Red Bull picked up back-to-back double podium finishes, as Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished second and third in the Japanese Grand Prix.
The race at Suzuka saw a bright start from Verstappen see the Dutchman quickly overtake Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel to move from a 4th place start to 2nd.
Verstappen maintained the position for the rest of the day, although he came close to collecting back-to-back victories. The Dutchman closed in to within a second of eventual race winner Lewis Hamilton near the end of the race, but heavy traffic meant Verstappen couldn’t perform a move to take the win.
Nevertheless, the Dutchman was pleased with his weekend’s work. Speaking after the race, he said, “This is my second year in a row on the podium here at Suzuka; it seems like Japan is a good place for me!
“Lewis had some difficulties when he had traffic in front but at the end of the day he was controlling it. The traffic gave me a bit of a chance to close up and potentially have a chance to take him. It was a bit of a shame the back-markers came into play but I don’t think it made a big difference, once Lewis had clean air I would have struggled to pass him.
“It just seems that the Mercedes struggle when following other cars closely. In the race it seems we are always more competitive than Qualifying, so I’m looking ahead to Austin and hoping we can carry this form on and get another podium. Two podiums in two weeks means I leave Asia extremely satisfied and excited to get back in the car in the US and try and extend this streak.”
Ricciardo recovered from a slower start than his teammate to return to third by overtaking early positive starter Esteban Ocon, and then held off a late challenge from Valtteri Bottas to cross the line.
He said, “Overall the race today was a thumbs up for me. At the start of the weekend I said I wanted to get a podium in Suzuka and I got it. I can’t go back on what I said and wish for more, but I need to look back at the start and the actual getaway as that was what cost me the place to Max and Ocon. The first 100 metres could have been better but otherwise the race was pretty lonely in third place.
“As fun as this track is on one lap it’s tricky to do much in the race and very hard to follow another car. In the end it was actually nice to have some pressure from Valtteri to keep me pushing all the way to the finish. I felt confident I could keep third place in the closing laps if I drove cleanly and hit all the apexes, which is what I did. I’m happy to spray some more champagne, it’s my ninth podium of the season which is a new record for me and to be in the position that we are now makes me pretty happy.”