Red Bull Racing made the short journey home from Silverstone with their heads held high after promising performances at the British Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo’s podium finish, twinned with Sebastian Vettel’s predatory qualifying performance showed there’s still life in the world champions yet despite picking up just one win this season.
Two weeks ago, the Tilbrook-based team left their other home race - the Austrian Grand Prix - with their tail firmly between their legs, pondering where it all went wrong.
But pride was somewhat restored with a third place finish for Ricciardo and the battle of the race between Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso reminding everyone that the pair are still among the top drivers in the field, despite their sub-par equipment.
Vettel was somewhat frustrated by his fifth place finish though. Qualifying showed he was still a force to be reckoned with, setting a rapid lap in the dying moments of a topsy-turvy session, good enough for second place.
But, slow off the line, the world champion slipped to fifth off the line, losing out to both McLarens and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Ricciardo, who started eighth, made up a place but found himself trapped behind Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India.
But a huge crash by Kimi Raikkonen stopped the race after less than a lap, delaying racing by an hour.
At the restart, Vettel remained fifth, but Ricciardo, who switched onto the harder tyre, fell behind Valtteri Bottas and Alonso before the first round of pit-stops.
Ricciardo’s alternative starategy meant he only needed to stop once more, and he made it work.
As others around him, including team-mate Vettel, pitted for a second time, he rose through the field, before pitting onto the softer compound later in the race.
Vettel’s second stop saw him come out ahead of Alonso, but the Ferrari, on warmer tyres, got past at the end of the Wellington Straight.
But he couldn’t pull away from the world champion, and the pair embarked on a thrilling battle to fifth place.
Both complained on their team radios about the others’ conduct, but it didn’t detract from a compelling dice for 12 laps as Vettel tried to forc e the issue.
Eventually, taking a wider line through Luffield, Vettel was able to barge up the inside at Woodcote, making the move stick at Copse.
By this time, it was too late to catch Jenson Button ahead.
Button meanwhile had been gobbling up the gap between himself and Ricciardo, on aging tyres, in third.
But his charge was cut short by the chequered flag, just eght tenths of a second behind Ricciardo, who held on to take the final podium place behind winner Hamilton and Bottas’ Williams.