DTM Race: Round 6, Spielberg.
47,500 spectators at Spielberg.
The DTM lined up this weekend in Spielberg in front of 47,500 spectators for the second half of the season and the sixth race of the year. Mercedes-Benz driver Christian Vietoris placed ninth in the race in Austria. After 47 laps, fellow Mercedes drivers Daniel Juncadella, Gary Paffett, Paul Di Resta and Vitaly Petrov came home in positions 15, 17, 18 and 20 respectively. Race stewards showed Robert Wickens the black flag after 33 laps. The Canadian received a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release on his pit stop. Wickens had started from pole position and led the race in Spielberg for quite a long time. Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein retired after 26 laps.
On the right track.
Christian Vietoris: “That was a tough race in which more would have been possible with a different strategy. But ultimately, none of the drivers who started on the prime tyres were able to close on the guys in front. All in all, our car handled well on this track.
It was nice to be back fighting for pole position and points. The team worked well. We are on the right track. Hopefully, things will continue like that until the end of the season.”
It was all looking very good.
Daniel Juncadella: “The first laps were decent. I was in a good position, two places behind Christian. My car was very consistent in the turns and it was all looking very good.
Then I got the penalty because I was probably a little too fast during the yellow flag period and that was my race over to all intents and purposes, unfortunately.”
Some tough battles.
Gary Paffett: “Unfortunately, that was pretty terrible race. We had the same speed as yesterday, so we simply weren't fast enough.
I was struggling with the balance of the car on both tyres. Also, on the first couple of laps, I had some tough battles and lost out. That was a bit of a disaster.”
A difficult race.
Paul Di Resta: “That was a difficult race. We were definitely struggling for speed for some reason on my car. We need to get to the bottom of that. After my accident in free practice, the setup was never going to be totally right, but I want to thank the guys anyway for the great job they did in getting the car repaired for qualifying. There was some contact in the race which cost me several places, especially when Joey Hand took me out in Turn Five right before the pit stop. Now we need to work on performance for the next race.”
Really pleased overall.
Vitaly Petrov: “I got away well on the prime tyres. The cars in front of me were all on options, so it wasn’t easy to close on them. But I still managed to gain position. Scrapping with the more experienced drivers was really nice. Then I made a mistake in Turn Six and dropped back down the field again. Unfortunately, it was not possible to regain ground.
However, my car's balance was good and we collected a great deal of data. Aside from my mistake, we can be really pleased overall.”
That cost me a potential win.
Robert Wickens: “That was a really disappointing afternoon for me. After taking pole position on Saturday, I thought I was in with a good chance for Sunday’s race. My car was running exceptionally well on the prime tyres after the pit stop. As the rules stand and in my own personal view, it was clearly not an unsafe release. The penalty ruined my race and cost me a potential win.”
Quickest for a time.
Pascal Wehrlein: “What a pity, as I was the quickest in today’s race for a time. I moved up a position and we were bunched up together out in front. I was in with a chance of victory today. Unfortunately, I then lost a bit of time during the pit stop. Once the car goes down, the driver then accelerates, but I didn’t know at the time that someone was next to me.
On my way out, I then touched wheels with the other car, unfortunately. My car was too badly damaged after that to continue.”
A disappointing race.
Wolfgang Schattling, Head of Motorsport Marketing & Communications: “We had a very disappointing race today after a very positive qualifying. Robert secured a fantastic pole position on Saturday and was leading the race. His tussle with Augusto Farfus was world class. Unfortunately, the race stewards then took what was for us a surprising and incomprehensible decision. In our view, there was no unsafe release after Robert’s pit stop. We tried to speak to the stewards during the race, because we thought that they had possibly mixed up the incident of Pascal Wehrlein leaving the pit lane with that of Wickens. That’s why Robert stayed out so long, but there’s nothing you can do about the stewards’ decision, particularly when a black flag is involved. For that reason, we then called Robert in. His fantastic race was totally wrecked by this decision.”
Those are the rules.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “From our perspective, it was very clearly not an unsafe release. The decision is incomprehensible for me, especially since it is not consistent with other decisions that were made. However, we must accept the penalty, as those are the rules. In future, I think that in cases of doubt we should act in the best interests of racing. We owe that to all the fans of the DTM, of BMW, Audi and Mercedes. Many thanks to the team and to Robert for the way they have performed in the last few weeks. We’ll be back.”