Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix marked a key milestone for Sebastian Vettel as he hit 100 races with the Red Bull team.
However, his luck in Monte Carlo was certainly around the lowest he has had in the five and a third seasons the German has been with the Milton Keynes team.
After issues with the Energy Recovery System in qualifying, more engine trouble forced the four-time champion to retire for the second time in 2014 in the race on Sunday.
In direct comparison his new team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, scored his second straight podium as the Australian’s impressive start to his Red Bull career continues.
The third place saw Ricciardo move ahead of Vettel in the drivers standings for the first time this season and in the midst of his car trouble, Vettel almost let his frustrations boil over.
“Come on guys,” he said impatiently over the radio before gathering his thoughts and adding: “I mean, you’ve tried everything.”
After he had brought his ailing RB10 back to the garage it was apparent Vettel was eager to move on from his latest setback.
“How do I get out of here?” he told German reporters trying to joke through his disappointment. “I don’t have a boat!”
Former driver and now respected pundit and commentator, Martin Brundle, believes the current troubles Vettel is facing are just a hurdle every champion has to overcome.
But speaking to Germany’s Die Welt newspaper he made the comparison between Sebastian's luck now and the he has had in the past few years.
“It seems as though he has inherited Mark Webber’s car,” he said obviously referring to the poor luck often suffered by Vettel’s former team-mate as the German strolled to his four titles.
However, looking forward, Vettel insisted his current run will end.
He said: “It’s always something different going wrong, but it can’t go on forever.”
Indeed Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is hopeful that his driver’s fortunes will turn and that German will not be broken by a run of poor results.
“Obviously this weekend was pretty tough on him and he is doing nothing wrong,” the 40-year-old told Autosport. “He is smart enough to recognise that.
“Like any sportsman he is going to be frustrated when things go wrong but with time to get breath, and reflect, he will just keep working away at it.”
What will give Vettel hope is the performance of the Red Bull car when the Renault power unit is reliable.
As Ricciardo proved in Monaco, when the team uses the right strategy, which allows the team to exploit the apparent edge the RB10 has on tyre preservation, they can be a viable threat to Mercedes.
In Montreal too, Renault are hopeful it can be the first race where their customer teams can use 100% of the power available to them.
But as the closing laps on Sunday proved, as Daniel Ricciardo looked to pass Lewis Hamilton, the French marque’s V6 remains way off the Mercedes unit in terms of power and drivability.
The next race in Canada is traditionally the first low downforce track as a high top speed is more important than the need for grip in the corners.
“Montreal is going to be a challenging race and it’ll be interesting to see how we fare there,” Horner told ESPN.
And while the Briton claimed Ricciardo’s pace late in the race had given him hope for the remainder of the season, he also expressed caution believing it would be very difficult to be as close as Daniel was in Monaco in upcoming races.
“I think we take a lot of confidence out of that, but you are going from one extreme to another,” he said referring to the different challenges set at the Canadian track compared to those in Monaco.
“It will be interesting to see how we fare against the Mercedes-powered teams in Montreal.”
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