A few days on from the Styrian Grand Prix, Formula 1 is back in action in the Spielberg paddock, preparing for the Austrian Grand Prix, which sees cars take to the track tomorrow for free practice. In the usual meeting with the media, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc looked back at last Sunday’s race. “I think it was the first race since I’ve been at Ferrari in which everything went exactly according to plan and of course the next step is to manage to qualify as well as we did in France,” explained the Spaniard who had started from fifth at Le Castellet. “Then perform in the race the way we did in the Styrian Grand Prix, when I went from 12th to sixth place.”
Charles was thinking along similar lines. “A few days ago here, we were really strong, so it was a shame about the first lap incident with Pierre (Gasly,”) he said. “We have to start off again from the strong pace in the first race in Spielberg to tackle the second one in the best possible way.”
Differences. Carlos then went over the elements that could throw up a different scenario this weekend. “We have softer compound tyres, which we will need to understand, cooler temperatures as well as a prototype tyre to evaluate before it is introduced starting from Silverstone. So, we will have quite a busy programme in free practice, which will also include preparing better for Saturday, at least in my case. I know I can do better than the last Grand Prix’s twelfth place on the grid.” Leclerc spoke more about his aims for the race. “I think we have approached the weekend in the right way and we come here with plenty of data that should help us do better in qualifying, however I don’t think it makes sense to compromise too much on race pace to gain one place on the grid on Saturday. It will be a busy and interesting weekend.”
Free time. Both drivers were asked what they got up to earlier this week in Austria. Carlos and Charles spent quite a lot of time together, mainly playing golf, where Sainz demonstrated his skills and also playing Chess, at which Leclerc had the upper hand. It was pointed out to Carlos that one of the semi-finals of the current Euro 2020 football tournament could be between Spain and Italy, if they beat Switzerland and Belgium respectively in the quarter-finals. “Really? That would be a really great game to watch with the team…Or actually maybe not, as I’d be very much in the minority.”
Programme. The two free practice sessions tomorrow start at 11.30 and 15. Final free practice is on Saturday at 12, prior to qualifying at 15. The race gets underway at the same time on Sunday.