Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner was among the first to congratulate Sebastian Vettel for a “fantastic” charge to victory in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull boss, who will take over responsibility for Vettel’s development as a driver when he joins Red Bull Racing alongside Mark Webber next year, was full of praise for his performance, which, as he was quick to point out, was achieved in Red Bull’s chassis – if not the engine.
“Congratulations to Sebastian and Toro Rosso on a fantastic result for Red Bull,” the Englishman said. “Sebastian drove a fantastic race and totally destroyed the opposition. Red Bull Technology can be very proud of the car that they have provided.”
Red Bull were once again outclassed by their smaller sister team, Toro Rosso’s grunt from their Ferrari engine giving them an advantage in the long straights.
Mark Webber wound up in eighth place behind Lewis Hamilton, but was unlucky not to have finished higher having matched McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen for pace in the early stages.
The Aussie aced lucked out with the weather and the timing of his first pit-stop, which dropped him behind the one-stopping drivers of Robert Kubica and Fernando Alonso which hampered his progress.
“We came out after the first stop behind Robert and Fernando and lost a lot of time on the fresh tyres,” he explained. “That’s when Heikki got a really good gap on me, so the first seven or eight laps behind them killed the tyres and trying to go through them wasn’t easy so lost some time.”
“The last section wasn’t too bad, but when you’re ten seconds behind starting it, then that’s where you’ve finished. So we did give some points away today, but it’s hard to get everything right on days like this.”
David Coulthard in the sister RB4 meanwhile had a torrid race. Starting from thirteenth he dropped back down the field having been hit with a brake problem. He was among the first drivers to gamble on the intermediate tyres when the track dried, but he struggled to bring the Bridgestone Potenzas up to temperature, and ended up colliding with Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima.
“I had some difficulties in the beginning as my brake balance bar jammed, so I couldn’t get rearwards on the brakes – they locked up and I went off at 2nd Lesmo. Thereafter I burned out the rear tyres early so I had blisters on the rear wets.”
“Coming into the pitstop we put on the inters, but again seemed to burn out the rear tyres early, so I kept tip-toeing through the corners and kept losing places.”
“In the end Nakajima came out around on the outside under braking at the Parabloica, but there’s an arc through the corner and I couldn’t avoid him – when he was turning in he hit my wing.”
Christian Horner said of his own team’s performance: “Mark’s first stint in the race was good, unfortunately he dropped out in traffic and then a spin on his out lap on inters cost him places to Massa.
“However, he was very quick at the end of the race, but unfortunately, having dropped places on his out lap he couldn’t re-gain them, so a frustrating result for Mark when the potential was there to do better.
“For David we gambled on running an inter on his one stop with nothing to lose and unfortunately, towards the end of the race he started dropping back and then an accident with Nakajima finished his afternoon.”
Renault’s Fabrice Lom added: “A difficult race for us. We were third on the gird, but in these conditions Mark nearly went off. We finished eighth with one point, so it’s better than nothing but honestly very, very frustrating. In the end the pace was there – we were very quick. But well done to Sebastian and to Toro Rosso. First pole, first victory the same weekend it’s magic.”