Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2020

F1 drivers praise decision to hold qualifying in “extreme conditions”

2020 Styrian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers praised the decision by race control to allow qualifying to take place in very wet conditions at the Red Bull Ring today.

Following fears qualifying would have to be postponed to Sunday because of heavy rain, as has happened in previous seasons, the session went ahead following a 46-minute delay.

Kevin Magnussen was among those who praised F1 for letting the session continue. “I feel like we should be allowed to drive in these extreme conditions,” he said. “It’s not right that we have an extreme wet tyre and we never really get to use it.

“Today we got to use it because the conditions were for extreme wets. So that’s the good balance. It’s not it’s not great if you red-flag the session and then once it goes green, you go straight out on inter. Then you’ve red-flagged for too long.

“Or red-flagged the session while people are on [intermediate tyres]. Give them a chance to go on full wet.

“I think once you can’t go in a straight line because of aquaplaning it’s too much, of course. But then just because there’s a puddle it doesn’t mean that you should red-flag a session. I think we can survive a puddle on the track. But if it’s like a constant patch of the whole straight is like standing water and you’re aquaplaning everywhere, then you have to red-flag it.”

Lewis Hamilton, who took pole position for the session as the track got steadily wetter, said “knowing when to go and when to choose not to let the cars run” is a particularly difficult decision for race control and he is “grateful” they did.

“Just as we came to qualifying obviously it was drying up or or wasn’t raining for a while. And just everyone got in the cars, it started raining again. So we obviously had that bit of a pause.

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“But once we got going, it was fine for the first session. It did get worse but I’m glad that they they allowed us to stay out. It was definitely on the limit but that’s that’s racing.

“I’m glad they didn’t take that away from us because today, it’s so special being out there, it’s so difficult. I don’t know how it comes across on the on the cameras, but it is the hardest conditions that we ever drive in. Just one small lapse of concentration and you’re off and it can be big or small. More chance of it being a big one. So I’m grateful for that.”

Carlos Sainz Jnr, who also reached Q3, said conditions were “really, really tricky” by the end of the session.

“But I’m glad that they left us out there because actually these cars generate so much spray and we evacuate so much water that there was a very thin line where if you put your tyres, there was actually some small amount of grip to actually run.

“I think if the session would have been stopped the track would have just got worse and worse and it would have been very difficult to get back out on track. But these cars do a good job of drying out tracks and keeping the water out of it.

“So I’m pleased. It was very, very difficult as I said, a lot of front locking, a lot of rear locking, a lot of improvisation on the car and that is the difference I think as drivers we enjoy enjoying the most because it’s the most natural instinct and what it comes to you as the first thing to do.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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13 comments on “F1 drivers praise decision to hold qualifying in “extreme conditions””

  1. That seriously was a good qualifying session .

    1. Chaitanya, and, in one respect, Liberty Media’s idea of a reverse grid for this weekend might have actually made things worse by denying us the opportunity to see this session and to see some impressive drives up and down the field (as others have noted, whilst the focus is on the front, there were some noteworthy performances in the midfield and tail end as well).

      1. It was the overglorified midfield Italian team who was pushing hard for that idea of reverse grid.

  2. I know this probably wasn’t the first time Pirelly full-wets were used without instantly changing to inters, but it sure felt like it

  3. That was an awesome Qualifying!

    What’s more – it perfectly showed how drivers having tyres, which don’t die in 1 fast lap, can attack multiple consequitive laps and create exciting Qualifying sessions.

    We don’t need new Qualifying formats, we need other tyre Supplier!

    1. The tyre supplier isn’t the problem. It’s F1 who asks them to make these highly degrading dry tyres so as to make the races less predictable. It wouldn’t change athing to have different supplier, because they would be forced to do exactly the same. And it’s a difficult balance. While a durable tyre could make qualifying more interesting, it would make races more boring since it would take an important challenge away as well as making strategies less versatile.

  4. It was a good qualifying session, proving that it can happen if needs be…

    NB headline. Should be plural rather than singular :/

  5. Great quali, great decision!

  6. My warmest greetings to everyone who took a decision to allow this qualifying to begin. Finally, the best drivers had a chance to show why they are in F1! Full-wets must be prepared to allow maximum grip even if it means “very low speed” driving. Well done, Pirelli!

  7. I honestly believe that the majority of racing drivers are in it for the thrill – the buzz – the rush of the risk and the desire to prove themselves whilst doing what they love to do.

    Being well paid is nice.
    Being admired is nice.
    Being able to say you competed in something like this is special.

  8. Yes, was a great qualifying, hamilton got in pole not only thanks to the car, verstappen’s last lap was crazy risk, loved it, and indeed very rare to get a full full wet qualifying session.

  9. Yes, us spectators praise that decission aswell.

    It was more ‘show’ than last week, proper fun to watch.

  10. Vamos Carlos!

Comments are closed.