|NOTE: Qualifying results excludes penalties © F1 Pulse/AP Images
Red Bull has hinted that it may not be able to improve its car significantly to challenge the dominant Mercedes this season and has instead called upon its world champion to up his ante.
Currently placed second in the constructors’ championship, 119 points behind, Red Bull’s majority scoring has been done by Daniel Ricciardo, who was brought in from sister team Toro Rosso this season.
Paired with a four-time world champion, many observers expected the Australian to face a steep hill this season but the 24-year-old has managed to upstage his struggling German teammate.
Ricciardo is currently placed third in the drivers’ standings, 19 points ahead of fifth-placed Vettel, and has featured on the podium in the last three races including the team’s first victory of the season at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Although Vettel has been on the podium twice, he has been consistently beaten by Ricciardo all year with pundits suggesting that the German, who had mastered the art of driving in the blown diffuser V8 era, has found it difficult to adapt to the new regulations.
“I told him: 'There are 50 engineers working on this engine and they can't sort it out,'” Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko told the BBC about Vettel’s complaints about the V6 power unit era. "'You're a top driver, it's up to you. You have to do it.'"
"If he can't sort out the car, the easiest thing is the driver. He has to raise his game."