On the anniversary of Red Bull’s first F1 win, we recap the team’s seven biggest victories.
THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM.AU
April 19: it’s a special date for anyone involved with Red Bull Racing, because it was on a sodden Sunday in Shanghai on that very date seven years ago that the team took in the view from the top step of an F1 podium for the first time, Sebastian Vettel winning the Chinese Grand Prix.
It was the start of something big – since, the team has won four drivers’ and constructors’ championships and 50 Grands Prix, the most recent of which coming in Belgium 2014 at the hands of Daniel Ricciardo.
Seven years on from that momentous day in Shanghai, we recap the seven most important wins in Red Bull Racing’s history.
Win #1: Walking on water
Race: 2009 Chinese Grand Prix
Date: April 19, 2009
Podium: 1st Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 2nd Mark Webber (Red Bull), 3rd Jenson Button (Brawn GP)
Jenson Button and new team Brawn GP had swept to victory in the year’s first two races in Australia and Malaysia, with Red Bull’s only points in that pair of races coming from Mark Webber’s sixth place at Sepang. But as the rain poured down in China for round three, the Bulls found their wings, Vettel cantering to a second career win, Webber achieving a career-best second, and Button the best of the rest nearly three-quarters of a minute adrift. A team that had managed just three podiums in its first four years was off and running.
Win #9: Monaco pool party
Race: 2010 Monaco Grand Prix
Date: May 16, 2010
Podium: 1st Mark Webber (Red Bull), 2nd Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 3rd Robert Kubica (Renault)
Red Bull had made a splash in the Principality before – remember Christian Horner fulfilling a pre-race bet by jumping in a swimming pool clothed only in a Superman cape after David Coulthard took the team’s first podium in Monte Carlo in 2006? But Webber’s maiden win at Monaco four years later took the celebrations to a whole new level, Red Bull winning the sport’s signature race for the first time. Both the Australian and Vettel ended up in the team’s pool at the Energy Station after the race, and the drivers decided to jump in the harbour soon afterwards. It might have been Webber’s one wrong move of the day. “Mediterranean diesel,” was his colourful description of a harbour filled with the after-effects of people partying on boats for the weekend …
Win #15: Drama in the desert
Race: 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Date: November 14, 2010
Podium: 1st Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 2nd Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), 3rd Jenson Button (McLaren)
Title-deciders don’t get much more tense than this. Both Red Bull drivers, along with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s championship leader Fernando Alonso, arrived at the final race of the year in mathematical contention for the crown; an early-race decision by Ferrari to pit Alonso to cover off Webber saw the Spaniard stuck behind the rocket-fast Renault of Vitaly Petrov for most of the race, allowing pole-sitter Vettel to escape at the front. Alonso finished seventh, Webber eighth – and Vettel cruised to victory to become the youngest world champion in F1 history. Remarkably, it was the only time he’d led the championship standings all season.
Win #41: Seb’s Singapore stormer
Race: 2013 Singapore Grand Prix
Date: September 22, 2013
Podium: 1st Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 2nd Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), 3rd Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
Vettel did a lot of winning in six years at Red Bull – 38 of the team’s 50 victories, to be exact – but was he ever more dominant than on the Singapore city streets in 2013? A mid-race safety car caused by Daniel Ricciardo crashing his Toro Rosso saw Vettel stay out rather than pit for new tyres, and when the race resumed, he tore off at a rate two seconds a lap faster than anyone else. His winning margin – 32.627 seconds – was the biggest for more than eight years, and he achieved a rare grand chelem (grand slam) by winning the race after starting from pole and leading every lap while setting the fastest lap of the race. Under the floodlights, it was a case of Vettel first, daylight second.
Win #44: Awesome foursome
Race: 2013 Indian Grand Prix
Date: October 27, 2013
Podium: 1st Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 2nd Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 3rd Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
Vettel arrived in India needing just five points to secure a fourth world title, and off the back of five straight wins, there was never a surer thing. No cruise and collect mode here – the German took pole and fought his way back after an early pit stop to win by 29 seconds, celebrating on the start-finish straight on his lap back to the pits with a series of donuts. It was the last of three races at the Buddh International Circuit in New Delhi, Vettel winning all of them.
Win #47: End of an era
Race: 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix
Date: November 24, 2013
Podium: 1st Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 2nd Mark Webber (Red Bull), 3rd Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
Vettel equalled Alberto Ascari’s 1952-53 record of winning nine straight races, while Webber joined him on the podium in his final race before retirement in the perfect send-off to their wildly successful – and sometimes acrimonious – five-year run as teammates that produced 47 wins and four constructors’ titles. It was their 16th 1-2 finish together and a fitting way for the Australian to finish his 12 years in F1, Webber driving back to the pits after crossing the finish line with his helmet off, soaking up his final lap.
Win #50: Ricciardo raises the bat
Race: 2014 Belgian Grand Prix
Date: August 24, 2014
Podium: 1st Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), 2nd Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 3rd Valtteri Bottas (Williams)
Ricciardo’s first two wins in Red Bull colours in Canada and Hungary in 2014 owed themselves to dramatic late-race overtakes to secure the lead; he had no such worries in Belgium after Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg tripped over one another on lap two, the Aussie cruising to a three-second win over a closing Rosberg after completely controlling the race. That Red Bull’s landmark 50th win came at one of the sport’s signature circuits made it even sweeter. “There’s definitely a few races on the calendar that stand out more than others, and Spa is one of them,” Ricciardo grinned afterwards.