Disappointment again for Brendon Hartley, this time at the Austrian F1 Grand Prix. Having run as high as tenth overall, his Scuderia Toro Rosso retired with a mechanical problem late in the race.
“We made a few changes to the aero balance compared to qualifying so I felt much better with the car today,” commented Hartley. “In the first part of the race I seemed to struggle compared to the Saubers around me, but as the tyres got older, the car came alive and was getting stronger. Points were always going to be tough today, but I was battling with Ericsson and he finished 9th, so it’s a bit disappointing to see that!
“We were clearly really strong on tyres today but then something failed on the rear of the car. Initially I thought it was a puncture because I could feel something moving on the rear, but I’m not entirely sure what the issue is. We’ll look into the cause tonight and hopefully come back stronger next week in Silverstone.”
For team mate Pierre Gasly, points were on offer but in the end he crossed the line in 11th.
“I think that was one of the most difficult races I’ve had,” said Gasley. “Stoffel (Vandoorne) and I had contact at Turn 3 on the first lap which caused heavy damage to my floor and after that the car was sliding everywhere. I gave it my best and we were running inside of the points, but it was super difficult to drive the car and in the end I had no grip left on my tyres.
“It’s a shame to finish so close to the points. We brought an updated aero package to Austria this weekend, but with the damage I had on the floor, we lost a lot of downforce and we didn’t get a clear read on it.
“Today there was a real opportunity to score points as we were running 8th with a few laps to go so it’s a shame, but the potential is there. Now we have to focus on Silverstone next week and make a step forward.”
“Brendon was running tenth, doing a good job of managing his tyres,” said Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda F1 Technical Director). “When he had to stop with an issue not related to the PU and Pierre was comfortably in the points, until in the closing stages, his tyres went off and he slipped down to eleventh.
“It’s a shame, but with another race weekend starting on Friday, we head to Silverstone to try again at what is something of a home race, as our European F1 base is just down the road in Milton Keynes.”
Austrian Grand Prix results
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 71 1h21m56.024s
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 71 1.504s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 71 3.181s
4 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 70 1 Lap
5 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 70 1 Lap
6 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 70 1 Lap
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 70 1 Lap
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 70 1 Lap
9 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 70 1 Lap
10 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 70 1 Lap
11 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 70 1 Lap
12 Carlos Sainz Renault 70 1 Lap
13 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 69 2 Laps
14 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 69 2 Laps
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 65 Gearbox
– Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 62 Fuel pressure
– Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 54 Mechanical
– Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 53 Exhaust
– Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 13 Hydraulics
– Nico Hulkenberg Renault 11 Power Unit