Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 leads George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W14, Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W14 and the rest of the field into turn one at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of Qatar at Lusail International Circuit on October 08, 2023 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1: 2023 Qatar GP Post-Race Quotes

Quotes from all 20 drivers and ten Team Principals after the 2023 Qatar GP won by Max Verstappen in his #1 Red Bull Honda.

Oracle Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen (1st): “My hunger for winning hasn’t stopped since winning the Championship, I want to keep going. We had a really good race today. I think what really made it for me was the first stint where we were strong and good on the tires. I had a slow stop at the end so the McLarens were quite close at the checkered flag, but they have been quick all weekend. Of course, with the mandatory three stops, we weren’t able to get the best out of our car as we are good on tires, but we won and that’s the main thing. My hunger for winning hasn’t stopped since winning the Championship, I want to keep going and maximizing the performance of the car each weekend.”

Sergio Perez (10th): “We lost our car yesterday due to the incident in the Sprint and we had a completely new car for today. It was therefore very difficult to draw conclusions with the car we had, we had to revert on the specifications. It was a difficult afternoon, starting on the hard tire really complicated things for us, especially with the early Safety Car. It meant we couldn’t warm up the tires and then we ended up losing positions and couldn’t make progress quickly enough, and as much as we should have. By the time I got the temperature in the tires we had to pit, due to the mandatory pit stops. We lost our car yesterday due to the incident in the Sprint and we had a completely new car for today. It was therefore very difficult to draw conclusions with the car we had, we had to revert on the specifications. I really suffered with the new track limits, they were brought in very last minute, which I don’t think is right but it is the same for everyone and I should have done a better job. It was hard for me to judge them inside the car because I think, a little like in Austria, I am sitting a bit too low and that made things harder, I should have maybe altered that when the changes were implemented. Overall, we have plenty to look at and I will be in the factory this week working hard with my Team.”

Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Qatar at Lusail International Circuit on October 06, 2023 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Qatar at Lusail International Circuit on October 06, 2023 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: “In a race that was very prescriptive and sub optimal to the fastest race, Max drove well and very controlled, trying to manage the tires. For Max it was an incredible win. It’s been a very tough race, both physically and mentally, for all the drivers. In a race that was very prescriptive and sub optimal to the fastest race, Max drove well and very controlled, trying to manage the tires. Having an enforced three stop was not the fastest way to run that race so it was a case of making sure we covered off the Safety Car possibilities and managed the deg but the strategy team did their work, got their sums right and helped deliver the victory. For Checo it was another tough race. The 15 seconds of penalties really impacted his overall performance and meant a missed opportunity to capitalize on points with Lewis out of the race. Checo just needs to get that form back that he had at the beginning of the season and we know he can do it. He knows he can do it. He has our full support. We head West now and to the Americas where Checo drives well so we look forward to some stronger performances in the quest for second place.”

2023 F1 World Drivers Champion Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing poses for a photo with Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner after the Sprint ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Qatar at Lusail International Circuit on October 07, 2023 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
2023 F1 World Drivers Champion Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing poses for a photo with Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner after the Sprint ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Qatar at Lusail International Circuit on October 07, 2023 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Scuderia Ferrari

Charles Leclerc (5th): “We maximized our potential today. It was a case of damage limitation, with Carlos already out just before the start, In the race, we had to give ourselves a bit of a margin with the way I was driving and bring it home safely. We expected McLaren to be strong, but not as strong as what we saw this weekend. Mercedes also had a strong pace and I think that George (Russell) wasn’t pushing as hard as he could. Physically, it was the toughest race of my career. That was due to a number of things: very high temperatures, three stops – which meant putting in qualifying laps in every lap of the race – and as a result, much more stress in the high-speed corners. Next up is the triple header and we will do everything to finish the season on a high, especially in our battle in the Constructors’ Championship.”

Charles Leclerc - credit: @Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
Charles Leclerc – credit: @Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Carlos Sainz (DNS): “We are disappointed as today was a lost opportunity. We all know motorsport can be cruel at times and today I got a taste of the worst of it. It’s a pity because I think I could have run a good race today and scored some important points for the Constructors’ Championship. As in every situation, there’s always something to learn for the future. Now it’s time to focus on the last five races of the year.”

