Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has described the work done by Daniel Ricciardo’s mechanics to get his car ready in time for Chinese Grand Prix qualifying as “miraculous”.

The Australian came to a halt in the closing stages of FP3 with a suspected turbo failure in his Red Bull, leaving his mechanics just two hours to complete an engine change in his RB14 before the start of qualifying in Shanghai

Ricciardo’s mechanics successfully completed the power unit change to get him out on track with only minutes remaining in the first part of qualifying. Horner praised the “herculean” effort by his team, revealing both sides of the Red Bull came together in a combined bid to fix the problem. 

“What they’ve achieved today is miraculous,” Horner said. “Getting the engine turned around and there was quite a lot of work getting that engine dressed and onto the car, it’s just herculean. 

“To see Max’s mechanics as well diving in when and where they could it’s what a team is all about. That was the biggest result of qualifying for us today was actually achieving that feat.”

Despite the disruption and setback, Ricciardo managed to put his Red Bull sixth on the grid and just 0.2s behind teammate Max Verstappen

“They did very well - the mechanics, they should be celebrating,” Ricciardo said. “They did a great job. Like what happened this morning, it’s out of the mechanics hands. It’s not because they didn’t do a bolt up. 

“But then all the pressure is on them in two hours to do an engine change. They did very well. I’m thankful that we’ve got a good crew and we got out there. Sixth is certainly better than being 20th at the back.”

The engine issue marks the latest reliability concern for Red Bull and Renault, after Ricciardo was forced to change components following his retirement at last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, edging him closer to a grid penalty with F1’s tighter power unit restrictions for 2018. 

“It hasn’t been the cleanest start,” he added. “Especially after testing, testing we had a pretty good winter, we thought we were really on top of things. But obviously with Bahrain and then this morning, it’s a little bit of a shake-up. 

“We’ve just got to try and keep reiterating the importance of reliability and try and overcome all these penalties that we’ll eventually have at some point now.”

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