Ricciardo rescues Red Bull’s homecoming weekend

HOME RUN: Daniel Ricciardo picked up a point, despite starting on the penultimate row in Austria.
HOME RUN: Daniel Ricciardo picked up a point, despite starting on the penultimate row in Austria.

One point for 10th place in front of their home fans might not seem a lot, but it was a remarkable recovery for Red Bull Racing.

Daniel Ricciardo stormed through the field after starting 18th on the grid at the Red Bull Ring during Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix to salvage a point in an otherwise torrid weekend for the team from Tilbrook.

Red Bull pair in Austria.

Red Bull pair in Austria.

Engine changes for both Ricciardo and team-mate Daniil Kvyat had the team on the back foot from the off, knowing the pair would face 10-place gird penalties for Sunday’s race.

It meant they’d start 15th and 18th on the grid, with Kvyat once again getting the upper hand on Ricciardo in qualifying - such has been the trend of late.

But his progress was hindered before the first corner, as he suffered front wing damage under Sergio Perez’s Force India who had slowed off the grid to avoid Marcus Ericsson’s slugish Sauber.

With both Red Bulls running the harder tyre first, their progress was limited but saw them run longer than those in front before their first pitstops.

Kvyat, despite his first lap stop, was running in the points as those around him pitted for tyres, but fell out of the top 10 as his began to wear.

Ricciardo had to take an extra five seconds during his stop as a result of another gearbo penalty, but emerged from the pits in 11th and was able to take the fight to Sauber’s Felipe Nasr for the final point on offer.

“I was pleased with the car during the race,” said the Australian afterwards. “I was trying to push as much as I could towards the end to catch Perez but the boys behind me were fighting for the podium and I had to respect that.

“I was really happy with the option tyre, the balance of the car worked well.

“To finish tenth is a good result from where we started today. I’m staying on here for a day’s testing this week and I hope that despite the bad weather forecast we’ll be able to get some useful work done before the next round in Silverstone.”

Kvyat added: “It was a very tough race today. The front wing was damaged on the first lap and from then on my race was massively compromised. The bodywork damage affected the grip for the entire race which made the car difficult to drive.

“I think points were possible today if it hadn’t been for the damage, so that’s disappointing.”

Team boss Christian Horner said Ricciardo’s pace during the race was testament to the driver.

“From the grid position that Daniel started from, it was a strong drive from him to score a point” he said. “He effectively ran the race in reverse; running the slower tyre at the beginning of the race, and then fitting the softer tyre at the stop.

“Dany after a great start, with what was happening ahead of him, unfortunately made contact with the back of Perez. That caused significant damage to the underside of the car and from there the goal was to make it to the end of the race.”