Both Red Bull drivers today expressed their joy that the team managed to get a good days running, and seemed to be in a strong position ahead of Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s pre-season testing was blighted with repeated issues which seemed to write off the chance of a fifth consecutive World Championship for Sebastian Vettel. The situation was so serious that Christian Horner even admitted this morning that he was skeptical if the team could even get a lap completed on Friday. When the green light came on in the paddock, Vettel’s car was scattered like a 3D puzzle across the Red Bull garage.
Whether they were sandbagging, or just got very lucky, it’s not clear. Either way Ricciardo finished the first session fifth and the second session sixth, while Vettel finished seventh in the opening session and fourth in the afternoon run.
“In a way it’s a relief today,” Sebastian Vettel said after practice today. “The fact that we were running, we didn’t have any problems, the balance was good and the performance looked alright. In the end, Friday times are not worth a lot, but it’s better to be close to the top rather than somewhere towards the back, so I’m very happy with that.
“We will do what we can to prepare for tomorrow and Sunday, but let’s see where we are then – the most important thing is that we finish.”
His team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, who replaces country-man Mark Webber at the team, was typically happy with the day’s action: “I knew the guys were doing everything they could since testing but still, we didn’t expect to do that many laps today, so I’m really happy and pleased for them.
“I think we have to be pretty positive with where we ended up today. We expected Mercedes to be quickest, but we were within a second of them today so that’s a lot better than we thought. Let’s see if it’s the same story after qualifying tomorrow, but for today we’re pleased.”
Mercedes still remain favourites to take pole tomorrow after they led a 1-2 in the afternoon practice session.
Image courtesy Red Bull/Getty Images.