Horner dismisses rumours of Verstappen leaving
Following Max Verstappen’s thrilling win in Austria has made Red Bull team principal Christian Horner dismissed suggestions of the Dutchman having his heart set on a move to a rival team.
Last year the Dutchman extended his contract until the end of 2020, but in the last week, the German media suggested the company’s racing advisor Helmut Marko was worried about Verstappen being able to leave due to certain clauses in that deal.
It was reported that Verstappen had the same clause in his contract. When the Dutchman was asked if he could reveal details of the clause, he laughed and said: “What do you think, my friend?”
Verstappen demonstrated the true value he holds in F, charging through the field to claim a second straight win at the Red Bull Ring. He capped it off with a wheel-banging move on Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc which was eventually deemed to have been a racing incident.
Asked after the race Horner was pressured into answering the question, whether he thinks Verstappen is the best driver in F1 currently, to which he replied: “I have thought that for a little while.”
Speaking about that clause in Verstappen’s contract, he said there is no reason why the Dutchman would want to leave any time soon.
Adding “The contract between the driver and team will always be confidential, but it’s safe to say that every single driver in this pit lane has got probably clauses in their contract. There has been speculation about Max’s contract, it’s purely speculation.”
He says that Verstappen is happy with the team, and believes in the project.
The win was Honda’s first since the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix. The Japanese manufacturer has endured a difficult time since returning as an engine supplier in 2015, with three fruitless years as McLaren’s partner leading to a premature end to the relationship.
The win was building on Verstappen’s early podium, he was quick to credit the company for the role it played in Sunday’s win.
Speaking directly afterwards, Verstappen said: “This is very important for us and also for the future, for Honda as well. I’m just very happy that it happened today and it just gives us a lot of confidence as well to the boys and maybe a few doubts are going away because of it.”
Praise for Honda following
Following Honda’s first victory many in the sport have been paying tribute to the Japanese manufacturer after it powered Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to his amazing Austrian Grand Prix win.
Honda last won a race in August 2006, and two years after ending a torrid and tumultuous three-year stint back at McLaren, Honda won for the first time in thirteen years, and for just the second time in a full works capacity since 1992 and the end of their first spell at McLaren.
Lewis Hamilton, whose team ended their eleven-race unbeaten run praised both Honda and the Dutchman. Saying “It’s great for Honda. They’ve gone through some seriously miserable years at McLaren and it just shows that it’s not always just the engine.
“It’s a combination of work, with the manufacturer and team together – working on cooling and packaging and everything.”
Jenson Button, who took that win for Honda in Budapest 2006, posted on Instagram “massive congratulations to Honda for their first win in the hybrid era and their first win since we won together back in 2006.”
Honda returned to the sport with McLaren in 2015 which failed to live up to expectations, with unreliability and performance troubles ultimately leading to a split, with Honda heading for the Red Bull teams.
Ferrari believes penalty decision was wrong
Ferrari believes the decision not to penalise Max Verstappen for wheel banging during his battle with Charles Leclerc at the Austrian Grand Prix was “wrong”, but will not appeal the decision the stewards’ call so that F1 can “turn the page”.
Following a lengthily debate following the race the stewards decided that Verstappen would not face, further action for his race-winning pass on Leclerc, where the Monegasque was forced off the track at Turn Three. While team principal Mattia Binotto was disappointed with the result, he said that was their opinion.
He told Sky Sports, “We believe that Charles left entire space, he had no fault, a collision has happened and he has been pushed off the track. We believe these are the rules, which we may appreciate or not, and these are exactly the same rules which have been applied in past races.”
He also confirmed that Ferrari had the option of submitting an intention of appeal on Sunday night but that “it’s our decision not to do it”.
It’s the second time in three races Ferrari has been involved in a post-race investigation after Sebastian Vettel was denied a race win in Canada for an incident with Lewis Hamilton.
“Certainly we believe that interpretation have been different in these two cases, why I think again we are unhappy with what has been the decision today.”
But the team accepted that they need to move forward and see what’s good for the sport.
Bottas confirms cooling issues in Austria
Valtteri Bottas says that a miscalculation contributed to his cooling issues during the Austrian Grand Prix, which was more challenging than expected.
