Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Red Bull scolds rival for Ricciardo hindrance

Formula One Grand Prix Friday free practise sessions Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W08 EQ Energy The F1 season returns to Austria and the Red Bull Ring Credit ACTION PLUS
Eugene Bates | 05 July, 2018, 06:49

The 20-year-old came under pressure for a string of clashes early in the season in incidents that Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes were not that different to Sunday's Austrian GP fight.

As his rivals fell by the wayside with the problem or via mechanical problems, the Dutchman was free to manage his own race at the head of the field and kept his tyres in check to take his fourth F1 victory, the first for Red Bull at their home circuit.

Mercedes and Ferrari have expressed concern, with the latter team threatening to quit the sport because it is unhappy with Liberty's proposal to simplify engines and redistribute prize money among teams after the current contract expires at the end of 2020.

Having started the race 1-2 on the grid on the back of its biggest auto update of the season, Mercedes had every right to feel a bit of confidence about its hopes for the race.

It was Verstappen's fourth career victory as he came home ahead of the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, who regained the lead in the drivers' championship ahead of Hamilton by a single point.

"We changed a few things between sessions but I think we can find a happy medium between the two set-ups".

At the subsequent Red Bull media debrief Ricciardo was his usual smiley self. He did it in his first win in Barcelona.

Red Bull racing's Max Verstappen celebrates his first win of the 2018 Formula One season.

"I hope that with next week's meeting we have a little more understanding and input, and then we'll see how it ends up". I can understand we have some rumours in the press but it's nothing to do with the reality.

Vettel was able to close in on team-mate Raikkonen in the closing stages of the race but, despite Vettel's advantage in the championship standings, Ferrari opted not to switch it's drivers. "I think the pace was very good, tyre management was very good". "It was also so unexpected, and that makes it even better".

The race high attrition rate became obvious from the start.

The reigning champions had not been beaten in Austria since the race returned to the calendar in 2014 and seemed to be heading for a one-two when Valtteri Bottas retired with an hydraulics failure on lap 14.

Meanwhile there were double points finishes for both Haas and Force India, but it was another disappointing weekend for Williams and McLaren. Seeing an unusually large gathering of journos - clearly sensing a possible falling-out between the two drivers - the Australian grinned and said: "I either won or I said something!"

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