Red Bull Racing headed into 2018 hoping for better reliability, after a dire season last year in which it endured 13 DNFs from 20 races.
…a fitting result for the RB13, which carried the tagline ‘unlucky for some,’ something the team was keen to move away from.
To avoid another slow season start, Red Bull also changed its pre-season program, revealing the RB14 five days earlier than normal before shaking down the car at Silverstone to sort issues sooner.
SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
RED BULL RACING 2014-2018:
“I feel there’s a good intensity, everyone’s not getting too excited. We know we've got some work to do if we want to really achieve what we want.”
But while Daniel Ricciardo took two wins from the first six events, in China and Monaco – those same six races were a nightmare for Max Verstappen with incidents at each of them.
The Dutchman though, managed to shake off the bad luck, taking his first win for the year at the team’s home track in Austria, after both Mercedes’ retired.
SOUNDBITE (English) MAX VERSTAPPEN,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
"We all dreamed of this scenario to win at our home Grand Prix and it's of course an amazing feeling. [It was] a bit unexpected as well, but the cars has been handling great in the race, so really happy.”
He also dominated in Mexico for the second year on the bounce, finishing 17.3 seconds ahead of second-placed, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Verstappen also defeated his teammate Ricciardo: in qualifying 15-6 and in races, 8-3 when they could be compared. The pair taking two wins each but Ricciardo far more DNFs.
…eight exactly, more than any other driver, a woeful stat for his final year with the Red Bull brand, and 100 races with its top squad.
Next year, Honda replaces Renault, while Pierre Gasly joins Verstappen for what the squad hopes is a big step forward to challenge the top teams, which it hasn’t consistently done since 2013.