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: “We can’t be satisfied with how things went this weekend, because we have lost points to our closest rival and we were unable to get Carlos to the grid because of a reliability problem. However, I think we did the most we could today with Charles. In extreme conditions he drove very well and the mechanics delivered three excellent pit stops. Maybe in the middle stint, we were slowed a bit by traffic, but anyway, it would not have been easy to keep George Russell behind us today. It was a chaotic weekend, held in very tough conditions with several unexpected factors, starting with the problems linked to the curbs, which might have actually had something to do with the failure on Carlos’ SF-23. We go home with 10 points from Charles’ fifth place and will start preparing for the triple-header in the Americas which look like being very tough.”

Fred Vasseur - credit: @Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
Fred Vasseur – credit: @Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

George Russell (4th): “The incident at turn one was absolutely not intentional from either myself or Lewis. Visibility is so difficult in these cars and especially when you’re racing. There are big blind spots and we both have so much respect for one another. We will make sure we come out of this stronger. There are still lots of positives to take away from this weekend though. Our goal is to get P2 in the Constructors’ and we managed to outscore Ferrari this weekend. Our pace was very strong too so we can be confident going into these final five races. The Grand Prix itself was incredibly tough. It was by far the most physical race I’ve ever competed. It was like being inside an oven! I was pretty happy to see the checkered flag.”

2023 Qatar Grand Prix, - LAT Images
2023 Qatar Grand Prix, – LAT Images

Lewis Hamilton (DNF, Accident): “It was a big opportunity to get some good points for the team and in the heat of the moment, I didn’t really understand what happened. I felt the tap from behind, but I don’t think George had anywhere to go. It was a really unfortunate situation and I feel really sorry for the entire team. Massive apologies to everyone back at Brackley and Brixworth, and I take full responsibility. Everybody is working incredibly hard so it’s massively gutting to have a result like this. The positives are that the pace of the car was strong across the weekend. George was also able to do a good job of getting back through to score some important points.”

Lewis Hamilton Walks back to the pits
Lewis Hamilton Walks back to the pits

Andrew Shovlin: “We’ve had a tough run of races in the last month. You do get those in sport, though, and it’s a good test of how strong your team is. There’s very little else to say about the incident at turn one. Neither driver had the intention of coming together. Lewis took full blame for the incident and George acknowledged the role that these sizeable cars can have in such moments. Ultimately, both are upset that it’s cost the team a lot of points. We know both are committed to making sure we can secure second in the Constructors’. We have five races to go and we’re looking forward not backwards. There are positives we can take away from Qatar. We had good pace today; George recovered from dead last to fourth. Operationally, the team worked extremely well across a very challenging weekend. We have a decent car, two strong drivers and a very committed team in Brackley and Brixworth behind them.”

BWT Alpine F1 Team

Esteban Ocon (7th): “What a tough and physically difficult race for all of us! In the end, it was a great result for us in seventh place and six points in the bag. We had a great start to move up to fifth and credit to the team too for a well-executed strategy and pit stops. The conditions were extremely tough in the car and I did not feel well physically in the first half of the race. I was able to pull it together and focus on what I needed to do. We had a couple of good overtakes along the way and we brought home six valuable points for the team. Now it’s time for rest and recovery and then prepare for a demanding triple-header in the Americas and we’ll look to carry this momentum into Austin.”

Pierre Gasly (12th): “There was potential to score points today so, of course, I am disappointed in how the race played out. It was not a good day, it’s a matter of centimeters on track limits – that is on me, though – and today I paid a big price for it. It’s frustrating as we definitely had the pace to score solid points for the team. We had a small energy management issue to manage during the race, which cost me some pace. I probably tried to take too many risks and overcompensate for that and pushed too close to the limit. I’ll learn from it and move on. It’s been a fairly positive weekend for the team, we have lots to learn and now we look forward to an intense triple header coming up, starting in Austin.”

