The Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo delivered top 4 results in the Japanese Grand Prix.
Despite suffering a 5 second time penalty for a first lap incident involving Kimi Raikkonen and a further tangle with the Finn’s Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, Verstappen took 3rd.
Meanwhile, Ricciardo recovered from power loss in qualifying to advance from 15th on the grid to a 4th place finish.
Verstappen was involved in an early tangle with Raikkonen that saw him given the penalty by the stewards – much to his displeasure.
Before he took the penalty, the Dutchman also had a tangle with Vettel at Turn 13 as the German made contact while attempting an overtake, leading to the Ferrari spinning and dropping down, while Verstappen went wide but continued.
After the race, he voiced his delight at picking up a third podium in Japan for the Milton Keynes-based team after all the drama.
He said, “The car felt good and we were able to compete at the front for the entire race, which at this track makes it even better. Judging by a few mistakes he made it looked like Bottas was pushing hard on the last few laps. It’s hard to follow anyway so I just did my best hoping he would make another fault and I could be in a position to take advantage.
“I felt a little hard done by with the penalty I got while defending against Kimi. I was trying my best to get back onto the track as quickly as possible instead of just cutting the corner, perhaps next time I will just cut the track.
“The incident with Sebastian was a very similar mistake to mine in China earlier this year, I think he could have passed easier if he had waited. It shows that even the most experienced drivers can make errors when under pressure. I’m now very excited to get to Austin, we have good performance and it’s a great place to visit.”
As for Ricciardo, a quick start saw the Australian quickly advance into 10th place by the end of the opening lap, and after further overtakes and mechanical issues for Kevin Magnussen and Charles Leclerc, three quick overtakes and a successful overcut on Raikkonen elevated Ricciardo into 4th, where he remained until the end of the race.
He said, “Surprisingly, I was able to come through the field and overtake quite easily. That’s not because I thought I couldn’t personally overtake, it’s just not that easy on this track, but I was able to make good use of the downforce we had on the soft tyre.
“I knew we would be quite vulnerable on the straights as we ran very high downforce this weekend, but I could stay close enough in the corners that I could latch onto the tow of the cars ahead on the straights. It was a good set-up and the first part of the race was a lot of fun. We went on to the mediums to try and cover Kimi and fourth place was kind of written after that.
“It was good to come through the field and on the grid Helmut actually said that he thought fourth place was a little optimistic and possibly out of reach today. So, fourth is like a little victory from the back on this track and it was good to see our strong pace against Ferrari.”