On the track where Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has spent millions upgrading, the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team endured a torrid Austrian Grand Prix. Daniel Ricciardo could only manage an eighth place finish, while team-mate Sebastian Vettel suffered his third retirement of the season.
Ricciardo started fifth but lost places at the start after being pushed wide, and was set to finish ninth before a great move around the outside of the Sahara Force India of Nico Hulkenberg at turn five brought him eighth. He knows the race wasn’t great for the team, especially after taking his maiden victory last time out in Canada.
“It was frustrating today; it’s never nice going backwards on the first lap,” said Ricciardo. “Off the line, it was actually one of our better starts this year, although I think Kevin (Magnussen) on the inside got a better one.
“I tried to hang around on the outside, which was the wrong thing to do, because you basically lose too much on the exit. So I then got swamped on the long straight. We already struggle on the long straights as it is, but even more when you get a poor exit. So I was frustrated with myself and I will have to look if maybe I could have cut to the inside and done anything better.
“From that point on we tried to push and catch the others, but we just didn’t have that much pace. It wasn’t until the last bit that we were able to overtake the Force India. The last lap move put a little smile on my face, but other than that it wasn’t a great race for us – we’ve got a bit of work to do.”
Vettel suffered his third retirement of the season in Austria, following on after Australia and Monaco. On lap two, he lost power and a lap, and then later on clashed with Esteban Gutierrez in the Sauber and broke his front wing. Despite his issues and early retirement, the German felt he got some good knowledge out of his race and felt the pace was strong especially on the soft tyre. He also declared that his retirement while a lap down was to save mileage on the Renault power unit.
“We stopped because we wanted to save some mileage,” admitted Vettel. “We were hoping for a safety car but it wasn’t coming. Obviously, it has been a bad first half of the season with a few retirements and other problems, but I guess it’s part of the game.
“Equally we were able to learn a lot today and it’s good that Daniel got some points for us. It would be bad to say I got used to it, but obviously we have had a lot of problems so far already and I got calmer when the problem occurred. Our pace looked alright and we were able to go quite far on the soft tyre, but we were a lap down so in the end we decided to save some mileage.”
Team Principal Christian Horner felt the straight line speed of the Red Bull cost them to opportunity of a good result in Austria, and that Ricciardo’s eighth place was probably the best result possible. He was obviously disappointed with Vettel’s early problems and eventual retirement
“It was a tough day on track – unfortunately Sebastian lost power right from the first lap with an engine electrical issue, which we are yet to understand what caused it,” said Horner. “Daniel, after getting a bit wide after Turn 1, was never able to really recover.
“Our lack of straight line speed seemed to really hurt us today and despite a great move on the last lap round the outside of Turn 5 by Daniel, P8 was probably the maximum today.
“It’s been a fantastic event for the fans of Formula One this weekend. There’s been a huge crowd and it’s great for Formula One to be back in Austria. Congratulations to Mr Mateschitz and everyone in Red Bull for putting on such a wonderful event and showing how a Formula One event can and should be promoted.”