Helmut Marko: Vettel is a perfectionist, Ricciardo can drive around problems
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Jun 2014   |  11:24 am GMT  |  80 comments

One of the real talking points of this season is the relative performance of the two Red Bull drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian keeps coming out on top against a four times world champion and Red Bull team director Helmut Marko this weekend offered an explanation.

Ricciardo got his first win in Montreal last time out and after again out-qualifying Vettel in Austria he is now 6-2 against the German.

But perhaps more telling is that his average grid slot is 3.6, while Vettel’s is 7.4.

In mitigation, Vettel has had a lot of technical issues this season, more than Ricciardo, but there is no doubt that the reigning champion has yet to fully get the measure of this 2014 Red Bull car; as he admitted yesterday there is clearly more performance than he is able to extract because Ricciardo is managing to find it.

Speaking to Australian TV Network 10 after qualifying in Austria Marko, who nurtured Ricciardo through the Red Bull driver programme and Toro Rosso, said that the problem is that Vettel is a perfectionist, where Ricciardo is able to drive around problems,

“To be fair Sebastian had far more technical troubles (than Ricciardo). On the other hand they both get the same material. If the car is not to his liking, Daniel seems to be more a driver who can handle it.

“Sebastian is a perfectionist; he needs to get the car really right and if it is not right he cannot make it like Daniel does.”

Asked what he thinks Ricciardo’s other strengths are as a driver, Marko added,

“First of all I have never seen him angry. He is very calm in the car, like he is siting there having a cup of tea. I’ve never seen him struggle with the pressure. He takes things as they are but he is very committed.

“We had a driver search a few years ago in Estoril and he was really impressive in qualifying performance. So he delivers and he is very good in his analysis.”

As for Ricciardo’s own explanation of how he keeps coming out ahead of his team mate the 24 year old from Perth, Australia said,

“Yes it’s been going well for me this season, I seem to be getting the most out of it. It’s nice; I guess I’m still young enough to keep improving, keep learning. I’m still going through that process of maturing and making sure I’m on the right side of things.

“Today I was 5th, he was 13th. It’s a big gap on the grid but not much in time (the margin was 0.163 seconds between them in Q2). It’s a short lap here and if you don’t get it right here you pay the price. We trail a lot in the first sector and make it up in the corners.”

Red Bull’s drivers are 17th and 18th in the speed trap at 195mph, compared to the Williams cars at 204mph. All eight Mercedes powered cars occupy the top eight speed trap times in Austria, which will make them quite hard to overtake unless they suffer higher tyre degradation than their rivals.

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Q for the car won vettels championships bandwagon.. Who sets up the car? What made lauda so good? Marko says he is a perfectionist in how he wants the car to be in order to extract the maximum from it which is of course somewhat personal. Kimi is similar and widely rated as a quality outfit. He moaned about his steering for ages then they got it right and he was quick. We have no idea what skills and abilities that vettel has that have been negated by the nature of these cars with brake by wire and poor drivability. Corners are made and laps made as you come off the brakes and get the car turned, and vettel was expert at getting the turn done swiftly without stressing the tyres. Think of it as a flamenco guitarist being given a tin can and broomstick one stringed thing and being slated for sounding rubbish. Granted ric is doing the business but it is too early to judge.

Also everyone forgets vettels 3rd place on the grid in Canada in ideal conditions no tricks or issues for anyone, he did not luck into that, to do that takes some speed. Fact.


this 2014 season is just slowly unraveling how much the RB6-RB9 MADE Sebastian Vettel and not the other way around. Vettel’s championships were obviously attributed more to the car and not so much the driver. I’m not trying to be a hater. The results this season speak for themselves sans his DNF’s from mechanical failures. Daniel has outpaced him in quali almost every circuit thus far. Thats staggering considering he’s come from being a nobody on STR to a seat with one of the elite teams in F1. Vettel has no excuses, Everyone of the 22 drivers had to relearn the nuances of the 2014 cars so it was a level playing field and he hasn’t had a full grasp of it yet which looks terrible on a 4x world champion, I’m sorry to say.