Bruno Famin, Interim Team Principal: “We leave Qatar with more points on the board after Esteban’s seventh place finish; a very smart, clinical and well measured drive in challenging conditions. Pierre too had a strong race – it looked promising for a good double team result – but unfortunately his efforts went without reward due to penalties for track limits. We have lots to learn going forwards but, in summary, it’s been a positive weekend for the team across all three days. We will continue our hard work back at the factories, take as many learnings as we can and look to convert those into a good team result in the Austin Sprint weekend.”

McLaren F1 Team

Oscar Piastri (2nd): “Very, very happy. Turn 1 was nice. That was in the game-plan before the race. We had a really impressive pace. It was definitely the hardest race I’ve had in my life. It was hot and basically flat-out the entire time. It was 57 qualifying laps, which I definitely feel that I’ve done. A really good race. My thanks go to the team for providing Lando and myself with a car that means we can fight at the front more consistently. There were some great strategy calls today, brilliant pit-stops and despite the challenging conditions, we were able to put it all together on the day. A great day.”

Lando Norris (3rd): “It was just a mega race from start to finish. We had a good opening lap. I learned from my mistake yesterday of going wide, I said I’d go tight, and I did, and it worked out. So, a good start, we had good pace throughout the whole thing. Probably the best pace out there today, so I’m happy. Stressful, hot, sweaty, little bit tired but a great job for the team. Three in a row now. A 1.8 second pit-stop as well! I think the three-stop made it a lot harder physically. You could push a lot more. Even the last stint, you could pretty much push flat-out. This was one of the hardest races I’ve done, but it’s a nice challenge and congrats to Oscar. Thank you to the team for their incredible work to put us in this position.”

Andrea Stella, Team Principal: “A fantastic day for the team as we achieve our 500th podium in Formula 1. Both Lando and Oscar drove great races in difficult conditions to finish P2 and P3 to add to the success in the Sprint yesterday. A double podium rewards the team both trackside and at the factory for their brilliant work and my thanks go to them for their continued commitment and dedication to McLaren. The tire limitations provided an interesting challenge for the team as we had to adapt our strategy and prepare the team for six stops. However, they managed very well and the brilliant work by the pit-stop crew saw the fastest stop of 1.8 seconds. We now turn our focus to a busy triple-header and continue to close the gap to our competitors. We must remain with our feet on the ground, however for now, we will celebrate the success of a very strong weekend.”

Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake

Valtteri Bottas (8th): “Today has been a great day for us, and I am really pleased with the result we brought home. It was hot and humid out there, quite extreme actually, and the conditions made it an even tougher job, but we knew we had the potential to do well – and we achieved that, thanks to a clean strategy and a flawless race. This double-points finish is a great reward for the whole team, both here and back home in Hinwil, for the hard work done over the past weeks on the upgrades; we keep extracting more from this package, which is encouraging for the races ahead. With the points scored today, we got to improve our position in the Constructor Championship, moving up to P8, and we’ll keep working hard to further advance and meet our season target.”

Guanyu Zhou (9th): “It was an amazing race, going from the back of the grid to the top ten: we had a good strategy, we managed the tires well and did not make any mistake, and all this was the key to tonight’s result. We were quick on the hard tires, our pace on the final stint was fantastic, and this allowed us to keep up with our rivals: by the final stint, it was quite unclear where everyone was with the penalty, so it’s great to be ninth at the end. It was not an easy race, we had to pull off some good overtakes and defend hard at times: it was important to keep within track limits, but we managed well. I’m really exhausted, I’ve never been pushing so hard in such conditions, but this is an amazing reward for all of us after such a tough period. We never gave up when things were difficult, and today we put it together when it mattered.”

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: “Tonight we were able to deliver the race we had been aiming for, for a very long time. We knew we had the potential to score points but we had to execute the perfect race to bring home this result. The strategy was spot on, the pit-stops faultless and the drivers delivered two solid performances, pushing from the first to the last lap with no mistakes. It’s a nice reward for all the work done by the team in Hinwil, our race team here and Ferrari: we keep bringing new upgrades to track, while also relentlessly continuing, in the factory, in the sim and trackside, to understand and extract performance from our evolving package. Tonight’s result boosts our confidence and reinforces our belief that we can score points in any race if we do our job like tonight. Now, we need to make another step forward and build on the foundations we laid tonight to keep growing as a team for the remainder of the season. Our target remains seventh place in the championship, we will never stop reiterating that. It will be difficult, it will be a fight, but we have the people, the drivers and the commitment we need for it. It will be hard, of course – but we will also make it hard for our competitors.”

Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

Fernando Alonso (6th): “It was an extreme race today with the hot conditions and perhaps one of the toughest we’ve faced. We also had an issue with the seat being very hot from around Lap 15, which made it quite challenging. We were competitive though and I’m happy to finish sixth after a few weekends where we didn’t have the pace. We finished ninth in Monza, eighth in Japan and here I felt like we were in the mix. Perhaps as a sport we can think about some measures in the future if we experience these extreme temperatures again.”

Lance Stroll (11th): “We finished ninth on track today, with track limit penalties demoting us to 11th. It’s disappointing not to take any points away having raced so hard in such physically demanding conditions. The temperatures we faced out there were extreme – more so than any other event – and there are lots of tight corners here so you’re constantly battling the g-forces. There are positives to take away though; the car had more pace today and the team made some good strategy decisions with the regulated tire constraints. The team in the garage did a great job in such challenging conditions, too.”

Mike Krack, Chief Operating Officer: “We scored important points today, but it was not an easy race with the intense heat and tire strategies available to us. They were tough conditions to go racing in and we saw all the drivers needing to hydrate after the race. I don’t think there was much more available to us in terms of the overall results. We had a good opening stint and the strategy calls were the right ones. Fernando suffered with some floor damage after a trip through the gravel, which made it difficult to stay ahead of Charles [Leclerc]. Lance had a good recovery from his starting position and was on track for points without the post-race time penalties. It is clear we need to find more performance and our full attention is on doing that for the upcoming races.”

Haas F1 Team

Kevin Magnussen (14th): “It was unbelievably hard and very hot. It seemed a lot hotter than any other race I’ve ever done. I think we had a positive day although not from a points or Constructors’ Championship standings perspective, we lost a position there which is very disappointing, but there are five races left. It’s a tight fight with those guys but we’ve got to hang on and try our best to get them back. We get an upgrade next race and we’re all very happy about that, and excited to work with that upgrade. We’re not expecting a miracle for the first race maybe, and it might take a race or two to really get the most out of it, but there’s still some positive stuff to look forward to.”

Nico Hulkenberg (16th): “I realized before I stopped but you can’t reverse and the damage was done, so that was obviously a big mistake from me today. That stopped our race before it even started. The conditions were very extreme, the heat, humidity, the pace was incredibly high with the new asphalt so I think we’re all feeling it.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: “The end of this spec car ended worse than it started, so we’re thankful to see the end of it, but today was also not a good day. Nico starting in the wrong grid spot at the beginning didn’t help at all because once you get 10 seconds behind at the start of the race where we are, you have no chance. We fought but it wasn’t enough. We’ll come back in Austin with the upgrade and hopefully it works and at least we know we’re doing things to move forward – we’re not sitting here waiting for the end of the season. We will work hard until the end of the season.”

Scuderia AlphaTauri

Yuki Tsunoda (15th): “Today was tough and felt hotter than Singapore, so it was definitely a challenging race. My start was good and smooth, I made up places and was in the points. It felt ok inside the car and the balance was also good, but we were just too slow and couldn’t keep up the pace. It’s not easy to find a quick solution, but I’m confident that together with the team, we’ll look through the data and see how we can improve for the future. I think Liam might not be driving for us in Austin, so I want to say thank you to him because he did a very good job. I enjoyed the time together as good friends and teammates.”

Liam Lawson (17th): “It was really tricky out there. From the start of the race, we had no speed, and throughout, we were managing some stability issues, so it’s something to analyze. It was very hot, and when you’re struggling with the car, it makes it even harder to extract the pace. It seems to be my last race with the team before Daniel comes back, so I want to say a big thank you to the team, and it’s a shame to finish like this.”

