Christian Horner expects Daniel Ricciardo to react strongly after being eclipsed by his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen at Silverstone, the fourth time in six races together where the teenager has finished ahead of his more experienced Australian team mate.
In a superior weekend across the board, Verstappen became the first Red Bull driver to out-qualify Ricciardo in 2016 when he secured third on the grid for the British Grand Prix, where the Australian driver started fourth.
For the duration of the race, Verstappen battled with the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and eventually finished third on the road, 18 seconds clear of Ricciardo. The teenager’s day got even better when he was promoted to second after Rosberg was given a ten-second time penalty for receiving radio instructions from his team to deal with a gearbox problem towards the end of the race.
Verstappen is sixth in the drivers’ championship after the British event, just ten points behind Ricciardo, who is fourth. The 18-year-old also has three podium finishes since his promotion to Red Bull six races ago, which includes one race win, compared to his teammate’s solitary rostrum visit so far this season, which came at the Monaco Grand Prix.
When asked whether he expected a strong reaction from Ricciardo following Verstappen’s dominant performance at Silverstone, Horner stated that he believes the Australian will fight back, but stressed that the current situation was good for the team.
He said: “I think that Daniel is a class driver and he’s already demonstrated this year that he’s at the top of his game. No teammate likes being the second of the cars to finish and I’m sure he’ll respond positively.
“But it’s a positive thing in the team – there’s no animosity, it’s just two guys going flat out, going for it and it’s very healthy for us. I think Daniel is dealing with it very well.
The stakes are high; Red Bull is likely to be able to compete with Mercedes on equal terms at the next race in Hungary and the team has targeted a win there. Ricciardo won the 2014 race at the Hungaroring.
Horner also explained that Ricciardo had been unlucky with the timing of the Virtual Safety Car, which was deployed when Pascal Wehrlein beached his Manor in the Turn 1 gravel trap during the wet early running at Silverstone.
He said: “He got a little bit unlucky with the Virtual Safety Car, that cost him around ten seconds and allowed [Sergio] Perez to effectively get a free stop ahead of him.
“It’s just the run of the green, you can’t anticipate when there is going to be a VSC. He then cleared Perez and was slowly catching that group but the damage was done for his race.
“I’m sure he’s going to have a couple of Sundays come up where everything will fall his way – everything is swings and roundabouts.”
Radio rule is “rubbish”
Although his team benefitted from Rosberg’s penalty, Horner described the current radio restrictions, which are designed to enforce Article 27.1 that states the driver must drive the car alone and unaided, as “rubbish” and questioned whether it was right for the current F1 era.
He said: “The rule is rubbish. It doesn’t make a great deal of sense but the rules are the rules.”
“The cars are technically very complex and you can understand why Mercedes would want to give that message to keep their driver running.
“The question going forward is are these rules right for F1? That’s a different question.”
What did you make of Red Bull’s weekend at Silverstone? Do you expect Ricciardo to respond to Verstappen’s success in the coming races? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.