Red Bull Racing had a very disappointing race in today’s Australian Grand Prix with Mark Webber finishing ninth and Sebastian Vettel retiring from the race while leading.
After both drivers qualified on the front row of the grid yesterday, there were high hopes for a very strong result today, and understandably the team are ‘massively disappointed’ to be leaving Melbourne with just two points.
Mark Webber, who has never finished higher at his home race than the fifth place he scored on his debut, was on course for a sixth place finish before he collided with Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap. The Aussie summarised his race: “My start was tricky with a lot of wheel spin, but I was happy to get away with third. After the safety car, the race was going well. I wanted to get in on the lap that Sebastian pitted to change to dry tyres, but obviously whoever's ahead has the call so I had to do an extra lap on the intermediates, which lost me a lot of time.
“Leaving the pits I couldn't get second gear and went wide. I knew I had to make the moves on track. We then decided to pit which worked out okay. At the end of the race we caught the leading guys, but then we had the incident. I apologise to Lewis about that.
“I lost all down-force in the front of the car when I got close to them, the car lifted and I slid into the back of him. Unfortunately it had looked like a good finish, but it's still very difficult to follow in these cars. I went down fighting, I wasn't happy with sixth place and wanted to get a podium, but in the end it was a tough day for the team. We'll be back.”
For the second race running Sebastian Vettel had a reliability problem while leading. This time suspected brake failure left him beached in a gravel trap. “I felt that something was wrong one lap earlier than I went off. I had some sparks coming up from the front left wheel; we didn't know what it was and so wanted to pit. Then, a couple of corners before, I had huge vibrations building up and as soon as I touched the brakes, I had some sort of failure going in to Turn 13 and ended up in the gravel. There was nothing I could have done, I lost the car and that was it.
“It's a shame as I think we had the race in total control at every stage, even though the conditions were difficult. But to win you have to finish. It breaks my balls not to get the win, but there's still a long way to go in this Championship. We're working hard to get on top the reliability issues and we hope to have a solid race and see the chequered flag in Malaysia.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was understandably annoyed after the race. “Ultimately an extremely disappointing day. Having been in control of the race, the second in succession, Sebastian unfortunately retired with what looks like a wheel related issue (front left), which certainly cost him a comfortable race win today. It was cruel luck for him for the second year in a row here in Australia.
“With Mark, at his home GP, he dropped a place at the start, but then was making progress in the damp and tricky conditions. We had to leave him a lap longer than Sebastian to change to dry tyres, as he would have lost too much ground pitting immediately behind him. As the circuit went from intermediates to slicks, he made a couple of good passing moves on Massa, but then, unfortunately, he got tangled up with Hamilton for the first time in the race.
“After everything had settled down and with the position he was running in, we decided we had nothing to lose by putting another set of tyres on to let him have a go in the last ten laps, which Rosberg and Hamilton also elected to do. We got Rosberg at the stop but Lewis and Mark got tangled together which resulted in Mark having to pit again for a nose change. Ninth place after starting the race with two cars at the front of the grid is massively disappointing.”
Engine supplier Renault managed to find one small silver lining in the dark grey cloud that was Red Bull’s race, but Fabrice Lom, the Principal Engineer Track Support for the team was very disappointed as well. “What a sad result. The only good thing from today was that we didn't have any engine problems, but that's it. It's a sad day – we had the tool to win the race. We need to tie all our work in all areas together in order to bounce back for the next race. I would like to congratulate Renault for their second place – well done to them.”