One good thing to come out of all this adversity: its humbled Seb quite alot and he seems to be taking all the failures in stride like a mature, poised veteran. Can you imagine if this happened 2-3 yrs ago? He would’ve been crying and pouting like a little baby! Really glad to see him take it all in stride. Hopefully for him and his hardcore fans, he can recover from this 8 race funk and maybe outclass his young Aussie teammate thru the last half of the season. I’m waiting to see if he truly has the heart and skill of a champion.


Obviously Ricciardo is better than Vettel then. Is that not what a racing driver does. Gets the maximum from the machinery out underneath his arse. Ala Senna.

F1 has turned more and more into a series where the driver makes such a little difference. It’s sad that fast cars make fast drivers.

Williams active suspension

Benetton traction control

Ferrari special Bridgestone tyres




Red bull blown diffuser

Please keep the same rules for a significant number of years.

Nice to see Rosberg getting the better of Hamilton. Sick of the non peaked caps, subglasses and ear rings. Your a racing driver Lewis, be one instead of a poser!

The days of motor sport gladiators are dying.

Maybe Ricciardo is a driver of the present with the past characteristics. When he tested the red ball in Bahrain 4 years ago did he not better Vettels fastest lap ?


8 races in, with DNFs in 3 races due to reliability, and more important, many more race weekends with limited running in FP due to reliability, I think it’s too early to say how things will shape up. RIC may be putting in some stellar qualifying laps, but his starts are a bit ragged – look at him losing P3 in Monaco, and then yesterday in Austria going P6 to P9 by T2, and running off the track at T1 (which he admitted was his fault, which then compromised his speed on the straight to T2).

But there has been another meme regarding Vettel which these first 8 races can inform us about – that’s the one where “if Alonso or Hamilton were in such a dominant car, they would have run away with the WDC from race one.”

Well, Hamilton is now in an even more dominant car than the Red Bull ever was and … well he’s not quite running away from with the WDC. True, he’s had two DNFs, but only the first one was out of his control. The DNF in Canada was down to his driving style. And his errors in qualifying (9th in Austria?) are his alone. Vettel had a run of 9 victories in a row in a dominant car last year. Lewis could still match, and possibly beat that this year, but clearly that shows VET is not some average guy who lucked into a fast car.

I guess though the meme would be, “if Alonso was in such a dominant car as Vet and Ham were, he’d have run away with the WDC”.


uan, Lewis did not retire in Canada because of his driving style. Both cars had brake issues. Moreover, following rosberg in dirty air contributed to the issue as well. Is obvious you want to see wht you desire to see because thw whole world and paddock knows the issue was with the new settong merc usedon both cars, and by the way the brakes where cooking in the next race such that on one of the pit stops, there was fire coming from the right front tires. Yes lewis has made mistakes in qualifying but that does not diffuse the fact that had he not retired in the first race, he would be in amuch better place. I will say this again, the car breaking was not due to lewis driving style but iy was because of the Mercedes wall.


Im sure if Vettel was as closely matched to his team mate last year as Hamilton is this year his winning streak would not have been so borin… Impressive.



One of the honest statement or assessment from Marko after lot of antics in the last few seasons

Bottom line is vettel have very narrow performance window like JB and few others in the grid. Vettel cannot drive a slower machinery to the limit and vettel can only deliver if the car suits his liking otherwise he can vulnerable and get beaten by many pilots in the grid.

We all know now for sometime how vettel won his 4X WDC and those titles are nothing but heirlooms presented to vettel by RBR and their technical excellence. Ricciardo is simply the faster pilot and Dan is versatile while vettel is not. I salute Dan ricciardo for his fantastic drives and even in Austria he pulled a superb move on hulkenburg scored some points

All the talk of vettel unlucky and relaibility woes are simple drivels. Webber had endured rotten luck as well at RBR yet webber simply failed to beat vettel. Which Dan Ricciardo does at ease and make his much fancied team-mate look like novice with his errors. we have seen one crash in austria as well

Vettel 4X WDC = EBD champion…


I couldn’t agree with you more there Marko.

