How helpful is it to have back-to-back grands prix where the same tire compounds are being used? More specifically, is there carryover in tire data between France and Austria since the tires are the same?
“Yes, I think so. It’s always good to have consistency in what we use. It will help us to use the previous findings into the next week. When we change that lineup, it’s a bit harder.”
Does the Red Bull Ring’s quick yet compact layout lend itself to getting the tires into their proper operating window and, just as importantly, keeping them in that window?
“I won’t say too much. So far things haven’t been amazing, so let’s find out when we go there.”
You come into the Red Bull Ring with three straight top-10 finishes in the Austrian Grand Prix, specifically, fourth last year, sixth in 2017 and seventh in 2016. While past performances aren’t always indicative of how you’ll perform in this year’s car, does it at least provide a mental advantage in that you know what you need out of the car to be successful in Austria?
“I’ve always enjoyed the Austrian Grand Prix. I’ve always had a good feeling there. I’m looking forward to going back there. I’m hoping the car’s going to work well. It’s a great place with a great atmosphere during the weekend. I’m hoping we can get back in the points.”
Rich Energy Haas F1 Team earned its best collective result in last year’s Austrian Grand Prix when you finished fourth and Magnussen finished fifth. It was more than a best-of-the-rest result as you were just one position shy of the podium, and it remains your best finish with the team. How was that result achieved?
“Last year in Austria we were fast from the first timed lap in free practice. The car felt really good over the whole weekend. We even managed to beat a Red Bull in qualifying, which was quite incredible. In the race we were best of the rest, then got a bit lucky with a few cars retiring in front of us. We took advantage of that. It was a good weekend and the car worked really well right from the start, which always makes your life a lot easier.”
Your teammate describes the Red Bull Ring as a short, roller-coaster ride. How do you describe it and how are you able to generate such high speeds on such a compact track?
“I agree with Kevin’s comments. It’s a very tight, tiny lap – just a minute and four seconds or so. It gives you a good feeling. It’s up and down with good corners. I’ve always enjoyed driving there a lot.”