There was not much optimism for Red Bull coming into the 2016 season as power unit problems forced them to slip down the pecking order and their partnership turned sour with Renault the previous year
“I didn’t expect to finish top five but you do the best you can and if the car is good enough obviously you can do better, “said Ricciardo.
The Australian finished fourth in his home grand prix but Red Bull’s reliability issues were again highlighted as Daniil Kvyat had to retire without completing a lap at Albert Park due to an electrical problem.
In Bahrain, Ricciardo ended the race in fourth for the second grand prix in succession whilst Kvyat completed his first race of the season to finish seventh.
The Russian Red Bull driver managed to grab his first podium of the season as he finished third behind Rosberg and Vettel in Shanghai. Ricciardo was in fourth place just ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Russia was one of the worst performances for Red Bull in 2016. Daniil Kvyat crashed into Sebastian Vettel’s car twice during the race. Ricciardo finished the race in 11th due to Vettel hitting the Australian as a result of Kvyat actions. Subsequently the Russian did not complete the race and was demoted to Toro Rosso after bad incidents in China and Russia.
Max Verstappen took over from Kvyat and Red Bull never looked back. “You know when you get that opportunity you just go,” Verstappen said of the switch. “The media was saying about the move and it was now up to me to prove them wrong and yeah in one way it was a very relaxed weekend as well because it took a lot of pressure off. I approached it as a learning weekend and I think so far it has been going pretty well from there onwards.”
The Dutch driver won his first race in Barcelona and Ricciardo finished fourth. Verstappen said: “It is something, you know it helps a lot, I think, a victory, it’s not everything because I mean you have to prove yourself over a whole season and then again and again but it’s something you know you come into a new team and then you win the race it’s like ok well at least it’s a very good start.”
In Monaco. Ricciardo completed the race in second after securing his first career pole position but Verstappen crashed out. “One thing I hadn’t yet done was a pole,” said Ricciardo, “so to do that in Monaco made it probably more special to get my first pole.”
Verstappen and Ricciardo finished fourth and seventh place in Canada. Next time in Baku, Ricciardo pipped his team mate to seventh as the 19-year-old was eighth.
Max Verstappen showed he has years of driving nous above his tender years as he performed admirably to finish second in Austria. Ricciardo finished in fifth. The Dutchman was beginning to show signs of genius as he equalled his position in Austria at Silverstone. His team mate had to settle for fourth.
In Hungary, Ricciardo came out on top as he finished third whilst young Verstappen finished two places behind him in fifth. At Hockenheim, the Red Bull pair captured second and third ending Mercedes dominance.
Daniel Ricciardo split the Mercedes pair again as he finished second to Nico Rosberg in Belgium. Verstappen was 11th.
Monza was the next destination but neither driver could secure a podium finish as Ricciardo and Verstappen finished fifth and seventh respectively.
In Singapore, Red Bull bounced back from the disappointment at the Italian Grand Prix as Ricciardo finished second to Nico Rosberg. Verstappen was just behind Vettel in sixth.
Ricciardo won his first race of the season in Malaysia and Verstappen completed the first Red Bull 1-2 since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix. At the Japanese Grand Prix, Verstappen took his fourth second place of the year while Ricciardo ended the race in sixth.
United States was the next stop on the Formula One calendar and Ricciardo completed the race in third. Verstappen had to retire his car after 28 laps due to a problem which brought out the Virtual Safety Car.
In Mexico, Ricciardo finished in third as Red Bull locked out the second row with Verstappen in fourth. The 19-year-old then drove a stunning wet weather race in Brazil to finish third. Ricciardo had to settle with eighth.
At the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Red Bull signed off their brilliant season with Verstappen and Ricciardo finishing fourth and fifth respectively. Verstappen was just pipped to fourth in the standings by Abu Dhabi podium finisher Vettel, whilst Ricciardo’s strong season restored him to the overall third he enjoyed in 2014. Red Bull-TAG finished the year a marked improvement on 2015, soundly beating Ferrari to best of the rest.