Valtteri Bottas headed a one-two for Mercedes at the Red Bull Ring, where the Finn and teammate Lewis Hamilton have use of a major aerodynamic upgrade. The significant car update follows Mercedes’ introduction of its ‘Spec 2.1’ engine in France last week, and Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel ended up qualifying three tenths off the pace in third.
Asked where the Maranello team is losing out to Mercedes, Seb said: “It’s very close, it’s not that many corners, but from what we’ve seen we’re losing a bit in sector one and then mostly it’s sector three. Mercedes is very quick, very competitive, in Turn 7 [the fast left-hand part of the Esses at the start of the final sector. They seem to be able to carry more speed up the hill. I think that’s one of our main losses. It’s the high-speed Turn 7 and Turn 9, the second-to-last corner. It’s close, we’re not talking about much, but enough to get ahead.” – he explained.
Sebastian Vettel believes the pendulum could yet swing back in his favour in the coming races, because Mercedes has introduced back-to-back upgrades for its package whereas Ferrari is “largely the same” as in France: “We have our own schedule in terms of new bits. We are pushing as hard as we can, we need to make sure what we’re bringing to the car is making it faster. It’s a constant challenge. For now, the last two qualifying sessions Mercedes has the edge a little bit. It can turn around. We need to look at ourselves, there’s always something you can learn from what other people put on the car but that’s not just for Mercedes it’s for all the teams.” – Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel concluded, as reported by the British media at the end of the qualifying session.