Red Bull enjoyed an eventful afternoon at the Chinese Grand Prix but eventually managed to come away from Shanghai with 22 points after Mark Webber finished fourth and Sebastian Vettel came home fifth.
The team struggled for straight-line speed and, like most teams, had trouble with the high degradation on the Pirelli tyres. Furthermore, both drivers seemed to spent the entire race in traffic.
“Trying to get the balance right for the whole race was very tricky,” explained Webber. “In the end, fourth was not too bad; it wasn't the maximum, but it's very tight between the teams at the front. At some points of the race, I saw P13/ P14 on the board, so I have to be satisfied with fourth place.
“I made a few mistakes running wide trying to push onto the back straight, it's hard there as you can get onto the marbles. I think the strategy was good, but it's always a gamble with the three stop, as to what traffic there might be.
“Congratulations to Nico, he deserves the victory, and also to Mercedes. For me it's three fourths on the bounce now, it's good points and we leave here reasonably satisfied, but we need to keep boxing and keep improving.”
Vettel had a bad start off the line and was struggling with the car for most of the race, and so was actually reasonably happy with his fifth-place finish. “I had no tyres left at the end of the race,” the world champion said. “Sitting in the car, I was reacting with brake balance, diff, everything to try and keep the tyres, but by the last few laps, I knew the only chance was trying to keep ahead of Kimi; I think he ran into the same sort of problem.
“We got some good points and it was a good recovery from 15th. Mercedes won pretty comfortably today, so well done to them. We were generally too slow on the straights, and we're losing time there; it made it difficult to pass other people.
“But overall, I'm pretty happy with fifth given the poor first lap. I missed out on the start, I wasn't entirely happy finding the revs and I lost the initial bit when the lights went off. Usually I'm pretty quick with that, but today I was one of the last ones. The first lap wasn't great, but with the strategy we managed to come back.
“I think the weekend was good for us, we learned a lot and hopefully we will take these lessons on board and go in the right direction for next week.”
Team princpal Christian Horner agreed that, considering how the race started, the team did well to score as many points as they did. He also explained the thinking behind the race strategies of his two drivers.
“That was very busy and action packed race,” said Horner. ” Ultimately from where we started, and where we were on the first lap, we faced some difficult strategic decisions.
“We were the first to stop with Mark, which was very aggressive. We stopped early with Sebastian and split the strategies at that point – Mark on a three-stop and Seb onto a two-stop and the race started to unfold. Our race pace was pretty strong and we got amongst the McLarens.
“Unfortunately, the front left tyre on Sebastian's car took a real hammering, possibly behind Kimi, and he didn't have anything left tyre-wise by the end of the race, but nonetheless having been fifteenth on the first lap, fifth is still a strong result. Mark also went onto a long last stint. He had a great scrap with Lewis, we got Mark track position to Lewis and he just lost out at the end there. Nonetheless, it was a good haul of points.
“Congratulations to Nico Rosberg and to Mercedes on their Grand Prix victory.”