It was supposed to be the race Red Bull were set to dominate, but things went from bad to worse for Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Despite leading the way in free practice, Daniel Ricciardo's race was hampered from the very start as rain fell during Saturday's qualifying session, catching the Australian out as he failed to get out of Q2, meaning he started 12th at the notoriously tight Hungaroring. Verstappen too, known to be a dab-hand in the wet, was caught out and started seventh, sandwiched between the two Toro Rossos.
By Sunday, the rain clouds had cleared for one of the hottest races of the year. Verstappen's excellent start saw him climb up to fifth and back into contention for the win, while Ricciardo made steady progress through the field. But no sooner had the race started, it was over for Verstappen. A swear-ridden radio message summed up the Dutchman's frustrations as he pulled over after just six laps - another suspected engine failure forcing Verstappen out of a strong position.
"It is really frustrating after putting all the effort in and being in a promising position, but then having to stop due to reliability," he said. "As I was happy with the car I think we could have had a good battle with the front group, it’s a shame to have missed out on that and some valuable points.
"It’s such a shame for not just myself and the team but also the fans that travel all the way here supporting me. It’s not fun to watch me complete a few laps and then retire.
"I’m not sure if this will mean engine penalties for Spa, we will look into it as a team and discuss the best way to come back strong after the summer break."
A long run at the start of the race allowed Ricciardo to move up into points-scoring contention, and while others struggled late in the day, Ricciardo became a player for the top four positions. An earlier incident involving Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel had left the Mercedes driver with damage to his front wing and chronic understeer. As Ricciardo tried to overtake the Finn, Bottas clattered into the side of the RB14, though both were able to continue.
Ricciardo made light work of the second attempt to overtake him, claiming fourth spot come the chequered flag.
He said: "Before the incident at the end with Valtteri in Turn 1, I knew he had some damage, so I knew it should be relatively easy to pass him, but he obviously just went too deep into that turn. I couldn’t see his car in my blind spot so I left room, and then I got the hit but fortunately I didn’t spin. I thought it was likely he would get a penalty but I really wanted to pass him on track, which fortunately I could do on the last lap.
"I was happy today, happy to finish and get some points and have a race I feel I maximised.”