Infiniti Red Bull Racing Review
Infiniti Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel: 4th with 45 points
Daniel Ricciardo: 5th with 39 points Red Bull Racing: 2nd with 84 points
From setting cars on fire, to power issues, to 50-meter-runs in and around the pitlane, Red Bull have graduated from being at the back of the field in February to being the second fastest car on the grid and currently running in P2 in the constructors. Fighting Renault's software issues, power train issues and broken chassis', RedBull's freshman Daniel Ricciardo and 4 time world champ Sebastian Vettel have pulled the maximum from the car, which still is fighting a tiny battle of its own inside.
The only DNF of Sebastian Vettel's came at the Australian GP after his car lost all power on the 5th lap. And disappointment continued for the team after Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from his podium position due to a fuel flow issue. The fuel flow issue a.k.a "Fuel-gate" was settled later on at a tribunal with delegates from all teams present. Losing the battle, RedBull decided to continue racing with its own produced sensors.
Qualifying a brilliant 2nd at the Malaysian GP, Vettel went on to bring RedBull Racing's first point by finishing on the podium. While behind him, Ricciardo's race went from bad to worse after a failed strategy and an unsafe release that saw him retire the race before the fall of the checkered flag (and incur a 10 place grid penalty for the Bahrain gp).
At the first night race of the season in Bahrain, Ricciardo drove a stunning race from P13 to finish P4 while Vettel had to yield for letting him through as they were on different strategies, eventually finishing 6th.
With big names like Helmut Marko backing him plus a strong start at Red Bull, Ricciardo gave Vettel the unprecedented challenge. He was often quicker than Vettel in qualifying and also in the race where the champion was told "Daniel is quicker than you, please let him through". However, the world champion and his teammate dismissed any sort of uneasiness between them. "We get on really well, for teammates," said Ricciardo. "We often have breakfast together, and I would say that's unusual for teammates. At the moment it's going well for me, but I also know that it won't be long before Seb is getting everything out of his car. He hasn't forgotten how to drive!"
Disobeying orders yet again at the Chinese GP, where Vettel was given a call by the RedBull management to move over for Ricciardo, Vettel came back on the radio and learned about Ricciado's current tyre being the same as his. Unwilling to cede just that easily, Vettel replied "Tough luck". Though after two laps Ricciardo took matters into his own hands and passed him, Vettel explained post race about his reply.
“I think there was no point in holding him up any longer,” said Vettel. “He was quite a lot quicker and once I was told we were on different strategies I decided to let him go and also realised more towards the end that I couldn’t hold him back.
Coming into the European leg, Red Bull decided to get Vettel a new "old" chassis. Clearly struggling with a slightly disoriented chassis, it was Vettel's call to bring back the chassis he used during testing. Just as the weekend began, Daniel Ricciardo posted strong times while his teammate was left alone in the garage, fixing more issues on his car causing him to miss FP2. On Saturday, just as things looked brighter on the technical side, Vettel's car stalled on his first run in Q3, forcing a 10th place settlement for him. After noticing an issue with the gearbox, RedBull took the 5 place grid penalty for an untimely gearbox change on Sunday.
Though he started 15th on the grid and stopped thrice for pitstops, Vettel drove a classic race which resembled much of Abu dhabi 2012 and Brazil 2012 to gain 11 positions and finish 4th."The old Vettel is back" said Niki Lauda. Daniel, who registered his first official podium of the season, battled a poor start to regain the position during the pitstop shuffle, is currently behind Vettel in the championship.
RBR head to Monaco clearly having the advantage of an aerodynamically efficient and made for Monaco-type car, where Vettel and Ricciardo will resume their battle on track.