Styrian Grand Prix 2020 – Qualifying
- George Russell qualified 12th and Nicholas Latifi 18th for the Styrian Grand Prix
- George had the best qualifying of his career so far, making it into Q2 with a time of 1:19.636
- Nicholas clocked his quickest time of the session with a 1:21.759
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: As forecast yesterday, the weather was poor today with a lot of rain from mid-morning onwards. This led to the cancellation of FP3 and for a while it looked like the qualifying session may also succumb to the rain. However, following an initial delay the session was run in full wet conditions.
For those on the pitwall, this kind of session can be very difficult due to the sheer number of things that can happen, and the short lap length of Austria only makes this worse as the traffic backs up. However, on this occasion, we followed our plan very well and we used all our previous experience to give both drivers good opportunities to exceed the performance of the car.
Both drivers drove exceptionally well in the conditions and both had very good pace throughout Q1. Neither have much experience of driving our cars in proper wet conditions, but both were superb today. Nicholas was extraordinarily unlucky with both a yellow flag and, later, a red flag spoiling laps that were comfortably good enough to qualify him for Q2. This was a big shame as we had the pace to get both cars close to the top 10 today, but we must accept that this is the nature of wet qualifying.
George opted to start his session a little later and he was more fortunate with the flags. However, his pace was strong throughout and he fully deserved his place in Q2. For Q2 we had only one set of new tyres remaining and opted to fit them for the beginning of the session. This proved to be a good decision as conditions steadily worsened. Along with his own inherent pace, this decision helped him to outqualify Stroll and also to get extremely close to Leclerc.
Tomorrow we are expecting a dry race and we think that the car will perform well in those conditions. With the help of the factory we have made a few changes to the cars since last weekend and we are now looking forward to racing hard throughout tomorrow as we aim to secure a strong top 10 finish.
George Russell: Q2 was our target this weekend, but if someone told me it would be less than a tenth to Q3, I wouldn’t have believed that. It was incredibly tricky out there. I couldn’t see at many points, but I gave it everything I had, and it worked out. The car was feeling good and I had a lot of fun out there. I am really pleased for all the guys who come week in week out fighting. It is not quite the true pace of our car, but it’s a real boost for everyone in the team. Overall it was a great qualifying session, I am really happy and let’s see what we can do tomorrow.
Nicholas Latifi: The conditions out there were tricky, but I was surprised with how comfortable I felt as it was the first real wet session that I have been given the green light to push fully in. I am disappointed as we could have easily made it into Q2. My pace on the first set of tyres was in the top fifteen but I just didn’t get a clear lap on the second set. Every lap was either traffic or a yellow flag and then the red flag. I think there was much more in there, so I am just a bit frustrated.