on laps 21 & 22 respectively. Even Ricciardo abandoned a one stopper on lap 60 as he elected to swap to Ultras on lap 60.
Not so Max Verstappen. Pitting for Softs on lap 15 the Dutchman nursed his tyres for 56 laps in the Austrian GP, although you’d be hard pushed to tell as he took advantage of Hamilton and Rosberg’s last lap clash to nip past the German into second place.
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: 2nd, Start Position: 8th
“It’s a great feeling to get the second Formula 1 podium of my career. For sure that was a good race today, the car was performing well, as were the tyres. I managed to overtake some cars at the start and had some good battles so that was really good fun. From there on I did my own race, Kimi was catching fast but I managed to hold him off until the end. I expected P3 but got the P2, I was surprised but very happy to pick up another position in the last lap. The safety car definitely helped us today and allowed us to make the most of the pit stops. Towards the end we had to deal with the pressure but that just means you can’t make any mistakes, and we didn’t today. I hit some traffic which cooled the tyres and made it a bit tricky but we finished with no problems. We are working hard for this season and picking up podiums so it’s definitely positive looking at 2017, and looking at Silverstone next week it should be good, the car usually performs better there than here so that is another positive after a good day today.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Finish Position: 5th, Start Position: 5th
“I think for the team it was a really good day. We didn’t expect to be on the podium here in Austria. Obviously I wish I was up there with Max, but from my side the race was a bit disappointing. At the beginning we seemed to get passed before Turn 8 which is not normal, so that was a bit frustrating but then once it settled we just weren’t quick. I was obviously trying to push on the tyre and then get what I could out of it. It seemed we could hold the pace, but then when everyone was improving and getting quicker and quicker we were just getting slower and slower. For now I just want to understand why and look into it. If there are things I need to do better, then I will make sure to figure that out. I’m glad the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone are back to back. It’s always nice when you can get back into a race straight away so hopefully Silverstone is better. We’ve got a few days to work out why I wasn’t quick today, but I’m in the factory tomorrow so we’ve got time to look into it. But for now for sure it was disappointing not to be quicker.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “An action-packed Austrian Grand Prix. After making good starts Max managed to get ahead of Daniel fairly early on, and having started the race on the supersofts we knew we’d be in reasonable shape tyre-wise for the race. As other cars started to pit on the ultrasofts we went a few laps longer before making a stop on to the soft tyres we had. And in the cooler temperatures suddenly a one-stop became a viable option. The drivers did extremely well to start to make that happen, running in third and fourth places for large percentages of the race. Once Raikkonen managed to pass Daniel, there was nothing to lose in pitting him for the ultrasofts. In the meantime both Mercedes stopped putting Max in to the lead and he did what he could but the car was toothless in responding on the old tyres which were pretty much down to the canvas. But he managed to get the car home and was able to capitalize on the incident between the two Mercedes and take a fabulous 2nd position, and our first podium in our home race. A great grand prix and we look forward to taking that momentum to Silverstone in one week’s time.”