Red Bull: Overall very strong team result

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing in parc ferme.   Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday 17 April 2011.

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in parc ferme

Apr.17 (Red Bull Racing) Not even the best mystic with the clearest crystal ball on their best game day could have predicted that podium line-up. It was quite an incredible race from Shanghai with both our boys ending the afternoon showered in Champagne.

The plaudits need to go, obviously to Mark and to Sebastian, but also to the guys on the pitwall and the garage who not only got the cars on to the grid, but also ran two separate race strategies which gave each driver the best chance of achieving their best result.

Webber’s epic battle from the wrong end of the grid was perhaps the drive of the day. His tenacity and controlled aggression using the three-stop strategy paid dividends with that amazing third place on the podium. From the front, Sebastian having fallen back to third at the end of lap one, regained the lead but with Lewis on his fresher tyres over the last six laps – and despite some intelligent defence of his position – he was unable to fight off the McLaren attack.

And McLaren were attacking on all sides, including pitlane as Jenson visited our box as he went to pit in front of Sebastian. Luckily it made no difference as our boys put Vettel out in front of Button. Although there may have been some interesting language used as they waved the McLaren through.

In fact, much of today was about the pitstops and tyre degradation, the strategy employed and how the drivers managed them. Hats off to Pirelli, they’ve made the sport even more spectacular.

For Mark his result was dedicated to the team, both here and in Milton Keynes as a reward for all their effort: “I think the guys have done an incredible job – it’s a back-to-back race and we haven’t had the smoothest run with my car, but I haven’t given up. That drive today was for them and everyone back at the Factory.” While his team-mate whose own strategy just fell short by around four laps from a hatrick, paid his own compliments to Webber: “Mark had a good race and had good pace. It was a good race for us and we can learn a lot from today.”

It means we start our European campaign (well, in Asia, but Turkey isn’t considered a flyaway) top of the Constructors’, Sebastian leading the Drivers’ with Mark just a point off Jenson Button in fourth.

Car 1 Sebastian Vettel

Finish position: 2nd, Start position: 1st
“My start was not the best and for some reason it seems the left-hand side of the grid is worse here than the right-hand side. It wasn’t brilliant and I lost positions to Jenson and Lewis. After that, it was about being patient; I think we treated the tyres better in the first stint, we could have stayed out, but there wasn’t reason to at that time, so I came into the box and came out first. It was a surprise that Jenson came into my garage in front of me – I hoped he would carry on.
We had something similar two years ago with a Toro Rosso – I don’t know what attracts people to stop in our garage! Fortunately it had no effect and the guys kept their heads. We came out in the lead and tried hard to stay on two stops. The middle stint should really have been a little longer, but at the end of the race I found myself out on the hard tyre and could see Lewis coming closer and closer. I tried to defend as best I could, without losing too much time to the guys behind, but he found his way past. It was a difficult race and we had a couple of mistakes, but we still finished second and third, which is a strong result. Congratulations to Lewis and McLaren, they did a good job and it just shows that in one race, if you try something a bit different and make a small mistake, there is someone to beat you. It was a good race for us and we can learn a lot from today. Mark had a good race and had good pace. With two stops, you have to be patient and look after your tyres, but it didn’t work today.”

Car 2 Mark Webber
Finish position: 3rd, Start position: 18th
“We decided to start on the prime tyre, which we know is not the most desired, as it doesn’t have the characteristics of the hard tyre in terms of duration and things like that. So, we got that out of the way, but it was quite tricky actually, as even with the guys I was with, everyone was using DRS at the same time. I made a mistake in Turn 2 on my in-lap and then we came in as there wasn’t much left in the tyres and our race started from there. When you see P17 on your board after 15 laps you think it might not happen, but suddenly I felt very comfortable with the car. I had a few sets of tyres left from qualifying, so that helped – and maybe that’s the way to do it: miss qualifying and go from there! But, all joking aside, I think the guys have done an incredible job – it’s a back-to-back race and we haven’t had the smoothest run with my car, but I haven’t given up. That drive today was for them and everyone back at the factory. Congratulations to Lewis and it was a good day for us in terms of points for the team.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal
“After losing out a little bit at the start by dropping behind both McLarens, we elected for Sebastian to go onto a two-stop strategy.
It nearly paid off for us and we got within four laps of making it work but, ultimately, he just didn’t have enough grip to defend that podium place. Second is still a fantastic result and means a lot of points, which are well deserved. With Mark, we effectively ran his race in reverse starting on the prime tyre and running a three-stop strategy. It was a phenomenal recovery by him to get onto the podium; it was an awesome job with strong pit stops from the team. We had one scare when Jenson stopped in our pit box at the first stop, but overall it is a very strong team result.”

Cyril Dumont (Renault)
“Somehow today, I feel like the job is not finished even though it is a really good result for the team. To finish second is a good result and the season is still very long – which is good. For Mark, what a race! To come from 18th to third is incredible – it was a really solid race by him, so congratulations to all the team. We now go to Europe leading the Championship.”