After the extreme high of Canada, Red Bull Racing was mighty confident of putting on a show at home, the first time since Red Bull and Toro Rosso joined the grid that there has been an Austrian Grand Prix. However, it didn’t quite go to plan, as three of the four cars with ‘Red Bull’ painted on them retired, and the one car that did finish ended up a lowly eighth.
The nature of the circuit, minimal fast corners and lots of straights and undulation really didn’t play into the strengths of the RB10, and the lack of top speed was a talking point once again for Red Bull and forced Christian Horner to have a major outburst at power train suppliers Renault, insisting that although they will stick to their contract with the manufacturer for 2016, they are not afraid to look elsewhere or in an extreme case even produce their own power train, something they don’t particularly wish to do.
All of these power train issues are seriously costing reigning champion Sebastian Vettel and could cost him drastically more later in the season as he is already running out of many parts on his five allocated power trains for the year, which will mean he suffers grid penalties should he require a sixth power train and so on. Daniel Ricciardo hasn’t had such bad luck with his power trains but may also take penalties should he start to have the bad luck that Vettel has had so far this season.
No. 1 Sebastian Vettel (GER)
Q: P13 (P12 following Sergio Perez’ penalty)
R: Retired on lap 34 (Electronics)
It was yet another poor performance in qualifying for the quadruple World Champion and some shocking luck once again. He simply wasn’t quick enough to get out of Q2 on Saturday, and although he had a brilliant start making up a few places, the car came to a halt shortly after. The car suddenly got going again but the damage was already done and Vettel was a lap behind. He later hit a Sauber but avoided a penalty for it. It’s the third retirement in eight races for Vettel, the same number of retirements he had in the last three years combined. His title defence really hasn’t quite gone to plan.
No. 3 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS)
After the high of Canada it was always going to be tough for Ricciardo in Austria. He had a poor start which saw him run very wide at turn 1 and lost a place to the rocket ship-starting Lewis Hamilton. After nearly being hit by an ailing Vettel early on, which cost him a place to the massively impressive Kvyat in the Toro Rosso, he dropped back behind another rookie in Kevin Magnussen and also the two Force Indias. He managed to get back past Nico Hulkenberg with a fantastic move around the outside on the last lap around one of the few fast corners on the circuit. He’ll be hoping to have a better showing at Silverstone.
The fact that somebody placed a Mercedes logo on the giant bull at the Red Bull Ring sums up their weekend really. Although Dietrich Mateschitz put on a massively impressive show and revamped all the facilities at the circuit and the Austrian fans turned out in force, they failed to even deliver a podium on home turf this year. They’ll be hoping to do much better at Silverstone, which is usually Red Bull territory. They won’t have Silverstone specialist Mark Webber to help them this year though, the man who won there in brilliant fashion in 2010 and again in 2012, and came very close last year.
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