It certainly wasn’t the start anyone at Red Bull Racing had hoped it would be when home hero Daniel Ricciardo failed to even make the start of Sunday’s race at Albert Park and didn’t actually join in the action until two laps later, turning it from a race into a testing session for the Milton Keynes based squad.
Teammate Max Verstappen didn’t fare much better when he crossed the finish line in the same place he started, fifth, and with very little action throughout the entire 57 lap event.
However, team boss Christian Horner is confident that his team will be able to make up the deficit to the two top teams ahead of them, Mercedes and Ferrari, before too much time has passed in the 2017 Formula One Championship season.
"To be honest I don't think we're that far behind," Horner said. "With Mercedes I think we have about half a second to find. Ferrari have been very impressive and probably had the quickest car. We probably had the third quickest car and we've got to find a good half-second to get into the fight ahead. Max was pushing Kimi hard all race but we didn't have the pace of Vettel or Hamilton.”
"I think it is still early days and the regulations are still very immature. We've chosen a different concept and I believe there is really good potential for development with our concept. There are a lot of positives to take out of a track we've not been competitive at for the past couple of years. I'm sure we can build on this in the next couple of races."
So was it engine power as it has been in the past? Horner doesn’t seem to think that is the only issue….
"With all these things they come as a package so there is probably an equal share. The problem is the cars seem quite sensitive in dirty air, for Max we didn't see his true potential in clean air. I felt that we had Kimi's pace but I think we have a half-second to find at this track to be on terms with the cars ahead."