Ferrari, Red Bull surprised by gap to Mercedes

Bottas beats Hamilton to take pole position at Bahrain GP

"China we were 1.3 off, I was 1.3 off pole, and here we are less than eight tenths off, so it is about half a second turnaround, and for what we don't know", Ricciardo said.

The next race is the Russian Grand Prix on April 30.

Verstappen moved from sixth to fourth at the start and was putting pressure on Lewis Hamilton when he made a pit stop on lap 11 to try to undercut the Mercedes. "It became very quickly apparent that Daniel struggled to warm up the soft tyre compared to our competitors and dropped several places. with the final stint on the supersoft tyre unfortunately fifth place was the best that we could achieve today". "I could see Valtteri (Bottas, then-leader) was struggling".

But the team's race unraveled after that, with Verstappen crashing out with brake failure after making a pitstop, and Ricciardo struggling for grip after the safety auto period that came shortly after his team-mate's off.

"We put the "Soft" on and that tyre was just not happening for us today", he explained.

Ricciardo plummeted like a stone on the restart, losing places in quick succession to Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen.

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"We never really got that tyre working".

"The laptime we've got this weekend feels like it is for free because we don't feel it's something fundamental yet". So that's why I went back.

"I haven't seen where we lost most of the time but I think a little bit spread everywhere but I think sector one and sector three stood out".

It's another quirk added to an increasingly lengthening list of the truculent RB13 chassis' traits that Red Bull needs to address.

"It's a bit of a shame - we could respect each other on that to keep a bit of a gap instead of trying to squeeze in just before the last corner".

"We had to understand it maybe a bit more than Mercedes and Ferrari from the first few races but it seems to work a bit better now. Obviously you could look at the Mercedes and the Ferraris - they have a lot more downforce than us so the softs work for them but it highlighted our problem and it's something we can now address".

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