After the disappointment of their home Grand Prix in Austria, the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team came back strongly at Silverstone, with Daniel Ricciardo taking his fourth podium finish of the season with third place, with Sebastian Vettel taking fifth.
After starting from eighth on the grid, Australian Ricciardo had a steady race that ultimately came to him. He gambled on making a set of the option tyres last for 37 laps, and took a podium place despite seeing the McLaren of Jenson Button closing him down in the last few laps as his tyres fell away.
“This is the best third place I’ve ever got,” admitted Ricciardo. “I’m not normally ecstatic with a third but I really am today, obviously to redeem myself from yesterday and also the fact that I don’t think we had an awesome race car today, but we made it work.
“We used the cards that we had and played the game well, so I was really happy to make a one-stop work. For the last two laps, I saw Jenson coming and thought I was probably going to be a bit vulnerable but we held on. The one stop wasn’t planned. We pitted quite early on the Prime because we were quite slow and it wasn’t working, so we came in for the Option and, at one point, my engineer pretty much said alright four laps to go on this tyre then let’s box.
“I said the pace seems OK, the tyres aren’t getting any worse and let’s try and stay out or at least think about keeping me out there and he said OK we’ll look at our options. Then, a few laps later he said do you think you can go to the end, there’s 15 or 20 laps to go, and I said, at the moment I think we can give it a crack. And so, yeah, we did and it paid off!”
Team-mate Vettel made a slow get-away and lost positions at the start to both McLaren drivers, and then fought a close battle with Fernando Alonso towards the end of the race in which he got the better of the Ferrari driver to finish fifth.
“It felt very close with Fernando – maybe a bit too close,” said Vettel. “It got a bit silly when we both started to complain about the other going off track; I don’t think the people care too much if the car is a little bit to the left or the right. I got the message that I should respect the limits and that he was complaining, so I was doing the same thing. I’m not sure who won the list keeping.
“I think twice it was maybe a bit too harsh into Turn 6, but it was good to get the move at the end. I expected to get third today, the pace was there but the strategy wasn’t right. I’m looking forward to my home race in Germany; it’s always special to race there.”
Team Principal Christian Horner was happy for Ricciardo to take the podium finish, and felt Vettel’s fifth was the maximum the German could have managed with the pace of the car on the day. He was happy though for the four-time World Champion to come out of the battle with Alonso’s Ferrari on top.
“After the initial delay we elected to change both drivers onto the harder tyre for the restart, which we believed would give us more strategic options,” explained Horner. “We decided to pit relatively early to try and get the undercut on the McLaren cars ahead and, whilst that was successful with both the cars, unfortunately it put us out of the range of a one stop with Sebastian.
“After we pitted him for the second time, he dropped behind Fernando and then had an enthralling battle with him, finally making a great move to get the pass. However it cost him a great deal of time to be able to catch the cars ahead, so fifth was the maximum we could achieve with Sebastian today.
“Daniel stopped slightly later for the first stop, which bought the possibility of a one stop into play and he was able to conserve his tyres extremely well to make it work. So it was great for Daniel at our second home race to get a podium today.”