Horner content with ‘good haul of points’
16 April 2012 – Red Bull was overseeing a damage limitation exercise in China, managing to recover to fourth and fifth positions after what was, for Sebastian Vettel, a disastrous start to the afternoon. On the opening lap, the World Champion ran in as low as 15th place.
After Mark Webber started sixth with Vettel 11th, the latter lost four places when the red lights went out and found himself briefly battling with the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen. On different race plans, the two Red Bulls were passed by the pair of McLarens in the closing stages, with Webber then seizing position from Vettel around the outside of the Turn 14 hairpin.
“That was very busy and action-packed race,” acknowledged Team Principal Christian Horner. “Ultimately, from where we started and where we were on the first lap, we faced some difficult strategic decisions. We were the first to stop with Mark, which was very aggressive. We stopped early with Sebastian and split the strategies at that point – Mark on a three-stop and Seb onto a two-stop - and the race started to unfold."
The two RB8s ran in very different configurations, with Webber using the new version exhaust – with the exits further forward – whereas Vettel had elected to revert to the a-spec version last used at the final pre-season test in Barcelona.
“Our race pace was pretty strong and we got amongst the McLarens," Horner continued. "Unfortunately, the front left-tyre on Sebastian’s car took a real hammering, possibly behind Kimi (Räikkönen) and he didn’t have anything left tyre-wise by the end of the race; nonetheless, having been 15th on the first lap, fifth is still a strong result.
“Mark also went onto a long last stint. He had a great scrap with Lewis (Hamilton), we got Mark track position to Lewis and he just lost out at the end. Nonetheless, it was a good haul of points. Congratulations to Nico Rosberg and to Mercedes on their Grand Prix victory.”
Heading to Bahrain, Round 4 of 20 in 2012, the reigning double title holders sit second in the Constructors’ Championship and 24 points in arrears of McLaren.