Reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel was unhappy with his race result after the Bahrain Grand Prix, where the Red Bull driver eventually clawed his way through the field to finish 6th after starting a lowly 10th. Despite out-qualifying Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian driver managed to finish ahead of his experienced team-mate in 4th after a competitive conclusion to the race.
Since winter testing in Jerez and Bahrain it has become crystal clear that reigning Constructors’ Champions Red Bull have entered the new era of Formula 1 on the back foot, with the indomitable pace of the previous few years finally being thwarted. Whereas many other teams, including Mercedes, Williams and even Force India, have started the new season with much more competitive results, the Milton Keynes-based outfit have only managed to score 35 points after the first three races, in stark contrast to the 78 they had already racked up this time last season.
Despite Red Bull’s overall lack of pace in comparison to the Mercedes-powered teams, the outfit still show signs of strong competitiveness, such as Sebastian Vettel’s ability to qualify 2nd in Malaysia and eventually finish 3rd behind the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Last time out in Bahrain this glimmer of pace was witnessed once again, when both Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel came to life during the latter stages of the race after the late safety car period. However, the German was unable to excel as much as team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who scythed his way through the field which included a masterful overtaking manoeuvre on the reigning Champion.
“I think it was a busy race today, especially at the end after the safety car, but it’s a shame we couldn’t get further up,” explained Sebastian Vettel, who had won the previous two races in Bahrain. “Daniel [Ricciardo] proved that there was a little bit more to get from the car today, I couldn’t really get to that bit, so I’m not so happy with my day. For some reason we seemed to be really slow on the straights, and not just against the Mercedes. Merc has a stronger package, so there’s work ahead of us. It was straight forward with Daniel today, we worked well together as a team and we raced well, but surely I would like to have finished higher up.”
With Red Bull once again struggling with straight-line speed, the Chinese Grand Prix in two weeks time could prove tough for the duo as the Shanghai International Circuit features the longest straight on the calendar as well as several fast-flowing corners. However, with upgrades constantly being applied to the RB10 machine and Red Bull clearly showing moments of competitiveness, the outfit should undoubtedly continue improving as the season progresses.
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