Horner: Red Bull plans to keep Ricciardo; managing him vs. Webber a “walk in the park”


Red Bull Racing almost certainly wasn’t going to be shaking up its Formula One lineup for 2015, and team principal Christian Horner said Thursday that it’s not in the cards.

Daniel Ricciardo’s on a long-term contract anyway, but Horner said the team is sure it will keep the young Australian on board for 2015.

“We have always believed in stability and continuity,” Horner told Autosport’s Jonathan Noble. “Daniel is on a long-term contract with the team and it will be highly unlikely he will be anywhere else next year – unless of course Ferrari are chasing him as well [as rumors it is pursuing Adrian Newey].

“I cannot speak highly enough of what Daniel has done in the first five races.”

Horner did toss out a hand grenade to end the interview though, comparing Ricciardo to countryman Mark Webber in terms of how much easier it is to manage Ricciardo than Webber.

“It is a walk in the park compared to previous years,” Horner quipped.

Ricciardo finally earned his first career podium last weekend in Spain, with third place albeit some 50-plus seconds behind the Mercedes teammates. It was a nice recovery after Melbourne, when he was disqualified from second.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.