Verstappen in the wall as Ricciardo struggles with tyres in Bahrain
It was a weekend to forget for Red Bull Racing as they left Bahrain with just a fifth place to their name.
Daniel Ricciardo was left in a lonely fifth place come the end, despite battling for the podium places early in the race, while a brake failure saw Max Verstappen luck to walk away from a scary moment on lap 12, ending his race in the tyre barrier.
Both Tilbrook-built cars got the jump over Ferrari's ailing Kimi Raikkonen at the start to run fourth and fifth, chasing down Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes who was sluggish off the line.
Verstappen pitted first, but emerging from the pits on new rubber, suffered a brake failure as he screamed towards Turn 4. Luckily for the Dutchman, he was able to slow enough to avoid injury and a serious crash with the tyre barrier beyond the run-off area. However, his race ended very early.
"I think we made the right call with the pit stop to try and undercut the two Mercedes but then the rear brakes failed on lap 12 and it was race over," he said afterwards. "These things are all a part of racing and there are definitely positives to take away from today.
"The car was working a lot better here than the previous two races so it’s just an unfortunate ending as we could have scored some really good points.”
An almost simultaneous crash between Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz Jnr brought out the safety car, but also the race's most controversial moment. As Ricciardo chased Hamilton into the pits, the Brit appeared to slow dramatically to avoid queuing behind his team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the Mereces garage. In doing so, he held up Ricciardo, who was right behind. Hamilton received a five-second penalty, but also emerged behind Ricciardo from the stop as the Red Bull team did a perfect job with the tyre change.
Despite being promoted to second, Ricciardo's chances of a podium spot would end there. Out-paced by Hamilton when the safety car pulled in, he was then overtaken Raikkonen to end a lonely race fifth.
Ricciardo said: "For me it was a race of two halves really. At the beginning of the race I genuinely thought we had a chance to win. That stint was looking very competitive and I could see Valtteri was struggling.
"I was at the tail end of the front pack and I could see everyone else in front of me. They were sliding and looked like they were struggling more. It was quite easy for me to stay there and I was looking after my tyres, so at that point I was thinking it could be on today, not only for a podium but for a win.
"The safety car worked for me in that we jumped up to third but it wasn’t so good for our tyres and that’s where we lost a lot of ground. Even once we settled into a pace and the chaos settled we fell back and I was struggling with grip at the front and rear.
"We never really got that tyre working."