Guillaume Dezoteux, Head of Vehicle Performance: “The race today was constrained by a maximum number of laps we could do on each tire set, which was 18. For Liam, starting towards the back of the grid, we tried to start aggressively on the soft compound tire in an attempt to attack other cars at the start and pit at the first opportunity, which happened during the Safety Car period. Unfortunately, Liam has been struggling to find the pace after his first stop. The pace in the third stint was closer to Yuki, and he was able to further improve towards the end of the race on the medium compound, but it wasn’t good enough to catch the cars in front. Yuki’s race was also difficult. In his third stint, he was able to stay with Magnussen, but a battle with him and Albon – who had just pitted behind – overstressed his tires, and he started to lose ground. Since Singapore, we have been on a positive trend with our car performance, both in qualifying and the race, but here in Doha, we didn’t manage to achieve the same. We need to analyze the balance evolution and tire status because we couldn’t match our direct competitors today.”

Williams Racing

Alexander Albon (13th): “Firstly, I’m glad Logan is okay as it’s never easy to retire from a race. I think this race goes down as one of the toughest of the year, as I suffered with heat exposure myself. Our pace was pretty strong, but I need to review what happened, as we were in what felt like a good position, but we ended up falling out of the points. We also struggled with a bit of an overheating cockpit, so we’ll also need to review this. The gap to our competitors is closing, so it’s a tough weekend to walk away from but we’ll review the data and see what happened.”

Logan Sargeant (DNF, Retired): “The main thing is Alex and I are both ok. I’ve been feeling unwell all week which didn’t help with the dehydration in this heat. The last thing I wanted to do was retire the car, but I had to put my health first. Sorry to the team for not being able to reach the finish line. They’ve done an incredible job all weekend in these intense conditions. I’ll be taking next week to fully recover and then bounce back in Austin which I’m really looking forward to.”

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: “Despite the evening race, it was hot and humid, nonetheless. Racing in these conditions at this high-speed circuit is very physical for the drivers and led to them both ending the race dehydrated. Given the build-up to the race and our performance in the Sprint Race yesterday, we were probably expecting a little bit more today, but we were never quite able to find Alex the free air he needed to make really good progress. Being held-up by Hulkenberg early in the race after he started in the wrong grid position did not help us in this regard. Logan has driven very well all weekend and shown good pace, especially in the tricky conditions we had on Friday. It was a shame that we didn’t get to see his full pace today after he was forced to retire. We now look forward to the triple header, which begins in Austin before we move onto Mexico and Brazil.”

Pirelli Tires


“This was a very demanding weekend on many fronts, which ended with a race that, given the circumstances, was interesting and closely contested. The committed and transparent collaboration between all of Formula 1’s stakeholders – the FIA, Formula 1, the teams and drivers – meant that there was a rapid and efficient reaction to solving a safety issue that involved us at first hand. Today, the sport was able to put on an interesting show for the spectators with a lot of overtaking and duels, despite the limitations imposed by the FIA. In the coming weeks, we will continue to analyze the tires used this weekend to acquire as much information as possible and share that with the FIA.

From what we saw this evening, graining was a very significant factor with all the compounds. It’s severity gradually decreased as the track rubbered-in. Today the wind was much weaker than in the past days which reduced the amount of sand and dust blown onto the track surface, even if it did not disappear completely. Thermal degradation also had an effect on tire performance, with track temperatures never dropping below 36 °C.”


At the start of the day, the FIA decided to impose a maximum limit of 18 on the number of laps that could be completed by any set of tires in the race. Earlier, Pirelli had presented the FIA with the findings of the analysis of the tire sets returned by the teams yesterday, which showed there was not a significant enough reduction in the possibility of micro tears in the sidewall, between the topping compound and the carcass cords because of the impact generated from repeatedly driving over the curbs at some corners, as a result of measures introduced before the Sprint Shootout. This meant that three pit stops would be required for a driver to complete the 57 laps race distance.

For the start, the majority of drivers went with the Medium. The exceptions were Hamilton, Bottas, Magnussen and Lawson, who preferred to start on the Soft, while Perez, starting from pit-lane, fitted a set of Hard. As expected, the C3 was only chosen by those who were looking to make up places at the start or in the closing stages of the race when the fuel load would be lower.

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