Are Red Bull starting to emerge once again?
Red Bull Racing showed signs of life at the Chinese Grand Prix as Daniil Kvyat secured their first podium finished of the 2016 campaign.
The Russian endured a battle on the Shanghai circuit to earn third place as he clashed with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who branded the 21-year-old “suicidal” following an altercation in the first corner.
Four-time champion Vettel proved to have just enough power to edge out Kvyat, while Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg cruised to his third victory on the spin at the top of the podium.
The Russian’s performance along with the fourth-place finish of Daniel Ricciardo suggests that Red Bull are starting to get back to their best to provide competition for Mercedes and Ferrari at the top of the Constructors’ Championship.
However, despite their improvement, their Formula One Championship odds remain long with Ricciardo backed at 100/1 and, despite his podium in Shanghai, Kyvat at 1000/1.
Red Bull rose to prominence in the 2009 season with Mark Webber and Vettel behind the wheel.
The team had struggled in the early years of their tenure in the sport, failing to finish in the top three of the Constructors’ Championship until the arrival of Vettel.
The German narrowly missed out on the crown in his first year with the team, finishing second overall behind Jenson Button, while his efforts with Webber saw Red Bull place just behind winners Brawn GP.
But from 2010 to 2013 Red Bull dominated the circuit as Vettel reeled off four-straight Championship wins. As a result, the team also enjoyed success in the Constructors’ Championship.
Red Bull pushed ahead of their rivals during the four-year span due to their speed around the course, which saw their rivals McLaren and Ferrari unable to cope with their dominance.
However, rule changes in the 2014 campaign saw Mercedes rise to the occasion and knock Red Bull and Vettel off their perch as the leading team in the sport.
Their struggles throughout the season saw the German decide to part company with the franchise and join rivals Ferrari ahead of the 2015 campaign.
Ricciardo enjoyed his best season of his career in 2014 as he finished third behind the dominant force of Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Rosberg.
The Australian claimed three victories at the Canadian, Hungarian and Belgian Grand Prixs, but ended up more than 100 points off the pace in the hunt for the Championship.
Despite the promise shown by Ricciardo in 2014, he was powerless to stop Red Bull from taking several steps backwards in the following campaign as he finished in a lowly eighth, with only one podium.
Kvyat edged ahead of his teammate into seventh, but failed to register a finish in the top three, leaving question marks over whether Red Bull would be able to launch a serious drive for success in 2016.
However, following Kvyat’s first podium of his career in the Chinese Grand Prix and Ricciardo’s consistency with three fourth-place finishes on the spin, there are signs that Red Bull are starting to emerge as a threat once again.