It’s gonna be a very long time before that Redbull is ‘perfect’ again.

It the meantime RBR might be better served finding another driver who doesn’t require a perfect car.

Hulkenberg comes to mind…….


It’s true that Vettel has had appalling luck with reliability this year but Dan also had a DNF and got 2nd place taken from him, so the points gap could have been an additional 18 points in Dans favour!

I just think Seb had a real affinity for the blown diffuser setup, if you recall a few years back they banned the blown diffuser then mid-year they allowed it again, Webber was ahead of Seb for the start of the season but when they reintroduced the blown diffuser Seb ran away with it..


Chance plays a big role in F1 and Vettel has been unlucky so far this season. It’s naive to think that the relative performance of two drivers can be judged from 8 races, especially when the main differentiator in these races has been reliability.


I think what Marko said without meaning to is Ricciardo is a more rounded adaptable driver capable of dragging a second rate car up to or near the level of the top performers, like Alonso.

While Vettels skills only come to the fore when everything is near perfect.


The main diference is that Vettel does not acept the role of the best of the rest, and Ricciardo does. But there are others. Vettel worked hard in the last 4 years to dominate the V8 technology and the old KERS, and he has that routines so integrated in his style that he is having problems to make this transition to 2014 technology. It´s not a coincidence that Rosberg is dealing better than Hamilton with this new style of driving. Hamilton prefers internal combustion engines and doesnt deal well with electrical engines and its discharges. Its not a coincidence that younger drivers are dealing better with the 2014 technology.


As a Vettel fan, and including his retirements, Sebastian has not performed well so far this season. He is honest about it too, he couldn’t find any more time from the car in Austria. But this year is so tight and as the poster above Rohind said, with Vettel not happy with his car he is not that far off in terms of time. But when you look at the results he is way down there. Just as Hamilton could take heart when Rosberg beat him to pole. Hamilton had a bad lap and was so close to Nico considering that. That’s quality from the both of them.


Ppl and media need to put brake on this topic.You have Kimi in same (actually worse) situation so go bother him. Dare you!


Is it important who is better in lousy car?

In the end what matters is who is on top when you have a winning car.


……..but according to Fernando Alonso.

“He is 26 years old, so when he will have a car like the others, if he wins, he will have a great recognition and be one of the legends in F1. When one day he has a car like the others and he is fourth, fifth, seventh, these four titles will be bad news for him because people will take these four titles even in a worse manner than they are doing now.

“So there are interesting times for Sebastian coming.”


And yet according also to Alonso after the Austrian GP:

“I rather have trophies than respect”

Fans will definitely praise Alonso and laugh at Vettel, but internally among drivers they prefer to be in Vettel’s shoe anyway. I think Vettel is not lying when he said he had nothing to prove. He won’t be going out to prove he can win without a blow diffuser; he just wants to win period.

Sportsman really do not care how they achieve their wins – winning is what matters to them. They could care less how they won.


This. My racing instructor once told me: it doesn’t matter if you can drive a bad car fast if you can’t win in the best car.

As such – and due respect to Daniel – until such time he proves that he can beat Vettel in the best car, comparing who is the better driver is moot. But indeed Daniel is driving better than Vettel as of the moment.

Even Alonso admitted he does not feel any joy in being a underdog hero, and I am sure he rather have Vettel’s 4x championship in a best car than 4x first-runner up in a crappy car.

Drgraham lewis

Absolutely – it’s the wins in the car/bike or whatever that you just know the machinery was not completely up to scratch that provide the most motivation and satisfaction.

The trouble is as I see it SV has yet to enjoy such and realise what you have to put in to achieve such.

You cannot always get a perfect vehicle and its how you win or race the ones that are not that makes you.

Just look at Jim C’s record… In all vehicles.


With Daniel he’s achieved more, coz he won in an underdog car in Canada.

