Both Red Bull drivers endured a long, tough grand prix in Hungary this afternoon: Sebastian Vettel found himself stuck behind Jenson Button, unable to show the true race pace of his RB8, and Mark Webber lost places through trying a three-stop strategy.
Vettel eventually finished fourth, and is now just two points behind his team-mate in the championship standings.
“I think our overall speed was better than the actual result we got today,” said the German. “I was stuck behind Jenson in the first stint; he was slower and we lost some time there, but of course you can't just pit and come out in clean air, there's traffic, so there's not much we could have done. The tyres were not too bad at the end, but we thought that we should try something, the tyres on the cars in front could have fallen off, but it didn't happen.
WThe race pace was very good, so now it's up to us to do better in qualifying and at the start; then it's a different race.”
Webber finished eighth, an improvement on his starting position of eleventh but, as he mentions, fifth was up for grabs today.
“We were hoping people would be in a bit more trouble with their tyres at the end,” said the Australian. “We were in fifth place and had a nice cushion, but we've had plenty of times this year where the tyres had stopped working towards the end of the race. Today it didn't really work out that way and we lost places through trying something different. I was quicker in the closing stages, but it's hard to overtake here and I couldn't get the job done. Still, we moved up three places from the start, we have good points and it's very open for the rest of the year.”
Team principal Christian Horner gave his take on the race, and noted that there is still some way to go this season, despite the upcoming summer break.
“In the heat of the afternoon, it was a long and tough race,” he remarked. “Seb challenged Grosjean around the outside into Turn 1 and got high on the kerb, which allowed Button to get a run round the outside into Turn 2. Thereafter we lost quite a bit of time behind Jenson in the first and second stint. Mark also made a good start on the hard tyre and going into the race it wasn't clear if it would be a two or three stop strategy.
“Jenson pitted early and we managed to use track position and good pit work to get Sebastian out ahead of him. Coming back out Sebastian had good pace, but then got caught in traffic behind Grosjean and we decided to go onto a three-stop race. Mark had made good progress, but we felt it was a better option for him to also go onto a three stop once he had cleared Alonso. It was great work today by the pit crew and they managed to get Sebastian in and out again ahead of Alonso; he then chased down the leaders over the last ten laps, but unfortunately there weren't quite enough laps left.
“With Mark we started to develop signs of a differential issue around lap 45 and although he closed in on Senna, he was unable to find a way past.
“Nonetheless we go into the Summer break 53 points in the lead in the Constructors' Championship and second and third in the Drivers' Championship with nine races still to go and an awful lot of racing to do. I think everyone deserves a well earned break and will come back in Spa in a month's time fully re-charged.“