Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2018

Ricciardo’s fastest lap shows Red Bull’s true pace – Horner

2018 F1 season

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the fact Daniel Ricciardo set fastest lap in the Australian Grand Prix shows the team has a competitive car.

Ricciardo’s 1’25.945 on lap 53 was more than four-tenths of a second quicker than any other driver managed during the race. Horner said it was the only chance they had to assess their car’s true race pace on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Albert Park, 2018
2018 Australian Grand Prix in pictures
“We only got one lap to judge that on because every single lap of Daniel’s and Max [Verstappen’] was either looking at a Haas, a Renault or a Ferrari – or a Ferrari 2017 and a Ferrari 2018.

“We’ve got one lap in the grand prix to judge our pace which we set the fastest lap of the race on. So I think our pace is… we’ve got a quick race car. We were just unfortunate today, particularly on this track not to be able to use it.”

Horner also drew encouragement from the reliability the RB14 showed on its race debut compared to their previous cars.

“It was the first time in the hybrid era we got two cars to the finish [in the first race],” he said.

“We got the fastest lap of the race and that wasn’t through putting a set of ultra-softs on at the end, it was genuine pace. I think we’ve got a quick race car.

“Today finishing fourth, just off the podium, is always frustrating, particularly for Daniel when it’s his home race. I think there’s a lot of positive we can take out of this weekend.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “Ricciardo’s fastest lap shows Red Bull’s true pace – Horner”

  1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    26th March 2018, 17:51

    Yes but what is the point of faster pace when the Red Bull can’t pass a car that qualified 1 second slower?

    Bottas barely managed to pass the Force Indias that qualified 3-3.5 seconds slower than Lewis…

    Horner simply needs to keep Max and Dan out and get a VSC out from Toro Rosso in half the races and then they can win the WCC. I don’t think any of us will question them if they get 4 wheel nut failures per race, although they’ll have to beat Haas and Ferrari who may time their failures better.

    1. What a bizarre comment

      1. @balue yours. @freelittlebirds is on the money, don’t forget that Ferrari may fail Sauber’s nuts aswell, not to mention that Honda nuts may not last up to the pit window.

    2. Yeah, because clearly Haas helped Ferrari when they were on for 4th and 5th and their best ever result…

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        26th March 2018, 23:05

        @hugh11 No, the odds are higher that it was a fluke – just a wild statement like Alonso would nail McLaren for stealing secrets from Ferrari or the wilder statement that Alonso would return to McLaren and drive for them for 4 years.

        Who makes the stuff up? Wild statements, indeed!

  2. I thought redbull looked fast in race in Melbourne, maybe the fastest, but redbull with Renault engine can’t get quick enough in qualifying, so that hinders their ability to win races in a motorsport where overtaking relies so much on machine rather than driver. I hear redbull are considering Honda for next year PLEASE DON’T!!

    1. Micheal Jackson
      27th March 2018, 14:53

      Not necessarily. Mercedes can be as fast as they want it quali but if the car right behind them is faster than them in race pace then they can still win with an undercut or over cut. You need to be fastest in both. I think both Ferrari and Mercedes got lucky in Australia. Let’s see if RedBull have enough straight line speed in Bahrain.

  3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    26th March 2018, 19:07

    I personally think Hamilton will easily have managed fastest lap if he was low of fuel and on fresh tyres at the end of the race if he didn’t have a car directly in front of him. I don’t think Red Bull is that close just yet. But probably closer than last year and I expect they will be way better at certain tracks.

    1. @thegianthogweed Hamilton did have a lap towards the end of the race in free air, after he made his mistake behind Vettel. He was pushing hard at that point, closing the gap within a lap or so.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        26th March 2018, 20:03

        My point was that I still think Hamilton could have managed this. As if he hadn’t spent so much time close behind Vettel and was on fresher tyres, they will have been in much better condition. If that was the case, It seems unlikely he won’t have managed a faster lap.

        1. Yes, but our point is, if hamilton, who drives the fastest car, would’ve been able to do a faster lap than ricciardo, that doesn’t say ricciardo’s couldn’t be pretty close to hamilton’s or at least ferrari’s best lap, I think they’re close to ferrari actually.

  4. Brian (@flyinglapct)
    26th March 2018, 19:46

    In this day and age of fuel, engine, and tire conservation, how relevant is the fastest lap when predicting true pace? Didn’t McLaren Honda have the fastest lap at Monza one year? I like RB, but all this big talk from them lately is getting tiresome.

    1. Difference between the Monza lap you mention and this one is Ricciardo was on normal old soft tyres which had been following Kimi for a number of laps.

      I’m hopeful for a competitive race year.

  5. Ahah, he called haas “2017 ferrari” and ferrari “2018 ferrari”!

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      27th March 2018, 4:08

      @esploratore that’s an interesting catch – that’s not accidental by the way. Horner knows something. He’s been talking about the Haas a lot.

      He’s not saying it directly but it’s obvious that he’s saying that Ferrari is running a 4 car team. After what we saw yesterday, it’s hard to argue with that.

      1. How dare you say a conspiracy :) like these ever happen in F1 or other motorsports!

      2. Yes, I know, people say haas copied ferrari’s last year car and the huge improvement in performance is showing it, surprised horner pointed that out!

  6. Until they come up with a set of technical regulations that ensure that when a car comes behind another the turbulence and disturbed air effectively prevents the following car from overtaking, no one will really care about true pace.
    Get the lead through qualifying or quick pit stops (or plain luck) and you’re odds on to win.

    It wouldn’t bother me if the cars were a little slower if it meant ability to overtake and really race.

    1. I meant regulations that prevent the current situation when….instead of “that ensure that when”

  7. Horner is correct but they wont win often from 5 & 6, they need to be on the front row more often for this pace to work (If its genuine) but Lewis I think would have cruised fastest lap if he wanted it.

  8. Completely off topic but the title picture relates to this – painting the halo black is the way to go. The Ferrari looks too high, the overall shape. During the racing and in many action shots, the cars with black halo’s could be mistaken for 2017 cars at first glance, which is only a good thing.

    Before Australia I was convinced that ’embracing the halo’ within the livery was the best way to go..

  9. Considering RBR didn’t have a real moment of free air this pace was promising.. it wasn’t just a fastest lap but fastest 5 laps on similar 22 laps old tyres Vettel used as well. Ricciardo wasn’t pushing, but doing a descent racepace.

    Remarkable is that Stroll ruined his Mercedes engine overheating in quali, Hamilton could not keep up the pace for the same reason. Could this be a sign Mercedes is on it’s outher limits…?

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