Webber: Bulls no longer the benchmark

Thursday 17-April-2014 08:26

Although Red Bull are "under a little bit of heat", Mark Webber has backed his former team to bounce back.

This season, along with the introduction of 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines, Formula 1 has witnessed a change in the pecking order.

Whereas for the last four years it was Red Bull who dominated, winning four successive Championship doubles, this season it is Mercedes who have come out on top.

While Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have won all three races, Red Bull have only been on the podium twice, the first of which they eventually lost when Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified in Australia.

But despite losing 18 points and then retiring in Malaysia, Ricciardo raced to fourth in Bahrain with Webber backing his compatriot and Red Bull as a whole to bounce back.

"He'll ride this out," The Age reported the Aussie as having told Sky Sports Radio's Big Sports Breakfast.

"It's normal to have a bit of (bad luck) - well, not maybe so much in his first few events with the start to the season he's had, but he'll just knuckle down and get on with it.

"As a youngster coming in, I think they're going to give him a great chance to do well and that's what the team needs to do now.

"They're not the benchmark either, anymore. The team's under a little bit of heat early in the Championship.

"They're a quality team and they'll be back, under the leadership of Adrian Newey - particularly on the design front.

"But Mercedes have got the run on them at the moment, with that car they're doing well. So they need to work together as a team, for sure."

Webber was also full of praise for Ricciardo, who has fought with - and beaten - Sebastian Vettel this season, most recently in Bahrain.

The Porsche World Endurance driver, who left F1 at the end of last season, added: "Everyone was probably saying that I was probably talking it up a bit, but it was honest.

"He's at the right age where he can ruffle a few feathers and that's exactly what he's done and doing well.

"There's not many people happier than me to see the Aussie flag and see him going well."

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