And a bad weekend ended in even more disappointment. Even writing this recap was sad. We hope we only have to write with this sadness this weekend, and from here on the #RB13 luck picks up.
The Australian GP started and ended hard for Red Bull Racing, with Max Verstappen taking the team’s first 10 point with a 5th place, the highest potential spot the team could get. But that didn’t eased the pain of the heartbreak it was the situation with the car #3.
The day began with news suspected from the day before, Dan was taking a 5-place grid penalty due to a replaced gearbox overnight, with Dan set to start from P15 ON the grid. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen either. Coming close to the end of his out-lap going to the grid for the race start, the car stuck on sixth gear and Daniel unable to keep going. We all could see it, he didn’t wanted to give up, and he attempted everything to make it work but he got out of the car in clear anger and disappointment and went to pits.
There, the RBR crew did everything in their hands to fix the issue. Daniel missed the Australian National Anthem and all pre-race protocol on the grid while the mechanics worked non-stop to repair the issue. They managed to do it, 2 laps into the race, and Daniel was allowed to start the race straight from his garage. It all depended on yellow flags and safety car for a miraculous come back… that didn’t happen.
On lap 26, causing pain, sadness and even more disappointment in all Albert Park and for all Daniel supporters, a fuel cell issue caused power loss, Daniel pulled over, parked the car, and retired from the nightmare the race was.
Max attempted to close up on Kimi Raikkonen for 4th, but couldn’t manage to do it. In front of them were race winner for the first time since 2015, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for the final step of the podium on his Mercedes debut. 6th was for non-retired Felipe Massa, in front of the pink Force India of Sergio Perez. The junior bulls, both Toro Rosso drivers Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat, finished 8th and 9th respectively while rookie Esteban Ocon finished behind them, scoring his first point in Formula 1. Worth to mention, only 3 other drivers finished the race, Nico Hulkenberg on 11th, Antonio Giovinazzi on his first Formula One race – and with only one hour of practice – finished 12th and lastly, Stoffel Vandoorne on 13th with the ever-problematic McLaren-Honda during his 25th birthday and the start of his first full Formula 1 season.
Red Bull Racing stated that there had been 582 days since Daniel’s last technically-related DNF (electric fault at the 2015 Belgian GP), so we hope it’s 581 days or more until we write that 3 letter acronym again.
Here are the official final standings:
And as usual, quotes and videos are below, plus our gallery has a good collection of pics from the day.
“Not the weekend I wanted at home. For all these things to happen at my home race that’s probably the most frustrating thing. We were on the back foot already after the crash in qualifying and then today we had an issue during the warm up lap followed by a second issue in the race. On both occasions the car just came to a stop so I couldn’t do anything else. But look, it’s the first race so hopefully we’ll move forward from this. Sure I’m disappointed now but it is what it is. I’ve been here before so I’ll wake up tomorrow and be motivated to get ready for China.” – Ricciardo
“I feel for the fans. I’m sure they would have loved seeing me in action, but I feel super grateful for everyone that came this weekend and supported me. Even when I stopped they were still cheering and shouting my name. That goes a long way and it makes me stand here now feeling a lot better than if I didn’t have that so I definitely appreciate their support. Also, the boys worked so many hours this weekend, and did a great job getting me out on the track again but unfortunately it hasn’t come together for any of us. Max’s pace in the race looked a bit more encouraging, so I think we’re better than what we’re showing but it’s still a bit of a puzzle we’re trying to figure out. If any Aussies have a bit of energy left in a few weeks, then come out to China and you’ll hopefully see a better race from me.” – Ricciardo
“A really frustrating start to the race with Daniel having a problem with what looks like a sensor on the gearbox stopping the car in sixth gear on the formation lap. It was an unbelievable recovery from the mechanics to get him into the race, nobody gave up in working to get the car out there. Then we were always going to be relying on safety cars to get back on to the lead lap. We decided to put the mileage in and get the knowledge anyway. Unfortunately on lap 28 he encountered another issue with a fuel cell that we need to look at to understand it fully.” – Horner