Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner is pleased with how drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel performed in yesterday’s Italian Grand Prix, believing that they could not have finished any higher than fifth and sixth at Monza.
The defending world champions bounced back from a difficult qualifying session to beat McLaren, Force India and Ferrari on Sunday, but the Mercedes and Williams cars ahead were simply too quick in the race.
Ricciardo came out on top in the intra-team battle, passing Vettel with five laps to go thanks to his fresher set of tires. However, Horner said that this was simply a result of the team’s split strategy call at Monza.
“I think fifth and sixth was the absolute optimum today,” Horner said. “We picked two different strategies, an aggressive one with Sebastian to undercut the McLaren, which worked and gave him track position but unfortunately made his tires marginal at the end of the race.
“With Daniel we took the opposite approach as he was running in clear air. We ran him long in the first stint with a shorter second stint and then his passing moves to come back through the field were truly impressive.
“Obviously with Sebastian struggling with tire degradation due to the length of the stint, it became inevitable that the two were going to swap positions.
“But fifth and sixth place, at a circuit dominated by Mercedes-powered cars, is damage limitation achieved.”
Red Bull had expected to struggle at both the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix, given that the high-speed circuits played against the strengths of the RB10 car. However, thanks to Ricciardo’s win at Spa, it has emerged with 53 points from the two races, and looks set to finish the constructors’ championship in second place behind the runaway leader, Mercedes.