Circuit of America was a mixed race for Red Bull Racing. Another podium for Daniel Ricciardo saw an non-alcoholic Shoey chugged by Gerard Butler. While Max Verstappen’s shadow boxing marked the beginning of a nightmare, as he would later retire altogether. Ironically this brought out the Virtual Safety Car that gave Mercedes a free pitstop and cost Daniel Ricciardo his shot at a fight with Nico Rosberg for the second step of the podium.
P3 was enough to see Red Bull Racing edge slightly clearer of Ferrari in their fight for second in the Manufacturers Championship, with Vettel in P4 and both Verstappen and Raikkonen retiring from the race.
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Finish Position: 3rd, Start Position: 3rd
“In the beginning of the race the supersoft tyres helped me but the actual start I felt wasn’t really that much better than the Mercedes. Then I saw Nico going to the outside so it gave me an opportunity on the inside. Obviously I would have loved to have lead out of Turn 1 but second was good enough. I tried to stay with Lewis the first couple of laps but then his soft tyres were able to go a bit better. I think we were looking good for P2 but then the Virtual Safety Car didn’t work in our favour today. I’m not going to be too disappointed, it’s just cool to be on the podium here. I love coming here, the anthem was pretty awesome before the race, I had goosebumps, I’m not gonna lie, and then the podium after was great. It’s another big bag of points and we at least had Nico’s pace so that’s encouraging and we’ll try and do what we can in the next few days. Obviously Max and Kimi had their misfortunes today so it was just me and Seb out there, but we still gained a little bit on Ferrari so we’re looking good. We’ll try and keep going like this and get on the podiums for the last few races.”
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: DNF, Start Position: 4th
“It was a very unfortunate way to end the race, especially as the first part was so positive. The start was OK, being on the harder compound means it is always going to be tricky but we managed to get away and stay in front of Seb. I was happy with the pace and I felt good out there, it was a nice battle with Kimi who I was glad to pass. I’m sure there was the ability to race the Mercedes today but it is just very hard to pass them due to the straight line speed. I backed off Nico in the end to save my tyres and maintain the gap from the Ferrari. The pit stop issue was my misunderstanding, the team had asked me to push the lap before so I thought I was going to be coming in. I pitted and then realised they hadn’t actually made the call, luckily it didn’t affect the end result. Shortly after I had come back on track I heard a banging noise coming from the engine so I pulled the clutch, they then asked me to release it again and keep going so they could try and work out what it was, unfortunately we couldn’t solve it and it ended my race. At the end of the day the race pace was good and the setup felt strong so I am positive and looking forward to Mexico next week.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “Taking away a podium finish and extending our lead over Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship to 53 points are positives. A DNF on Max’s car due to a gearbox failure is a negative out of today. But Daniel drove an excellent race, he did everything he could, he got the track position at the start with the softer tyre and held that through the first round of pit stops. Unfortunately the Virtual Safety Car (VSC), ironically caused by the issues with Max’s car, gave Nico a free stop and track position on Daniel. Without that we would have had track position on Nico, who would have had a softer tyre available to him, but it would have been a fight on the circuit between the two guys rather than dictated through the VSC. So all in all, positives to take out of this race and we look forward to the Mexican Grand Prix in one week’s time.”