Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo were quick to defuse a possible dispute over team orders today at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Ricciardo once again got the better of his teammate by finishing in 4th while the quadruple World Champion could only manage 5th.
Vettel initially refused to allow Ricciardo through when the team demanded he do so because the Australian was faster. Vettel questioned the order, asking what tyre Ricciardo was on. When he was told they were both on the same tyre, Vettel responded with: “tough luck.”
The German did eventually move aside two laps later when the team informed him they were on different strategies, it’s the second race in succession has received an order to move aside.
“I moved over for Daniel once I knew that we were on different strategies,” said Vettel. “When I was first asked, I didn’t understand as were on the same tyre, unlike in Bahrain, so I double checked.”
“When the team said we were on a different strategy, I moved over and then, as the race went on, I saw more and more that I didn’t have the pace. There was no point in holding Dan back.”
Ricciardo was also quick to play down the incident, Ricciardo said: “With Seb, we were racing and you always want to hold on to your position, but the team radioed and he let me through.”
After losing the FIA appeal to reinstate his Australian Grand Prix podium this week Ricciardo appears hungrier than ever to finish in the top three, in China he wasn’t too far away.
“At the end I was doing all I could to catch Alonso and I think we got to within a couple of seconds of him as we went over the line. It’s going well with the team, I feel comfortable here and I did the best I could today. I really want that podium and we’re getting close!”
If Ricciardo is the happiest man on the grid, Vettel certainly appears to be the most glum. He has been struggling a bit this year and the once seemingly invincible man all of a sudden comes across as vulnerable.
“I’m not yet where I want to be with the car, but it’s an on-going process; hopefully at the next few races we will make some more steps in the right direction. Our weakness isn’t in the corners, but on the straights. The first stint today was okay but after that I’m not sure what happened.”