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F1 2018: Lap time of 59.9s at Austrian GP with 3 DRS? Ricciardo and Raikkonen answers.

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905   //    29 Jun 2018, 13:32 IST

2018 Austrian Formula One Grand Prix Driver Arrivals and Press Conference Jun 28th
2018 Austrian GP - Magnussen, Raikkonen, Ricciardo & Sirotkin

Lewis Hamilton leads the championship standings by 14 points over his title rival Sebastian Vettel heading into the weekend for round 9 of the F1 World Championship at Red Bull Ring, Austria.

Mercedes are bringing their most extensive update of the season so far. The updates includes changes around the sidepods, inlet size has reduced and the sidepods is moved back around 12cm, new bargeboards, new rear wing mirrors, rear wing endplate with a series of vertical slots similar to the Mclaren.

Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo, Kevin Magnussen and rookie driver Sergey Sirotkin spoke at the press conference ahead of the Austrian GP. Below are the questions shot at them and the replies from the drivers were quite interesting.

Q: Daniel, it’s Red Bull’s home race and off the back of a number of competitive showings in recent weeks from the team are you expecting another strong performance here?

Daniel Ricciardo: Yep, yeah, I am. I think we’ve had good pace… I think this year in general we’ve had good pace on pretty much all layouts we’ve been too. I think the races we have finished I think fifth has been the worst on track finish, so we’ve been there, if not on the podium, then close to it. A few bits of damage last week I think, which cost us the chance of a podium, or cost us a podium I believe, but generally we’ve been strong. In ’16 Max got a podium here, ’17 I did, so hopefully for the fans both of us can manage to get on there on Sunday.

Q: Now that’s this weekend but obviously a big story so far this year has been talk about your future and last week in the Friday press conference, Eric Boullier admitted that there had been some preliminary talks between you and McLaren. Just how serious has the interest been from other teams in you, and does that delay you making a decision about your future or are you close to making one?

Daniel Ricciardo: Of course there has been a bit interest. Personally, I want to get something done, ideally before the summer break. More from a personal point of view. I want to go on break with as clear mind, so it feels like a break. I think it was a few years ago when I was making the transition from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, that all happened during the break and it wasn’t a fun August break for me, so just from that I would like to get something done. Obviously with Red Bull they’ve committed to Honda, so they’ve kind of got all the cards on the table, so I know what I’m getting there, and things are starting to get to a point where I know what’s what and hopefully I’ll have something soon for everyone.

Q: Thank you. It would be unfair just to ask Daniel that question, so Kevin, moving on to you, how does your future look with Haas at the moment?

Kevin Magnussen: Yeah, no news. They have an option on me and so I don’t think there is much chance of me going anywhere else but we’ll just take it as it comes, there’s no stress at the moment.

Q: Kimi, a question you get every year, how does your future look right now?

Kimi Raikkonen: Same as always, every year. We’ll see. 

Q: No news about your future then, but this year you’ve looked comfortable on Sundays and it was your fourth podium of the season last weekend, but you’ve admitted that Saturday didn’t quite go to plan. What have you and the team got to do to make sure Saturdays run a bit more smoothly?

Kimi Raikkonen: Just do better. Better results obviously and be more further up. Obviously that makes the Sundays a lot easier, especially most of the races it has been very difficult to overtake. The last race was a lot different on that side, so it was also more fun. I think we have been pretty decent all the way through in qualifying, part from the last part, or the last runs, so just need to tidy up a bit.

2018 Austrian Formula One Grand Prix Driver Arrivals and Press Conference Jun 28th
2018 Austrian Formula One Grand Prix Driver Arrivals and Press Conference Jun 28th

Q: Kevin, we’ll come back to you after the future talks. You have more points now than you had in the last two years combined in Formula 1. Haas has shown some really impressive pace but not always taken all the opportunities, so how high are you aiming this year?

Kevin Magnussen: That’s difficult to say. On a good weekend our car is good enough for fourth best team and I think what we have to do is eliminate those bad weekends. When it’s good, it’s good enough for fourth and yeah, Renault are pretty far ahead in the points, but it’s still a pretty long season, but they seem to be very consistent and perhaps too consistent for us this year. But we will do our best. As we see at the moment, from fifth down to eighth it’s not that spread out, it’s very close, so hopefully we can fight for fifth.

Q: Thank you. Sergey, thank you for waiting and welcome to the press conference. It’s your rookie season and it probably hasn’t gone quite the way you envisaged at the start of the year. Have you been able to enjoy the way this season has gone so far?

