Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were unable to extract the true potential of their Formula 1 cars during the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. 

Ricciardo, starting eighth following his red flag-related grid penalty, made strong progress throughout the race and battled Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages for the final podium spot, ultimately missing out as he ended the Melbourne opener with the fastest lap of the race. 

Red Bull also got within a few tenths of Ferrari drivers Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel in what was an encouraging qualifying for the Milton Keynes-based squad.

Horner is confident his team could have been even more competitive in Sunday's race had his drivers not being running so close to other cars ahead.

“The pace of our car was actually very good,” Horner said. “Both of our cars sat looking at rear wings of different cars throughout the grand prix. 

“The only clear lap we had was when Daniel dropped back from Kimi and then went to push up to have a go in the last part of the race and set the fastest race lap. 

“So we had a lot of pace in hand but where never able to show it because they were constantly within a second of someone.”

In the other side of the Red Bull garage, Max Verstappen dropped to eighth after a spin on Lap 10, before recovering to finish sixth having been unable to find a way past McLaren’s Fernando Alonso

Horner revealed Verstappen’s spin was partly the result of damage he sustained after running wide while in pursuit of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas. 

“Where he was unlucky was at the start,” Horner explained. “He made a good initial getaway, had a bit of a run on Sebastian, went to the right but got boxed in there, and that allowed Magnussen a clean run to take advantage in Turn 2 and sneak ahead of Max. 

“As soon as he was behind the Haas, knowing how tough it is to overtake around here, absolutely went for it, got a bit wide I think in Turn 11/12 on Lap 6 and that damaged the rear diffuser. 

“That created a significant in balance for him which he did incredibly well to manage for the rest of the race. But then that caught him out with a spin at Turn 1. He was getting intermittent loss of downforce in mid-corners, nothing he could do about it.”


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