Red Bull Racing struggled to P7 and P8 in Sunday’s European Grand Prix as high tire degradation left drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen off the pace in Baku.
Ricciardo started the race on the front row alongside pole-sitter Nico Rosberg, but soon began to drop back as he lacked pace on the super-soft tire.
Red Bull responded by bringing both Ricciardo and teammate Max Verstappen in early and making the switch to the soft tire, committing both drivers to a two-stop strategy.
However, they came in early once again for the second pit stop, switching to the hardest compound available – medium tires – to take to the end of the race.
Ricciardo and Verstappen battled past the ailing Nico Hulkenberg in the closing stages, but could only recover to seventh and eighth at the checkered flag.
“Obviously starting second and staying there, we put ourselves in a good position to fight for the podium,” Ricciardo told NBCSN after the race.
“But we didn’t have the pace. No mistakes on track or strategy errors, we just suffered with rear tires. Lap four I was wheel spinning in third and fourth gears.
“[It’s] unexpected. We’ve been competitive at Singapore, a high-braking, hot circuit. We expected to be good here today.
“This season has been unpredictable, let’s say that. Hasn’t always been, when we expect to go quick we don’t and not we do.
“We did all we could today. So nothing we could have done better.”
Verstappen echoed his teammate’s sentiments.
“For us yes, too much degradation,” he said. “Super-soft, too much rear degradation.
“Then on the medium tires I felt really good. Caught up with the guys in front of me. Some good overtakes again. It’s not easy to catch up. My last stint was good.
“We dreamed to be a bit better.”