Formula One: 2016 Austrian Grand Prix Preview.
Lewis Hamilton: “Baku started out great but, clearly, it just wasn’t meant to be that weekend. It’s a shame I wasn’t really in the race – but there’s no point talking about ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. It’s one to put behind me, take the positives in terms points on the board and move on. We’ve got an old school track there in Spielberg. It’s fast, with a good flow to it. It’s tough to overtake but there are places you can try something different so that’s a good challenge. It’s definitely a big advantage starting up front there, though, so I need to get back on it in qualifying and do a better job than last time out.
Austria is a beautiful country and I always enjoy my time there, so it would be great to get a win there and tick it off the list. That’s the aim, as always, so let’s see how it goes.”
The best package.
Nico Rosberg: “Baku was a good weekend for me. I really felt at one with the car, so that’s a big positive looking ahead to the next races. Now we go to Austria, which has been a real strength for us as a team in the past two years. It’ll be tough against the Williams cars in particular, as they’ve pushed us hard there before. But I think our Silver Arrow is still definitely the best package on the grid and I can’t wait to see what it can do in Spielberg. To have two wins from two races at any track is pretty special, so if I could make it three in three that would be awesome. It’s a short run to the first corner there and generally my starts and first corners have been strong this season, so if I can qualify well there’s a good chance of a top result. I’m looking forward to the weekend?”
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “We didn’t maximise our potential in Baku. At some circuits, you seem to find the sweet spot straight from the beginning – and that track suited our car in terms of demands on the Power Unit and aerodynamic efficiency. So, we left a little disappointed. But overall there were a lot of positives. Our package is clearly as competitive as ever and we have seen that both drivers are pushing right to the limit – sometimes even beyond it. This is what we want to see from them. It would be easy to get complacent or ease off the pedal after our recent success. But they are pushing themselves, each other and the team forward at every step. We accept that sometimes this will result in tough weekends – but it’s good for all of us and good for the sport. Our priority is to eliminate the small errors which have cost points here and there.
We need every weapon at our disposal operating at maximum capacity to fight off the opposition at the front, who are growing in number. Force India have been very strong recently, Williams are always quick in Spielberg and, of course, there is the constant threat from Ferrari and Red Bull – particularly at a home race for the latter. It should be an exciting weekend.”
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): “Spielberg is a very different type of track to the last three, which have all been street or semi-street circuits with mostly slow corners. It’s a permanent facility with plenty of elevation change and a short lap, featuring just nine corners with a range of speeds. The short lap makes for a challenging weekend on the pit wall – particularly during qualifying. With lap times of just over a minute, the circuit can become extremely congested and decisions have to be made very quickly. The track has been completely re-surfaced for this year, which we understand to have made it extremely smooth and therefore likely to work the tyres quite differently. Combined with the softest allocation of compounds available, this means we could well see a pole time in the region of the circuit lap record. As a team we’ve been very strong at this circuit since it returned to the calendar in 2014, so our target is to continue that run. Having said that, we’ve seen significant variations in performance between the teams at different types of track so far this season. It’s been quite unpredictable, so we must ensure we are well prepared.”