Both Bottas and five times champion Lewis Hamilton had to manage their power units, making extensive use of a lift-and-coast strategy. Having run second early on, Bottas eventually finished third behind Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, just managing to stay clear of a charging Sebastian Vettel at the flag.
The Finn described the race as the “hardest” race he’s ever done, in terms of looking after his power unit. Bottas told Motorsport.com, “We knew today was going to be hot, but we calculated it a tiny bit wrong as well.”
“I think also the lap time estimates for the lift and coast was not quite spot on. The more we had to do lift and coast, we were losing bigger chunks of time than we actually predicted.”
“For me, it was the hardest race in terms of power unit management, temperature management, I’ve never had to manage it so much. Also, we couldn’t run the full power of the engine, because of temperatures, so that was costing quite a bit of lap time as well.”
Bottas says it was difficult to attack and defend, always being under attack from a car while was sending a warning to him on the dash. He says it was particularly difficult when he closed within DRS range of other cars.
“It was quite sensitive. We were all the time on the limit. With this engine we still need to do many, many races, so we still want to play on the safe side.” He was happy with just a podium because of the difficulties.
He believes that a couple more laps would have seen him lose the place, as Vettel would have closed in on fresher tyres.
Bottas said he had at least achieved one target in Austria by outscoring Hamilton and gaining five points on him in the title battle. He added “A positive today for me this weekend. Being on the podium and getting to drink free champagne, that’s always nice! It’s a fact. And getting a few points against Lewis in the end.”
Norris knew he could take risks
Lando Norris says that he knew that he could take more risks than Lewis Hamilton when he went around the outside of the world champion at the first corner of the Austrian Grand Prix.
The Bristolian lined up fifth on the grid and then gained a place after Max Verstappen nearly stalled, going into third when he muscled his way up to third when he went around the outside of Hamilton’s Mercedes at the opening corner.
He told Motorsport.com “The first lap was the best bit, I think! We’ve been good on starts as a team, I’ve just done a couple of mistakes in the past couple of races but in Paul Ricard, I did a decent job, not quite good enough, but this weekend I got a good start.
“I got around Turn 1 thinking ‘do I run off, do I not’, but yeah I had faith in Lewis that he wouldn’t do anything silly. The situation he’s in I can take more risk than he can.”
Norris slipped behind Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen later in the lap but was re-able to pass the Alfa bringing home more important points for McLaren. He admitted it was a shame he couldn’t stay ahead of Hamilton, but they did a better job on the opening lap which was nice.
Adding “After that it was more controlling the race, getting past the Alfa, because we know and we’re confident that we had good pace, just managing the tyres and trying to make it to the end.”
He believes that fighting Verstappen later in the race was nice as it was an opportunity to see where McLaren’s strengths and weaknesses are. Admitting the Dutchman has shown that McLaren maybe not far away in terms of our pace compared to theirs.
Renaults form “doesn’t add up” – Riccardo
Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that Renault’s current form “doesn’t add up” after a good result in France but failed to score any points in Austria. The French manufacturer had both cars in the top 10 on the road in Canada and France.
Although Ricciardo lost his points finish to a penalty in the latter race, the upgraded RS19 then struggled badly for pace at the Red Bull Ring. He says that the race was the culmination of “a tough weekend”, and admitted he had “no real answers” as to why Renault had such a difficult time in Austria.
Saying “I really hope we’re going to find something this week because it felt like where even today the car felt like there was massive turbulence during the race, in terms of the way it was handling, and the high-speed was very light.”
“So I feel something still wasn’t quite right on the car this weekend, what that is though we still don’t know, but I’d like to believe we’re going to find something because right now it doesn’t add up.” However, he remains optimistic that things will go the right way at Silverstone.
Ricciardo says that speaking with teammate Nico Hulkenberg, who finished two seconds behind in thirteenth, after the race, and said the German provided similar feedback.
Ricciardo believes that Hulkenberg struggled with handling and braking. The German said “Nothing really worked today. Some very strange issues, a very square kind of braking which was difficult to control the car at times.”
“Also driving in a straight line the front felt very light and it was getting pushed around as if you were in a tow behind another car. It was certainly not easy today, the Alfas in the points were not very far ahead of us but following another car was very tough in those fast corners.”
He is hoping that they can understand what is going on to resolve the issues for Silverstone.