Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner has hailed the performances of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, who rounded out the podium at Sunday night’s Singapore Grand Prix.
Vettel was unable to make it four wins on the trot at the Marina Bay circuit, but still walked away with second place – his best finish of the season – edging out teammate Daniel Ricciardo for just the second time this season. The margin between the pair was just 0.7 seconds.
Neither driver had the greatest of getaways from the second row of the grid, and they found themselves overtaken by a fast-starting Fernando Alonso on the run into Turn 1. Alonso overcooked it under braking and surrendered second place back to Vettel, who mounted a challenge against Hamilton for victory.
After the Englishman’s final pit stop, Vettel found himself in the lead with ten laps to go, but was unable to resist against the Mercedes driver’s fresher tyres.
“A tremendous performance by both drivers. After an interesting start, Fernando [Alonso] had to give back the position to Sebastian, but unfortunately not Daniel also, and after that it was all about getting into the race,” Horner said afterwards.
“We went onto the soft tyre at the first stop, by the time we got to the second, Fernando had got the undercut on us, so we went onto the different tyre to change the strategy. Then the pace car came out and we were in a horrible situation of having to decide if the tyre could make it to the end, but the drivers did an incredible job today, and got the cars to the finish on what must have been minimal rubber by the end. So, second and third is a great team performance, especially with the double pit stop during the race which was done in an exceptional time.”
“I had a good start and got past Daniel and had a decent race,” Vettel added.
“We played a bit with strategy after we got undercut by Alonso, the safety car came at the worst time for us but we made the tyres work at the end which was tough. There was no point fighting Lewis at the end, he was on fresh tyres and I had to manage mine to the end as they were pretty old by then; that was the focus. It was nice to get the cold champagne on the podium.”
A retirement for championship leader Nico Rosberg helped Ricciardo claw back fifteen points to the German in his quest to remain in the Drivers’ Championship hunt, but he still lost ten points to race-winner Hamilton. Ricciardo battled with a number of power delivery issues during the race, which proved a challenge during the race.
“We were really close to the Mercedes in qualifying and we expected the race pace to be a bit faster today, to be honest,” he shrugged after the race.
“We weren’t quick enough in the first stint and we had a few other issues going on, with brakes and some power issues that were coming and going, but in terms of points we still got a good handful to take away from here. Suzuka is in two weeks and that’s another track we can be optimistic for, so I’m looking forward to that. All in all it was a solid weekend.”
Image via XPB Images