Sergey Sirotkin: For sure, it didn’t really go in a way we all really hoped in the winter. So, for sure in some terms I could enjoy it a bit more, a bit more fighting for the points, fighting for good results, fighting at least other cars on track, which unfortunately sometimes we are not able to do now. But, you know, it’s a different challenge. The challenge, how I look at that, is the work back at the factory, where I feel like I can play my role. I can play my role in trying to the united with the team, be one of them, work with them, to get over the difficult moments and to get success after it. I still do enjoy this side of the story, but for sure it’s not really how we came into the winter tests and how we tried to approach it. But we are where we are now and I still try to enjoy just the fact of being here. I try to enjoy racing. I think as soon as you start to think too much about where you are, how far you are in the field, that’s the point where it becomes difficult. So far now I just try to focus on something that I really like to do and something where I can play my role in the team and help them to get over. It’s a different enjoyment but it’s still enjoyment.

Q: You mention the work back at the factory but right now we’re in the middle of three consecutive races. Is that something that makes it hard to see progress for Williams when it is that relentless?

Sergey Sirotkin: Yes and no. Obviously this race is going to be a tough one for us. You saw that on the results that the Williams wasn’t that strong already [here] last year and I would expect that it is not going to much easier for us than Paul Ricard last week. That’s probably like the more negative bit but the good bit is that in the next few weeks we have some good things coming on the car, which we have been working on for quite a while now. I don’t want to be too optimistic but we all have high hopes for those bits.

2018 Austrian Formula One Grand Prix Driver Arrivals and Press Conference Jun 28th
2018 Austrian Formula One Grand Prix Driver Arrivals and Press Conference Jun 28th

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Kimi, do you still feel like you’re in the title race this year?

Kimi Raikkonen: If you purely take the points, for sure. If you count how many points there are left, for sure, yes – but obviously we’ve got, not the ideal things happening in a couple of races where we didn’t finish, so that put us in a little bit trickier position – but apart from that, we’ve been pretty OK. So, we keep doing, and try to stay out of any issues and to put things solid, as well as we can. It’s going to be a long way still – but of course with the two small issues have not been ideal but it’s not a disaster.

Q: To all four drivers. Third DRS has been added here – do you think it will improve overtaking, and will it affect your setups in some way?

Sergey Sirotkin: I mean, of course it will give an extra bit of possibility, at least to maintain the gap to the car ahead a bit easier, if we are talking for one, two three laps, or whatever. In other occasions, like in places where you probably wouldn’t be close enough to do the move, like down into Turn Three, Four, whatever it is now. It will probably, with the extra DRS, you get a possibility to get within a reasonable distance to the car ahead and then try a move. Again, I didn’t race with F1 here last year so I don’t know exactly how it was. I take whatever it will be?

Kevin, the midfield battle is very tight. Do you think an extra DRS zone is going to affect that?

Kevin Magnussen: Yeah, I think it was already… it wasn’t the worst circuit for overtaking already, so I think that whole… the longest straight on the track, which is already a pretty long straight, with DRS is probably going to be fairly easy to overtake here. We’ll see.

Kimi, your thoughts on an extra DRS zone. As you said in France, we had more overtaking last week.

Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, I mean half of the track is DRS, so it should make it pretty easy. I don’t know if it’s too easy or not. Obviously we want overtaking but there must be a point where it’s kind-of artificial overtaking. But let’s see.

Daniel, your thoughts.

Daniel Ricciardo:  Nothing much more to comment. I don’t see a negative with it at the moment. It should be OK , unless, as Kimi touched on, unless it’s really easy. Then it might take a bit out of it. I think, for now, I see it as a positive. I don’t think it will affect the setup. I don’t think so. Not much will change – probably just more overtakes during the race.

Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS) Do you think this year this lap can be done in 59.9s?

Q: Daniel, you’re smiling, have you gone under 60s in the simulator?

Daniel Ricciardo:  No, that seems optimistic. What was pole last year, 1m 02s was it? Maybe if we had a hyper (soft tyre), maybe but no, the DRS will obviously give us a bit but I think to get more than 2s on such a short lap already, that seems cool but a bit optimistic. Yeah.

Kimi Raikkonen: I don’t know. I guess everybody looks but is it going to happen? I don’t know. For sure Daniel said the DRS will give you free lap time. I don’t know yet. We’ll see.



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