DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 5th, (3rd Practice – P7, 1:42.773)
”I’m really happy with quali; we knew after FP3 we had a bit of work to do, but we knew when the sun went down the temperature would drop so we stayed optimistic that our set up would work better in the evening and we made some good changes for that. I was the happiest I have been all weekend during quali. We are fairly close to the Williams and not too far off at least one of the Mercs, so not a bad session.”
SEBASTIAN VETTEL, Position: 6th, (3rd Practice – P5, 1:42.679)
“I’m not too happy with that. Practice went well, but then I realised immediately in qualifying that we wouldn’t really get the grip out of the super soft tyre which we were able to do this morning and yesterday. We tried to change the car between sessions. When we went out on the used tyres in Q3 it looked as though we had found something, but it wasn’t to be. I’m not entirely happy as I would have loved, in my last qualifying for the team, to show a little bit more. I’m sure tomorrow will be an emotional day, it was already quite emotional getting into the car today.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER: “It was a very close qualifying, with the teams lining up in the end two by two. Daniel got pretty close to the Williams, but at this circuit one lap pace was never going to be our strength but he and Sebastian are on the third row for tomorrow’s race and hopefully we can move forwards from there. A great job by Daniil Kvyat as well, to have three Red Bull cars fifth, sixth and seventh.”
THIERRY SALVI: “Fifth and sixth is a reasonable qualifying result. Dan suffered some issues during third practice this morning, but everything was fixed for qualifying and there was no repeat. His final lap was very good but not quite enough in the end to sneak a place on row two. Seb struggled with the car throughout the session though and we’re now analysing the data to understand the problem. As usual we will have to extract the maximum from our PU tomorrow and factor that performance into the overall strategy. With double points on offer it’s really important to give Seb every chance of finishing the season fourth in the championship.”
They say a picture tells a thousand words, so what better way to look back at just how special Red Bull’s relationship with Sebastian has been than through the lenses of F1’s photographic finest.
From the moment he stepped into Toro Rosso’s STR2 for his debut grand prix with the company at the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix, Sebastian and Red Bull have been on an incredible adventure together. There was his amazing, record-setting first win at Monza in 2008, his step up to Red Bull Racing for ’09 and the team’s first win in China, the nail-biting four-way title showdown here in Abu Dhabi in 2010 and the team’s strong 2011 season, his third hard-fought title and the staggering achievement of nine consecutive wins to seal an emotional fourth title last year. There are more, but the list is just too long. So, the best we can do is show the pictures of Sebastian then and Sebastian now and say farewell, Sebastian and thank you, together we learned how to win, how to face adversity and, ultimately, how to be champions.