After this spectacular showing by Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel must be grimly munching on his assertions that Red Bull is no serious threat.
The Renault engine just hit the tracks for the first time and boy, did it set them on fire. Daniel Ricciardo, the proud bearer of Red Bull’s new development, surged ahead of the competition by half a second. And by competition, we mean Lewis Hamilton, world champion and star driver of the team they’d been aiming to beat all along. But let’s forget about the here and now for a second. With a lap of 1:14.607, Ricciardo was only two-tenths shy of the the fastest lap ever recorded on Monte Carlo, set by none other than Michael Schumacher himself. Talk about underpromising and overdelivering.
“Those Red Bull drivers have got absolutely unbelievable speed and confidence over here. Absolutely unbelievable. It defies belief that they can take that much speed into this swimming pool.”
In case you were wondering what became of the Ferrari driver with the bold words, Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen only just made it into the top 10. Basically, Ferrari wasn’t even a mote in the eye of the Red Bull team, which was singleminded in gunning to beat Mercedes. And this was all after even they admitted that the Renault engines would not be the equal of those used by the German giants. Could that mean that the calibre of the Mercedes engines is balanced by peerless racers on the Red Bull side? If Rosberg and Hamilton don’t step up their game, they could be staring straight at their immediate replacements.