You can say the win was kind of semi-gifted due to Mercedes suffered MGU-K and brake problems, but he was in a position to take the chance and Vettel was not in the same position to do so.

So it DOES matter with who is better in a lousy car.


“Red Bull Honda Racing” I wouldn’t be surprised.


Honda ruled that out;

McLaren would veto that, as they did against RBR when they were still effectively a Mercedes works team in the past.


Honda would be 😉


“To be fair Sebastian had far more technical troubles (than Ricciardo). On the other hand they both get the same material”

That’s an obvious contradiction. If Vettel’s car had run flawlessly in every race while Ricciardo’s had suffered severe mechanical issues in six of the eight GP’s so far, nobody would accept that the two drivers had “the same material”. .There would be constant furious denunciations of Red Bull for not giving Daniel the same car as Seb. And members of the British press would be asking Marko question along the lines of “Why are you favoring Vettel and when are you finally going to get Riccardio’s car sorted?”


Maybe Red Bull only ever build one car that works and one with the left over bits? 😉 it seems like Vettel got Webbers car this year…


The press are pushing this line with respect to Vettel, and it’s revealing to contrast their treatment of Vettel with their response to Hamilton being beaten by Rosberg. Currently Vettel is 23 points down on Ricciardo, while Hamilton is 29 points adrift of Rosberg. Still, the press position is that Hamilton has been unlucky while Vettel (they claim) has driven poorly. The double standard is pathetic. It’s true, Hamilton IS trailing Nico due to bad luck, but it’s likewise glaringly obvious to all but the most stubbornly oblivious that Daniel’s advantage over Seb is entirely down to his having a car which never has problems.

Vettel had another car failure again today. How exactly was he supposed to “drive around” it?

Ricciardo has driven decently but his main advantage is that his car, alone of all the Renault powered machines on the grid, has run with the reliability of a Swiss watch.

Drgraham lewis

Its a fair point but you cannot really say that SV has looked anything like as ‘on point’ as say LH has been with NR – further, LH is really only behind because of reliability.

You can’t really say NR has had the beating of Hamilton in any race so far without some form of advantage (however you choose to describe some of the stunts) whereas DR has climbed in and just got on with it.

Not all of SV issues have been reliability – it’s just not providing the advantage he is used to whereas DR really could not care less as long as its competitive.


Yeah, and Chilton’s only 2 points behind his teammate, he’s making Hamilton look very poor.


You’re right. If Chilton just keeps it on the road a few more races, he could force an error from Rosberg.


Hamilton didn’t have 18 points taken off him over some stupid sensor, either.


Yes SV had a car failure today, but in qualifying he isn’t doing himself favours either and still is soundly beaten by DR. He cannot adapt to the car and drive around the problem of being uncomfortable with the car / setup to out-qualifying DR, that’s where the adaptability and driving around problems come in.


Rosberg has the car to get 25 points every race..that is 7 more than 2nd place can get.

Ricciardo can get a 3rd, 4th, 5th and the margin to what Vettel can get is 2-3 points.

From the above I hope you can see my point and cannot really compare the points difference between Ham-Ros and Vet-Ric.


Open your eyes and accept the truth in front of you Steve. The longer you deny it the harder it will be for you in the end.

If it’s any consolation it’s looking similar for Kimi too although it’s likely that Alonso is better than Ricciardo.


That’s a fair point.


Good post.


This is unfair.

The last time I saw luck has bad as vettels in F1 was…… well frankly I have not…. Wait t’was when Webber was racing.

You do not lose the ability to see your breaking points, racing line or feel during winter break.

He will come good once RB sort their issues out. Hopefully they’ll build 2 cars not 1 in due course. Maybe at the same time Renault sort the PU to really spice things up.

Vettels a quality driver


Seb is a fantastic driver, who is struggling to “unlearn” all the anti-natural driving he did put forward to master the blown diffuser.

He was able to do so as he got in touch with it being extremely young. Ricciardo does not have anything to “unlearn”, though.

