Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner hailed an ‘encouraging’ Australian Grand Prix in which the team took both fastest lap and fastest pit stop.
Daniel Ricciardo put in a strong performance at his home Grand Prix. He rose from eighth on the grid to fourth and challenged Kimi Raikkonen for third, and also logged the fastest lap in the process.
The news wasn’t as good with team-mate Max Verstappen, who had a more disappointing afternoon. He lost a position to Kevin Magnussen into the first corner on the opening lap, suffered a spin in the second turn a few laps later, and complained about tyre temperatures throughout the race.
Despite Verstappen’s scrappy race Horner is encouraged by the team’s performance both on and off the track, seeing both driver and pit crew taking accolades.
“A strong recovery from Daniel from eighth on the grid to fourth at a track that is incredibly difficult to pass on,” said Horner.
“I think the only pass of the entire Grand Prix was the one he made on Nico Hulkenberg.
“What we could see in the closing stages of the race was that he was pushing Kimi very hard and he had very good pace, demonstrated by posting the fastest lap, which is encouraging for the season ahead.
“Max’s afternoon was a frustrating one for him. He made a good start initially but then got boxed in on the right hand side and dropped a place to the Haas.
“He picked up some damage to the floor on lap four or five that compromised the performance of his car quite significantly but he kept pushing and, despite a spin, was able to bring the car home in sixth place, having fought with Fernando [Alonso] for over twenty laps. He was always within a second but had no opportunity to overtake.”
“We also saw some fantastic work from the pit crew, starting the 2018 season as they mean to go on and scoring the fastest pit stop of the Grand Prix.”