All of the reaction from a bittersweet day for the Bulls at COTA.
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: 2nd, Start Position: 18th
“It is safe to say today went a lot better than expected. I managed to stay out of trouble on the first lap while progressing up the field as the pace of my car was really strong. This was crucial as it allowed me to settle into my own rhythm and catch the cars ahead. I didn’t think the Soft compound was the best out there, once I pitted I felt more comfortable and able to control the Supersofts. The undercut on Valtteri was ideal and probably the key to achieving the podium, a great call from the team.
In fact, our entire strategy was spot on and once we stopped we were able to manage the Supersofts all the way to the end. The last 10 laps were pretty exciting, especially being the only car on the softer compound fighting at the front. I was trying to get close to Kimi but at the same time keeping an eye on Lewis in my mirror, it was close but we managed to hang on to second. Lewis had a go but we both gave each other plenty of room and thankfully he ran a bit wide and onto a dirty part of the track. I think I started to run out of traction towards the end so attacking Kimi was not on the table. The team have certainly earnt a little celebration tonight before we head to Mexico, where we will try to do even better.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Finish Position: DNF, Start Position: 4th
“It’s incredibly frustrating to retire so early in the race and I just don’t seem to have any luck at the moment. Everything just switched off and it seemed pretty much identical to the issue I had in Bahrain at the beginning of the year. I couldn’t even communicate with anyone on the radio so it looks like a battery failure. Now, seeing how the race played out makes it even harder to take as it could have been pretty interesting and it was a great afternoon for Max. There’s not much more to say about it to be honest.
A lot of times this year there have been things out of my control but I can only keep trying. The biggest shame is that I only have a handful of races left with Red Bull and I want to have more highs than we’ve had. I want to be able to celebrate with the Team at least one more time and be on the podium to enjoy that feeling, but we’re running out of races which is pretty tough to take at the moment.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “A stunning drive from Max again today starting 18th and finishing the first lap in ninth. He started on the Soft tyre and quickly made his way through the field. We then picked the right moment to undercut Bottas and go onto the Supersoft. At that point we thought it would be a two-stop race but we then converted to a one-stop as Max was doing such a great job of managing his tyres. It then became all about the last ten laps as he closed in on Kimi and Lewis who was on a two-stop strategy, who had much faster pace was able to close in on the two lead cars. A good and fair fight between Max and Lewis over the last couple of laps gave Kimi the breathing space to take a well-deserved win and Max a fantastic second place.
For Daniel, having started the race strongly and looking so competitive it was hugely frustrating to lose him so early on with what looks like a repeat issue of Bahrain, where the engine energy store is suspected to have failed terminally. Thankfully we have one more in our allocation that we introduced in Sochi, meaning we should avoid a penalty in Mexico next weekend. The whole team feels for Daniel as we just want to see him finish on a high in the remaining races with us and for reasons beyond our control, in recent races, that hasn’t been possible.”