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Horner impressed with Ricciardo

Tuesday 01-April-2014 10:57

Red Bull boss Christian Horner is happy with the performances of Daniel Ricciardo, despite the Australian's disappointing start to his career with the Milton Keynes team.

Ricciardo finished in second place at the season-opener in Australia before being disqualified after breaching technical regulations relating to fuel flow sensor data - a ruling Red Bull are appealing.

Then in Malaysia last week, Ricciardo started from fifth on the grid but overtook Fernando Alonso at the start to find himself in a position just behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel and the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Disaster struck during the second round of pit stops, though. After being released, Ricciardo's car came to a standstill in the pit lane and had to be pushed back to the Red Bull pits, where they had to refit the left front wheel.

Having already lost more than a minute to his rivals, he was subsequently given a stop-go penalty for an unsafe release from the pits. Shortly after, he ran over the kerbs which resulted in a front wing failure, which led to a puncture and another forced pit stop.

In an attempt to preserve his car for the race in Bahrain this week, Red Bull retired him shortly after.

To make matters worse, the Australian was given a 10-place grid penalty at the next race as part of the punishment for that unsafe release.

"Daniel, I think, was fantastic today," Horner told crash.net right after the race in Malaysia.

"To anybody that said he wasn't committed enough over the first lap or so, I think he proved any doubters wrong - he's an absolute racer. He got stuck in and made the pass on Alonso, he went around the outside of Seb and gave them both enough room to work with, and he nearly had a run at [Nico] Rosberg as well.

"I think, for any team, it's a nervous time [seeing both its drivers going head to head], but they both gave each other plenty of space and there was no moaning over the radio or anything like that. They just got on with it.

"Everything we've seen from Daniel has been enormously impressive in the way he handles things, the way he handles adversity. Today didn't go his way, but he gets out of the car and there's a smile on his face. He knows it'll come right."

Regarding the penalty he received, Horner wasn't too despondent.

"The rules, I think, are pretty clear," he added.

"For an unsafe release, it's a stop-go penalty of ten seconds and a ten-place grid penalty for the next race. The punishment is harsh for the crime but, unfortunately, it's the rule, so that's what it'll be.

"The wheel wasn't located correctly.

"It went on okay and was done up, but the gunman felt something wasn't quite right. In going to put a couple of extra turns on [the wheel nut], the latch on the gun had switched back across, so he effectively undid it. It's one of those things - this pit crew have the fastest stops in pit-lane but, today, a mistake was made. That's how it goes sometimes."

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