Red Bull Racing found themselves at the centre of a controversial finish to Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen started the race from third place on the grid as best of the rest behind the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The teenager made a good start and was fighting with Sebastian Vettel at the end of the race and went off track on the last lap gaining an advantage over Vettel and crossed the line in third place.
The incident was under review and at the end of the race in the cool down room following the race, Verstappen was informed he was handed a five second time penalty demoting him to fifth place and promoting Vettel and Ricciardo to third and fourth.
However following an investigation into an incident between Vettel and Ricciardo, the German was handed a ten second penalty losing his podium and promoting both Ricciardo and Verstappen to third and fourth place respectively. Speaking following the race, Ricciardo commented by saying:
Obviously I’m happy to get the points and I think that means third for me in the Drivers’ Championship so I’m quite proud of that this year. Sure it would have been nice to get up on the podium and enjoy it but none the less that was the situation today. It was a fun race. Even though I was quite frustrated after the race with the incident and all that, I still had a lot of fun with that battle. And being the hunter at the end is so much more fun than driving around by yourself. The race came alive and obviously it became a bit spicy but it was a cool day. Sure I want to race and having penalties after the race isn’t ideal, but I did feel today that it was called for. I committed to the move and he squeezed me. Racing should be tough and l don’t expect being waved through but we talked about the moving under braking and that’s on paper now. The only thing I’m disappointed of is not to be in the stadium in that moment but the podium is still up so I’ll go and have a few photos with the guys.
Max Verstappen was demoted to fifth place following his time penalty, however that was cancelled out by Sebastian Vettel’s penalty as a result the Dutchman was classified in fourth place.
Speaking following the race he commented by saying:
When I went off the track towards the end I think it was pretty similar to Lewis on lap one, corner one. He went off and I felt he gained an advantage, I didn’t even gain an advantage, I was ahead going into braking and when I came back on the track I was the same distance in front so I don’t understand the penalty. I think it was a small bit of justice that the stewards made the decision to penalise Seb. It was clearly a wrong move which has been punished according to the rules. As long as we can stick to the rules every week then we won’t have the frustration we felt after the race. I’m really happy for Daniel to get on the podium after a strong drive and it’s a great result for the team. It makes our second position in the Constructors’ Championship that little bit closer and I believe it confirms Daniel as P3 in the Drivers’ Championship. After a bit of stress we end the weekend with smiles all round. I could have done with a few more laps on the supersoft to get me closer to overtaking Nico, but at the end of the day we were always going to struggle to overtake here due to straight line speed. At the end of the day the Mexican fans have been amazing once again, the atmosphere and noise was great.
There are just two races left this season and following the revised result of the Mexican Grand Prix, Red Bull are 62 points ahead of Ferrari in the race for second in the championship.
Speaking following the race, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner commented by saying:
I’m glad to see the Stewards making the right decision regarding the Ricciardo-Vettel incident, and it extends our lead over Ferrari in the Constructors Championship to 62 points. It’s been an interesting end to the Mexican Grand Prix, not one that anyone really wants to see, but I’m delighted for Daniel in having secured 3rd place in the Drivers’ Championship, he’s had an excellent season and deserves it. Daniel and Max have been driving brilliantly well, pushing each other on, they’ve both raised the bar and the level that they are operating at now is good to witness. We are looking forward to the final two races and it’s encouraging to see we are getting closer and closer to Mercedes. For Max to be able to have a go at Nico today, having tailed him all the way through the race is really good news. We are chipping away and you are not seeing the margins Mercedes have had in previous years which bodes well not just for this year but for a more competitive Formula One in 2017.