After ending Mercedes’ winning streak in Canada, Red Bull has come back down to earth with a bump during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix as both Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel struggled to fight for pole position.
In fact, Vettel did not even make it through to the top ten shoot-out on Saturday, qualifying down in thirteenth position. Ricciardo did manage to get through to Q3, finishing the session in fifth place behind Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
“It was tough out there,” Ricciardo admitted. “It’s been tough all weekend to be honest and it’s felt like we’ve had to squeeze everything out of the car to get into the top five, which we just managed to do today.
“All weekend we’ve been on the back foot and I think respect to the other teams, they managed to get their cars dialled in well for this weekend and we’ve just got to keep pushing. Fifth was the best we could have done in that session today.”
When asked to reflect on his qualifying session, Vettel had very little to say: “There were no real problems today, other than that we weren’t quick enough. Daniel was quicker in turn five and has been quicker in turn two all weekend.
“We’ll see how it goes for the race; it should be hotter tomorrow and hopefully we can make a big step and take on some of the other cars.”
Once again, when Mercedes failed to take full advantage of its lead over the rest of the field, Vettel was unable to capitalize. Instead, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were the big winners in qualifying, locking out the front row for Williams ahead of Nico Rosberg.
At the team’s first ever home grand prix in Austria, Red Bull will definitely have been hoping for better during qualifying.