Mark Webber has acknowledged that Red Bull Racing 'just weren't quick enough' in a European Grand Prix in Valencia at the weekend that team principal Christian Horner described as the Milton Keynes-based outfit's 'most disappointing race of the year'.
The two RB4s of Webber and David Coulthard lacked for pace from the word 'go' around the all-new Juan Carlos I Marina circuit in Spain's third city, trading times with only the Force Indias for company in opening practice before going on to qualify just 14th and 17th – the customer Renault-powered squad suffering, like the works team, from a distinct lack of power and seeming to write their chances off before the starting lights had even gone out [see separate story – click here
From there it was an equally desolate race, with Webber taking the chequered flag a lap down in twelfth, and Coulthard enduring a brace of spins en route
to 17th – and last.
“We just weren't quick enough,” Webber mused. “We were hoping for a few safety cars to come out during the race, so ran a one-stop strategy, but it didn't happen. It was a difficult race pace-wise, and we've got a lot of analysis to do.”
“I was hit from behind on the first lap,” related Coulthard. “I came back and passed a couple of cars, but when I tried to pass one of the Force Indias, I aborted the manoeuvre and made contact with them, so sorry to them for that. That damaged my barge board and the side of the car, so after that the balance and downforce were very poor.”
The two drivers' sentiments were echoed after the race by Horner, who seemed to take a covert dig at Renault by suggesting that Sebastian Vettel in the Scuderia Toro Rosso had shown the potential of the Red Bull chassis when it has a strong engine in the back of it.
Over the last few grands prix, the energy drinks-backed concern has slipped from the coveted fourth place in the constructors' world championship to sixth, 17 points shy of Toyota who now occupy the spot.
“A disastrous race,” Horner asserted. “David got involved in an incident on the first lap which damaged his car, and Mark – who was on a one-stop strategy – was hoping for a safety car that never appeared. He didn't have enough pace, particularly after his pit-stop.
“It was our most disappointing race of the year. Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel, who drove very well today and demonstrated what the chassis is capable of.”
“A poor result,” agreed Renault principal track support engineer Fabrice Lom. “We were off the pace. After qualifying we didn't really have any opportunity to bet on, so we finished where we qualified. We have poor pace and we just have to work.”