The Infiniti Red Bull Racing team took home a good haul of points from Hockenheim, with Sebastian Vettel fourth and Daniel Ricciardo sixth. Ricciardo had to fight back after being delayed on the opening lap while avoiding a crash ahead of him, while both drivers had close on-track battles with the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso.
For the second race in a row, Vettel was embroiled in a duel with Alonso, but ultimately took the position much like he did at Silverstone two weeks ago. He believed fourth was the best result he could have achieved at Hockenheim, with the pace of the Mercedes and Williams teams as they are right now.
“It was fun with Fernando today – we started maybe where we left off in Silverstone,” said Vettel. “It was quite entertaining the first half of the race and at one point it was quite tight with both the Ferraris, but we managed to stay ahead.
“The second stop was a bit too close and Fernando was able to pass without too many difficulties, which put us on the back foot, but we decided to be a bit more aggressive towards the end and make sure we got the undercut and then we could put some gap between us, which was crucial for us as we were quite tight in terms of fuel towards the end of the race. I think that was the best we could get today. Daniel just missed passing Fernando at the end unfortunately.”
Team-mate Ricciardo took avoiding action at the start around the crash between Felipe Massa and Kevin Magnussen and dropped well down the order. His fight back was tremendous however, and he was inches away from claiming fifth as he drew alongside Alonso at the finish line. He had a great battle in the closing stages of the race with the Spaniard, and felt it was one of the most enjoyable races he has ever competed in.
“That was awesome fun, one of my most enjoyable races I’ve had,” said Ricciardo. “I mean, not on the first lap, obviously, that was just the wrong place at the wrong time. I wasn’t as worse off as Massa and hopefully he is okay. I was on the outside and the collision happened, I had to avoid it and went pretty far down the field, I don’t know exactly how far back.
“From then on I just got on to the radio and said let’s make an amazing recovery and make ourselves proud today. And I think we did that, we fought hard and we didn’t leave anything on the table. These are the moments and battles that I personally thrive off and enjoy. Fernando is known to be a tough racer and I thought who better to have a good fight with. I was on the Primes and he was on fresher Options and I gave it the best fight I could and, well… nearly!”
Team Principal Christian Horner felt the team did the best job they could, and praised both drivers for their efforts. He acknowledges Mercedes are still the team to beat, but insists Red Bull are not giving up trying to catch them.
“Fourth and sixth were the absolute maximum we could achieve out of today, especially after the first corner when Daniel did an amazing job to avoid the accident,” said Horner. “There was some great racing with Sebastian and Fernando early in the race and he was really our main competitor today.
“Our strategy worked out that we were able to beat him in the end reasonably comfortably with Sebastian and Daniel came close as well after recovering extremely well and fighting hard with some more great racing towards the end. It was an exciting Grand Prix – there’s still a big gap to Mercedes but we’re working hard to try and close it down.”