Lewis Hamilton finished seventh, and George Russell eighth in the 2023 Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix. Lining up P5 and P11, respectively, Lewis and George began the race on the medium compound tyre, with Lewis gaining a position on the opening lap to move up to P4.
Both drivers used a Virtual Safety Car period on lap 14 to switch onto the hard compound tyre, gaining a few positions. As the second stint wore on, Lewis and George battled hard against cars with superior race pace, with Lewis being given a five-second time penalty for track limits infringements.
George made his second stop on lap 42 for the medium tyre, with Lewis doing so a lap later and serving his penalty. As the second stops cycled through, Lewis held P7 and George P8, positions they would keep until the chequered flag.
After a tough weekend, the focus moves immediately to next weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
It was not the greatest of days today. We weren’t expecting to be as slow as we were, and our performance this weekend was a surprise. We don’t have the answer as to why just yet, but this track has highlighted several areas of improvement we need to focus on.
We knew we didn’t have a strong rear end this weekend, so we took out a lot of front wing to maintain the balance. I was really struggling into certain corners, particularly Turn 10, and sliding, which I couldn’t do anything about it. That is why I was struggling with track limits. We added some front wing at both stops, and the car began to come back to us, but it was still a challenge.
It was really challenging today, and our pace was not as we expected. After yesterday, I was hoping for a little bit more from the Grand Prix. I am sure we will go away and get to the bottom of our performance here. We have the same car that we had in Barcelona where we were flying, so we need to understand what went wrong on our side. The car certainly doesn’t feel how we want it to at the moment. It’s moving around a lot, and it felt a little bit worse this weekend than at other circuits; the pace was substantially worse, though, so we need to get to the bottom of that.
Our performance is clearly circuit dependent now. We were nowhere here but good in Montreal and Barcelona. That bodes well for Silverstone as that is a circuit more similar to Barcelona than Austria, so we’re excited for next weekend’s British Grand Prix. We will be aiming to come back stronger.
Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO
Today was a bruising day for the Team. We’ve had a positive upward trajectory recently, but clearly, we didn’t have the pace we needed here. It’s been a tough weekend overall; both drivers have struggled with the car since FP1. From Friday onwards, we saw that we were lacking a couple of tenths, and we couldn’t make the car quicker. Once the tyres start sliding, either under braking or through the corner, then you have no grip. That contributed to our lack of performance, but we will have to go away and analyse it in more detail. We will take this weekend on the chin and move forward.
The swings are quite interesting from circuit to circuit, where sometimes we are the closest challengers to Red Bull, and at others struggling. We have a step of performance that we are bringing to Silverstone. Let’s see if that circuit suits the characteristics of the car a little more, and we will analyse it from there.
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
There are lots for us to improve on leaving here. The performance clearly hasn’t been good enough; we need to understand how much is down to not landing the set-up in the right place and how much is just base performance. We’ve not brought any updates to the last few races, so it’s also possible we’re lacking development. We’ve got plans in place to address that, but the gap to Ferrari was certainly a worry today.
The situation with track limits was difficult; the notifications were coming in after the fact, so Lewis ended up with a penalty before we could do anything about it. We’re happy that we’ve only got to wait a few days before getting back on track. We need to work hard to understand the areas that need improvement, but we’re looking forward to Silverstone and putting this race behind us.