Lewis Hamilton rebounded strongly to win the Styrian Grand Prix after struggling in the opening race of the season at the same circuit.
Formula 1 started 2020 with back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring, and Hamilton was beaten to pole position by Valtteri Bottas in the first race, ending up fourth behind the Finn after an in-race time penalty. But he bounced back with a stunning pole position in the wet and then eased to victory ahead of Bottas in Sunday’s second race, crediting his team for helping him complete the turnaround.
“I’m so grateful to be back in first place and honestly it feels like a long time coming, obviously since the last race last year, and to come back this weekend after a difficult weekend last week, this is a great, great step forwards,” Hamilton said.
“It’s never easy. It was a challenge this weekend, especially with the Red Bulls really picking up their pace on Friday and we obviously had some sort of issue that we were able to rectify from Friday afternoon — nothing major. And also, the team did a fantastic job over the week to improve on some of the issues we had in the last race.
“Today, being able to attack a little bit more and really utilize the car. I think the Red Bulls…. well, Max (Verstappen) was quite quick today, so it just shows that they’re definitely not a pushover. I think they’ve done a fantastic job so we’ve got to stay on our toes. We’ve got to go to places like Hungary, where the shorter Red Bull is usually very, very strong.
“Otherwise, it’s been a great two days and a great way to bounce back from a difficult weekend in the first weekend, where Valtteri was incredibly strong. A big, big thank you to everyone back at the factory and everyone here who has stayed. The team has stayed all week and been in every single day, not leaving a stone unturned, so that’s a huge confidence boost.”
Hamilton confirmed Mercedes found a remedy for the gearbox issues that hampered both cars during the first race in Austria last weekend.
“It wasn’t a problem today. The guys did a great job during the week, understanding what the issue was. It was nothing particularly major but of course it could have had quite large consequences, so, they did a great job to rectify it and we haven’t really heard them mention it since we started the weekend. So, we were able to drive as normal today.”