Red Bull lose their constructors crown

Red Bulls racing in Russia 511522983
Red Bulls racing in Russia 511522983
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Red Bull Racing conceded their first championship since 2009, giving over their constructors’ title to Mercedes at the inaugural Russian Grand Prix.

In an uneventful race around the site of the Winter Olympics, Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh for the Tilbrook team, leading home team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

After failing to make the top 10 in qualifying, Vettel quickly made amends from the start, climbing to seventh by lap 2, leap-frogging Ricciardo who slipped down to ninth.

Vettel ran as high as second at one stage behind the untouchable Lewis Hamilton at the head of the field, stopping later than his rivals, but found himself struggling on his last set of tyres, allowing Ricciardo to catch and pass him before the end.

Mercedes’ one-two finish in Sochi meant the Brackley-based outfit were crowned constructors champions, something Red Bull boss Christian Horner was quick to congratulate them for.

“Firstly congratulations to Mercedes on an excellent campaign to win the constructors’ championship,” he said. “They’ve done a stunning job this year and after four years in Milton Keynes that trophy will now move up the road to Brackley.

“It was a fairly uneventful race for us. Tyre degradation was not really a factor; we had a concern with the option tyre with Daniel, which is why we pitted so early, but that was pretty much it.

“Dan got pretty close to Alonso at the end who looked like he was in trouble on fuel, but we just didn’t have the pace on the straights to mount a serious challenge. So both cars home, a reliable race, but it’s been a Mercedes engine dominated event.”

Vettel, who announced he would be leaving Red Bull at the end of the season, added that he was nearly bored during the race.

He said: “I had a good start and then a tough battle with Daniel, but from then onwards the speed was nothing special, we had the same issues as we had in qualifying.

“I was alone for a lot of the race, the beginning was entertaining, but after that it wasn’t that busy.”

Ricciardo added: “The first few laps were pretty hectic and we lost a few places at the start. We will have to have a look at that, it’s nearly the end of the season now, but we haven’t had many good starts so that’s a bit frustrating.

“Starting the race the tyre was already blistered, it had quite a bit from qualifying, so it wasn’t looking too healthy and the first stint made it worse; I could see it starting to come apart, so we had to pit quiet early.

“Then on the prime the tyre lasted well and we had good pace and could match Alonso, but couldn’t get past.”