Infiniti Red Bull Racing endured a mixed day around the streets of Monte Carlo with Daniel Ricciardo securing his second consecutive third place finish but team-mate and four-time Formula 1 World Drivers’ Champion Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire with an issue with his power unit early in the race.
Ricciardo started third but dropped to fifth at the start, falling behind Kimi Raikkonen and team-mate Vettel, but after Vettel retired and Raikkonen was forced into the pits with a puncture, Ricciardo drove impeccably and in the final stint closed on Lewis Hamilton and finished only four tenths of a second behind the Mercedes driver for the final podium position.
“The race really came to life towards the end,” said Ricciardo. “It started off not so well and it’s a really short run to Turn 1, so that was frustrating. Then we got Seb due to his reliability and Kimi had a puncture and we sort of got back to where we were hoping to be.
“After the re-start we were just saving the tyres to the point that we could get to the end and then, with 20 laps to go, I thought they would be okay so I pushed. It was the first time in the whole race that I felt like I was really driving the car and we caught Lewis. It was fun but I couldn’t get him, so I have to say the race finished better than it started.”
Team-mate Vettel made a good start and was fourth behind Raikkonen’s Ferrari when a problem developed in his power unit that necessitated him pulling into the pit lane to retire.
“It’s disappointing,” admitted a gloomy Vettel. “I had a good start and then we lost boost pressure from the turbo, so I had no power and had to retire. The team did everything they could. I felt quite helpless in the car, so I was asking for an answer of what we could do, but there wasn’t anything at that stage. We fixed some problems yesterday with the ERS, but some more came today with the turbo, but we will move forwards and it will be good for us soon.”
Team Principle Christian Horner apologised to Vettel for the power unit problem, but praised the efforts of Ricciardo that saw the Australian finish closer to the Mercedes than anyone has managed so far in 2014. He also took some time to congratulate the Marussia team on scoring points for the first time.
“First of all we have to apologise to Sebastian for an issue with his power unit,” said Horner. “It’s frustrating that, after making a good start, his race came to a very premature end. Thereafter, Daniel benefited from a puncture from Kimi to get some free air and was able to run his own race.
“We closed down the gap to the Mercedes at the end and got very close to Lewis, but round the streets of Monte Carlo it’s always extremely difficult to overtake. It’s the closest we’ve been to Mercedes all year and it’s the first time we’ve been really racing them this season, so there are signs of progress and we’re certainly getting closer.
“Finally, congratulations to the Marussia team on getting their first points in Formula One. Scoring points in this business is never easy and for a new team that stuck at it and scored their first points today, they deserve a large amount of recognition for that.”