Motorsports: FIA Formula One World Championship 2014, Grand Prix of United States, #3 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS, Infiniti Red Bull Racing), #1 Sebastian Vettel (GER, Infiniti Red Bull Racing), (Photo by Hoch Zwei/Corbis via Getty Images)

Sebastian Vettel is a four-time Formula 1 champion and one of the best drivers in the sport in the last decade. The German has won 52 races and scored 107 podiums. In his twelve seasons in F1, he’s been beaten by his teammate only once – at the hands of Daniel Ricciardo in 2014. The Australian beat Vettel in points and victories that season, but many believe Vettel’s car having mechanical issues was a big reason for it.

Charles Leclerc, the young Monégasque driver, will be Vettel’s teammate at Ferrari in 2019. Will the 20-year old Leclerc be able to do what Ricciardo did to his famous teammate Vettel in 2014? We look at how Ricciardo beat Vettel in 2014.

Daniel Ricciardo vs. Sebastian Vettel 2014 – What Really Happened?

Daniel Ricciardo’s first season at Red Bull Racing, as Mark Webber‘s replacement, was stunning. But let’s take a look into what really happened in the 2014 season that led to the Australian beating his great teammate Vettel in equal machinery.

Race Wins

Ricciardo took home three victories in his first season with Red Bull. Vettel could not score a victory coming off a record-setting 2013 campaign regarding Grand Prix wins, 13 wins.

As a cold number, 3-0 in victories looks like a vastly superior number. Let’s dissect Ricciardo’s victories and compare his performance at that races with Vettel’s.

Canadian Grand Prix

After Saturday’s qualifying for the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel was third on the grid and his teammate was in sixth place. At the start of the race, Vettel managed to get P2 from Lewis Hamilton as Ricciardo maintained his sixth place.

The German was running third in the race, but after his first pitstop, he got stuck behind Sergio Pérez‘s and Nico Hulkenberg‘s one-stopping Force Indias, which compromised his race.

As Vettel’s pace slowed down behind Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, who was six seconds behind, managed to get on his teammate’s gearbox. After Vettel’s second pitstop, he rejoined behind Pérez, who was not pitting again. Vettel lost some extra time behind the Mexican, which allowed Ricciardo to overtake him when the Australian completed his second stop of the race.

With the Mercedes suffering from MGU-K issues and brake damage, which forced Hamilton to retire and slowed Rosberg down. Ricciardo overtook Pérez for second place and took the lead from Rosberg for his first F1 win.

Hungarian Grand Prix

At Hungary, Vettel started in P2 and Ricciardo in fourth place. Vettel was in third when a Marcus Ericsson crash brought the Safety Car out, and the timing did not help his chances. After the Safety Car went in, Vettel was in sixth place, and Ricciardo was leading the Grand Prix.

Vettel’s race got worse after he spun due to the damp track and lost places. Ricciardo’s strategy helped him to overtake Mercedes’ Hamilton and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in the closing stages to take the win, his second of the year.

Belgian Grand Prix

The 2014 Belgian Grand Prix is remembered mostly due to the encounter between Mercedes’ drivers Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Rosberg touched Hamilton’s rear tire while fighting for the lead on lap 2 and caused a puncture, damaging the front wing of his car too.

Vettel was in second place after starting the race from third, ahead of his teammate, who started fifth, both behind the damaged Mercedes of Rosberg. At the Pouhon curve, Vettel made a small mistake, and the Australian overtook him. With Rosberg entering the pits to change his front wing, Ricciardo took the lead and earned his second win in a row, his third of the year.

DNFs

Much is said about Vettel’s bad run of luck with the reliability of his RB10 in 2014. