Lance and Sebastian were in the battle for points throughout the Styrian Grand Prix as the ultra-close midfield battle took its latest twist. Lance made a superb start to gain three places and run in sixth early on, before finishing in eighth. Sebastian worked his way up the order, but a complex race meant he could only finish in 12th, narrowly outside the points.
We were racing well inside the points throughout the race and it was exciting to be in a battle from the first lap until the end.
"We were racing well inside the points throughout the race and it was exciting to be in a battle from the first lap until the end. We made a strong start and ran in the pack with Fernando [Alonso], Charles [Leclerc] and Pierre [Gasly]. There was a little bit of contact ahead, which helped us gain some places, and I managed to overtake Fernando to move into sixth. He was always close in the race, so it was maximum attack from there to the end. It was a fun battle throughout the race. We tried to hold off Carlos [Sainz Jr] and Charles but they had strong pace in the final part of the race and a tyre advantage. So P8 is a good result and we can be happy with a positive weekend from the very first lap on Friday. We are racing here again next weekend, so we will go away and understand where we can find gains to be even stronger next weekend."
It is always easy to say we should have done things differently, but we are focused on coming back stronger next weekend.
"It was a tough race today. The midfield was very close and we were in the battle for points for the majority of the race. However, we spent a lot of time in traffic and I was struggling for grip towards the end. When everyone is so closely matched, these factors can really impact your race and the final result. It is always very easy to say we should have done things differently in hindsight, but we are focused on coming back stronger next weekend. The tyres are one step softer for the Austrian Grand Prix, for example, so there is plenty of preparation work ahead in the coming days."
We will race again at the Red Bull Ring in a few days’ time, and we will be aiming to get both cars into the points next time.
"Lance drove brilliantly today, from start to finish. He made a good start from his P9 grid slot, taking eighth place by Turn One on lap one, then he passed [Fernando] Alonso for seventh a few corners later, which immediately became sixth when [Charles] Leclerc pitted for front wing repairs ahead. For the last 11 laps, he hung on to eighth place with determination and skill, under extreme pressure from Alonso’s Alpine, and managed to hold off the double World Champion to the flag: a truly excellent drive. Sebastian started the race well, moving up from his P14 grid slot to 11th place by lap 10. He was in contention for points for the next 50 laps until, in his efforts to keep Leclerc’s Ferrari at bay in the latter stages of the race, he locked up his right-front tyre twice, which compromised his ability to keep Leclerc behind him. We will race again here at the Red Bull Ring in a few days’ time, and we will be aiming to get both cars into the points next time."
Guide to Styria
There's double the track time in Austria for back-to-back races. The field will likely converge, so small margins may well decide these races. Our strategy engineers have analysed historic data and recent car performance to predict the key factors that could determine the result on Sunday, presented in partnership with our Title Partner Cognizant.
Cognizant's Keys to the Race
With three DRS zones (Turns One to Three, Turns Three to Four and Turns 10 to One), there's plenty of overtaking opportunities around a lap of the circuit. In 2020, the first Austrian race had 29 passes after the first lap, before an upswing to 43 the following weekend. A total of 76% of those overtakes were assisted by DRS, underlining its powerful impact.
Overtaking is comparable to Baku. The best opportunities to overtake in Austria come at Turns Three and Four due to the heavy braking point on entry into Turn Three, which can reward late-brakers and offers several angles of attack. With a DRS zone immediately following, the downhill run to Turn Four offers a chance to fight back or power past for position.
The opening race will use the C2, C3 and C4 mid-range before going one step softer for the Austria finale with the C3, C4 and C5. The venue is low on degradation, so expect a one-stop strategy. In 2020, there were four Safety Cars across the two races in Austria, but historically there's a 50% chance of a Safety Car in dry Austrian races, and there has only ever been one Virtual Safety Car, back in 2018. A mid-race interruption could turn the race into a two-stopper.
With laps completed in just over a minute, a lap of the Austrian Grand Prix is action-packed from start to finish. With elevation changes, long straights and a sweeping middle sector, keeping the flow and maintaining high speeds is the key to maximising a lap. Our official Cyber Security Partner SentinelOne presents the key technical facts and stats behind a single lap of the track.
Unlocking the lap
Ten corners are completed in under one minute and 10 seconds, highlighting the high-speed nature of the circuit, boosted by three powerful DRS zones and a sweeping downhill slalom to the flag that rewards precision – and punishes over-commitment.
Drivers will arrive at Turn One at speeds well over 300km/h (186mph) for one of the hardest braking points on the circuit, dropping to fourth gear and 140km/h (86mph) for the medium-speed corner.
It's key to get back on the power quickly as drivers move onto the 800m straight, which incorporates the minor flat-out kink of Turn Two, and climb towards Turn Three for one of the best overtaking spots on the track.
Hugging the right-hand side of the circuit, drivers reach 315km/h (195mph) and sweep left to approach a bumpy braking point. The challenge of Turn Three is then increased by the sharp right-angle of the corner. Mistakes are often made, and drivers can end up on the run-off.
Dropping to second gear and speeds of 80km/h (49mph) while navigating a tricky camber change, drivers get back on the power for another long straight downhill into Turn Four.
Unlocking the lap
With the benefit of DRS, drivers clear 300km/h (186mph) before taking on the challenge of braking downhill into a sweeping curve, which begins a high-speed and flowing downhill second and third sector.
Turns Five, Six and Seven are navigated at high speed, with drivers often lifting rather than braking to maintain a higher average speed.
They exit the complex at over 275km/h (170mph), pulling high lateral g-forces, maximising the outside kerb of Turn Eight before a short straight plunges downhill.
Turns Nine and 10 arrive fast: they’re back-to-back right-handers where over-aggression can lead to invalidated lap times – or worse – for using the run-off.
It's crucial to take the inside kerb at the final corner so a driver can return to the power swiftly for the start/finish straight.
Expect lap times to get progressively quicker across the two weekends as the track rubbers in. With consistent conditions, lap times should also significantly improve for the Austrian Grand Prix.
Lying in the Styrian Mountains and built upon the legacy of the Österreichring, the Austrian races are as beautiful as they are historic. A double-header at the venue also throws up unique challenges for drivers and teams as the triple-header comes to a close. NetApp breaks down the highlight facts and figures.
#IAMSTORIES - Birgit
Birigt will experience her first Grand Prix when she attends the second race of the Austrian Grand Prix double-header. A love of Formula One began with her father, before blossoming into support for the team and Sebastian Vettel. Discover what makes Austria a hotbed of passion for Formula One, and tips for exploring the beauty of the Styrian Mountains and nearby Graz.
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