F1 Power Rankings: Austrian Grand Prix

After a one-race trip to the Americas for the Canadian Grand Prix, it’s a return to Europe for the return of the Austrian Grand Prix. The A1 Ring has been slightly updated since the last time that Formula One raced there. One thing that hasn’t changed is the rules governing team orders. Well, the rules changed and changed back. Not that team orders were ever an issue in Austria.

f1-lewis-hamilton-helmet-2014#1 Lewis Hamilton
He’s had the bad luck in the Mercedes camp but Old Louise Hamilton is planning to march back: “The two DNF’s so far this season have not been ideal but that’s racing and there’s a long, long way to go. I caught up before and I can catch up again. It’s going to take another four wins to make the difference so I’m going to do my best to get those results. Right now, I’m just looking ahead to the next race in Austria and another chance to catch up to the lead.”

f1-nico-rosberg-helmet-2014#2 Nico Rosberg
Keke’s kid is looking on the bright side of nursing a broken car home: “Although it was a really, really tough day, I’m pleased with the result in Montreal. The car was strong throughout the weekend, so to have the problems we experienced in the race was not what we expected. It just goes to show that you can never be too well prepared and our priority has been to make sure the car is bullet-proof for the rest of the season. When you take everything into account, finishing second in that race was quite an achievement for everyone in the team.”

#3 Daniel Ricciardo
F1’s latest race winner gives us a quick look at the key corners of the Red Bull Ring: “It’s a tidy circuit, not the longest and not many corners, but what is there is good. Turn One is cool as it climbs up the hill. It looks tight, but actually isn’t. Turn Two is quite a tight right-hand corner, going uphill and off-camber as well. Then it drops back down all the way through the rest of the track.”

#4 Sebastian Vettel
Old Four-Time gives us a quick look at the facility at the Red Bull Ring: “The circuit’s set amid a beautiful natural landscape. There are not many distractions there – it’s just about racing. The Red Bull Ring is a short track, with only a few turns, but it’s very challenging. There are also a lot of elevation changes, which makes it interesting and fun. The fans will have a great time as every grandstand offers a great view of the circuit.”

#5 Fernando Alonso

#6 Nico Hulkenberg
The Hulk takes a more technical look at his approach to the weekend: ” Together with Russia, this race is one of the big question marks for everyone this year. The track has some long straights and a few slow corners that should suit us, and we can count on making the most of softer compounds as we did in Canada. When you go to a new track it’s even more important to maximise the practice sessions because there is so much more to learn. The lap is quite short so the gaps between the cars will be minimal and even small mistakes can make a big difference.”

f1-valtteri-helmet-helmet-2014#7 Valtteri Bottas
Val tries not to sound nervous about a new track but manages to nonetheless: “I’ve spent a lot of time in the simulator to prepare of Austria as I haven’t driven the circuit before. I have also spoken with Felipe as he is one of the four drivers who have raced this track in Formula One. Learning a new track has never been a problem for me and I have the practice sessions to get to grips with things.”

#8 Sergio Perez
Checo plays down the importance of simulator time and thinks that track time is king: “It’s a circuit that not many people know and so it can give you an opportunity to find a small advantage. You have to learn fast and be ready to adapt. A new circuit is always a bit more of a challenge, but it’s interesting and I like the look of the track layout.”

f1-jenson-button-helmet-2014#9 Jenson Button
Leave the memories alone, Jenson: “From my previous visits, I remember the clear mountain air, the cool morning temperatures before the sun hit the paddock, and the fast, sweeping corners that still largely exist, and which give this circuit a great feel from the cockpit. I remember the racing line for Turn One would lead us far out over the exit kerbs and onto the Tarmac run-off – it was crazy!”

#10 Kimi Raikkonen

f1-kevin-magnussen-helmet-2014#11 Kevin Magnussen
Could Jan’s kid have the upper hand in Austria? “It’s strange to be able to say it, but, of all the drivers on the F1 grid, I’ve probably got the most recent experience of racing at the Red Bull Ring, because two rounds of the World Series by Renault were held there last summer… I think this’ll be a great new addition to the calendar – the circuit is a hardcore racetrack, the fans are passionate and the venue is spectacular.”

f1-romain-grosjean-helmet-2014#12 Romain Grosjean
Romain talks about what will be his first experience at the former A1 Ring: “Competing in the Grand Prix will be my first experience there, which is a pretty cool way to get to know a track! It looks like quite a fun lap with some high speed sections and not too much low speed stuff – which hasn’t suited our car so far this year. The track has a bit of undulation too, which is always fun as a driver. A downhill approach to a corner means you have to drive it quite a bit differently than if it’s an uphill approach and Spielberg has both of those. It should be fun.”

f1-felipe-massa-helmet-2014#13 Felipe Massa
Old Phil doesn’t think his previous experience will be much of an advantage: “There are very few guys who have driven the circuit which is a little advantage but the track and limit may have changed and the cars have changed so it won’t be the same as 11 years ago. It’s not a difficult track to learn and we have the best drivers in the world in Formula One so they will be able to get up to speed very quickly.”

#14 Jean-Eric Vergne
For JEV, this race is big because he’s the lead driver of a Red Bull team at a Red Bull track: ” I have never raced at this track before, but I did drive it last year in a Formula One Show Car run for Red Bull at a Renault World Series event. I remember the race was very exciting. The track is short, but really nice and I am sure it will make for a very interesting race this weekend. It will be an important event for us as part of the Red Bull family and so I hope we will perform well.”

#15 Daniil Kvyat
Daniil Boy has a pretty good track record at the Red Bull Ring: “This is one of my favourite circuits. I raced here in Formula Renault Alps and had two wins there in 2012. I had a great weekend and really loved the track. Last year I went back to the Red Bull Ring with Formula 3 this time and again I had great memories taking three poles out of three, followed by three second places in the races.”

#16 Adrian Sutil
Sutil has some more generic quotage for us: “In Canada it was good to finish the race and to get the maximum out of the car. The team also did a great job with the strategy and the pit stops. I hope we can build on this and make steps forward in every area. I am keeping up my motivation, and I am looking forward to the weekend in Spielberg.”

#17 Esteban Gutierrez
Steve is in it for the fans. He’d make a good face in wrestling: “It is always interesting to have new tracks on the Formula One race calendar. Last year there were quite a few tracks on which I drove for the first time, and now with Spielberg there is another new one… It will be an interesting event as the Austrians like Formula One and are nice and cheerful people. I hope we can feel the passion and the support for the sport, so that it can be a successful event. I am looking forward to the race weekend.”

#18 Pastor Maldonado
I’d run some Pastor quotage but I don’t care. He shouldn’t be in these Power Rankings because he shouldn’t be in F1. Nuts to him.

#19 Jules Bianchi
Jules talks about how he approaches learning a new circuit: “Adapting to a new circuit is one of my favourite challenges as a driver, both in terms of working with my engineers to tailor the car to the track and also putting to the test my own ability to get to grips with a new layout and characteristics. I really enjoy this. We’ve done some simulation work and the track looks really good; another interesting challenge for us.”

#20 Kamui Kobayashi

#21 Max Chilton
Max doesn’t mention where he took out his teammate in his pre-race quotage: “I’m really looking forward to my first Austrian Grand Prix and my first experience of Spielberg. So far this season it has been a case of consolidating my experience of tracks I raced at for the first time last year in my debut season, so it’s nice to shake it up a bit with an unknown quantity and level the playing field a bit.”

#22 Marcus Ericsson

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