Disappointing race-day for Red Bull Racing in an action-packed German GP
It was another anonymous Sunday for Red Bull Racing at an otherwise lively German Grand Prix.
While the drama unfolded at the front as Lewis Hamilton raced from 14th to take the race victory as title rival Sebastian Vettel crashed out of the lead during a brief shower late in the race, Red Bull had just Max Verstappen's fourth place to celebrate.
Daniel Ricciardo, who took a whole host of engine penalties, started from the back of the grid but struggled to make the same progress through the field Hamilton did ahead. Verstappen meanwhile, started fourth and was running there consistently, well ahead of Kevin Magnussen's Haas, but unable to mount a challenge on Kimi Raikkonen ahead.
Ricciardo did manage to climb through the order, but was forced into retirement after a suspected engine failure on lap 29.
He said: "I heard something strange when I was downshifting for Turn 6 and then once I accelerated out of the corner I lost power and the engine started to sound pretty sick. I got on the radio straight away and expected the team to ask me to pull over, which they did.
"I don’t know the specifics but it was some sort of engine failure which is obviously pretty frustrating after taking the penalties today."
When the rain fell at the hairpin, Verstappen was among several others who gambled on changing onto intermediate wet tyres, handing his fourth place to Hamilton. However, the rain subsided but not before Vettel skidded off into the wall, bringing out the safety car again. The Dutchman stopped again to change back onto dry tyres, as he regained fourth spot, but he was again not able to keep up with the pace of the leaders as Hamilton led home team mate Valtteri Bottas and Raikkonen in third.
“After such a chaotic race I think finishing fourth is a good result," said Verstappen afterwards. "It was a hard day for decision making due to the late changes in the weather. I had a small slide at Turn 6 when it first started to rain so I decided to pit for Intermediates. As soon as I came out of the pits and got to Turn 6 it was dry again. I knew it was not going to work, it could have done but unfortunately it didn’t continue raining enough.
"Sometimes these decisions work for you, sometimes not as we experienced today. The safety car meant it didn’t impact the result but it was worth trying at the time."