Moreover, he was an instinctive braker, and the “brake by wire” has blown that up. To make things worse, being a very precise driver, the bumpy delivery of power by the Renault P.U. does not help at all.

He will come back stronger. I find that preying on a great champion who is struggling to adapt to a new environment, is a proper thing to do for vultures, but not for true F1 fans.


Finally…thank you guys, for being fair and balanced!! As a follower of this sport for 25+ years, it is really hard for me to fathom this blind, mass hatred of Vettel, from fans who will never even get to meet him or have any real clue what he’s about!Where do you all find the moral high ground to judge people, the way you are? Maybe tell us a bit about yourselves, instead? At the rate this season has progressed, Vettel has had less than half the seat-time in the new car than Ricciardo has, but everyone, including the media just can’t get enough of shooting him down and highlighting how disastrously badly he’s doing. Personally, I think he’s doing about as well as I’ve ever seen anyone deal with this level of adversity and he has not performed nearly as badly as everyone is wanting to make it out to be (when the car was not failing him about every other race!). Show some basic respect and decency, why don’t you…


Dan not only drives around problems but he’s also making a habit of driving around Force India’s. Great pass on Hulkenberg.

I just wish he could capitalize more on his starts. He loses too much and Red Bull need to get this sorted in his driving.


So, why Vettel as usually gets no penalty for causing a collision – this time with Esteban Gutiérrez? He didn’t receive a penalty in 2012 Brasilian GP as well.

For example, Fernando Alonso was penalised 20 seconds post-race for contact while trying to pass Lewis Hamilton in 2011 Malaysian GP for even less contact with Hamilton!


It’s not a surprise, at times when Webber was ahead of Vettel, Marko has said exactly the same thing.

Basically, Vettel requires a fairly precise setup to get the best out of the car where others will get in and drive anything fast.

Vettel really misses that blown diffuser.


“Vettel really misses that blown diffuser” what Vettel misses is traction control… I guess once you drive a car with traction control you can’t drive one with out it….. I mean you loose confidence.


Very difficult to compare drives when unreliability is ever present.

Would love to know if Dan would have as many trophies had he been in the car for as long as Seb!


Not difficult at all. Just look at the qualifying sessions when both cars were on same terms.

Considering Daniel just joined the team, he has destroyed Vettel so far.


We’ll find out in 4-5 years…


Daniel keeps his emotions in check.

Vettel does not.

Webber did not.

This is why Daniel in the right car and with team support will be a superstar.

The Mercs will diminish that in the present but long term Ricciardo with whatever team will be a world champion.


Hamilton doesn’t keep his emotions in check either. Which is why he’s starting to fall behind Rosberg. The next race at Silverstone will be interesting…

Drgraham lewis

How did you figure that?

In terms of wins and qualifying despite DNFs, Hamilton is ahead and if Rosberg had suffered the same reliability issues (let alone some of the pit based ones) he would be much further back than Hamilton.

Come on – stop the silliness – on an equal basis and regardless of how you view some of the games at Monaco and that ridiculous chicane stunt at Canada – Rosberg is without doubt riding a wave of luck rather than inherent ‘fantastic driving ability’ and that Hamilton is losing his head!


“Sebastian is a perfectionist” is a lame excuse. He is not building the car, all he’s got to do is drive it.

What would happen if both drivers were put in a Mercedes?


Still doesn’t change the fact that SV needs a perfect car, whereas with DR, just give him 4 wheels and a steering wheel.


“What would happen if both drivers were put in a Mercedes?”

I imagine that would be a tight squeeze, but obviously one would have to sit on the other one’s lap and do all the driving.

I’d suggest Ricciardo: He’s faster 😉


That is the best comment I’ve read in a long time. Thanks for making my morning.


You’re welcome 🙂


Vettel should take heart from the fact that in a car that he’s struggling to adapt to, he’s not farther than a tenth or two than his team mate ( who seems clearly happy with the car)


He’s right. Same story at Ferrari!

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