Red Bull says 75-second gap in Spain not true picture

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Red Bull says 75-second gap in Spain not true picture
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May 15, 2017, 3:54 PM

Red Bull thinks the 75-second deficit between Daniel Ricciardo and the front of the Formula 1 field at the Spanish Grand Prix was not representative of its true pace.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13, Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10, Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13, leaves his pit box after a stop
Podium: third place Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13 crosses the line

The Milton Keynes-based outfit had been left encouraged after qualifying in Barcelona when Max Verstappen was able to get within six tenths of pole position with the updated RB13.

It was the closest the team had been all year.

But, after Verstappen was taken out of the race at the first corner, his teammate Daniel Ricciardo endured a lonely and unchallenged run to third place once Valtteri Bottas retired with engine failure.

Ricciardo was 1m15.820s adrift of race winner Lewis Hamilton at the chequered flag.

The extent of the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari at the front suggested that Red Bull had made no progress in closing down the gap, but team boss Christian Horner says engine settings and a weekend where Ricciardo was not as comfortable as his teammate meant that things were not as bad as they appeared.

"If you look at the weekend as a whole, we have definitely addressed some of the issues and definitely made some progress with the car," said Horner, when asked by Motorsport.com about the extent of the gap between Red Bull and the front.

"I think Max was unlucky at the start. He picked the outside, Valtteri started off a chain reaction hitting Kimi [Raikkonen] who bounced into Max.

"There was a small chance he was going to come out of that corner in third, but three-into-one unfortunately doesn't go, so it was a shame to lose Max on the first lap.

"Thereafter, Daniel had a pretty lonely race, benefiting from Bottas' retirement, and pretty much from halfway through the race we turned the engine down to try to save engine life, as obviously it has to do quite a few events.

"The pace to the front running cars was pretty significant, so we still have plenty to do. But we feel we have made some progress here this weekend. It has given us a very clear development direction and we hope to be able to capitalise on that in the coming races."

As well as running the engine in a lower power mode, Horner said that there was also plenty of laptime to be found by working the tyres better, something Ricciardo had struggled with in the final sector all weekend.

"The delta [to the front] looked bigger in the race," he said. "Daniel didn't look as happy with his car this weekend as Max, but I am not suggesting that Max would have been 20 seconds up the road.

"I think there are still issues, because when you have a gap like that, the way you are working the tyres is a clear element. And particularly this track, which is an interesting work out on the tyres.

"It is an area that we are definitely giving away performance. We looked relatively more competitive in the second half of the race than the first."

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