Christian Horner was left encouraged by the result of the Japanese Grand Prix for his Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team as Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished third and fourth on Sunday.
Verstappen survived contact with both Scuderia Ferrari drivers in the early stages, with a first-lap incident with Kimi Räikkönen earning himself a five second time penalty after stewards deemed he re-joined the track in a dangerous manner after running across the grass at the Casio Chicane. The contact with Sebastian Vettel at Spoon on lap seven saw him suffer damage, but the Dutchman still had good pace in his RB14 to end the race on the tail of Valtteri Bottas.
Ricciardo on the other hand had a much cleaner race to fourth, with the Australian driving superbly to climb from his fifteenth position on the grid to run tenth by the end of lap one before systematically picking off his rivals to run fifth, before jumping Räikkönen in the pit stops.
Horner, the team principal of Red Bull, welcomed the result and felt it was a positive outcome amid difficult circumstances for both drivers.
“Today was a good day for both drivers and the Team,” said Horner. “For Max to achieve a podium despite incurring a five second penalty following contact with Kimi on the opening lap was a great performance.
“He had a busy afternoon, with a racing incident between him and Seb on lap seven resulting in damage. Despite that, he was still able to close down Valtteri in the final stages and put him under pressure to try and claim second place and secure his third consecutive Suzuka podium.
“Daniel also drove a very strong Grand Prix, progressing through the field with some great overtakes and with strong pace he was able to finish fourth from fifteenth on the grid. All round, it has been a positive day getting two cars to the finish and taking home a good haul of points for the Team.”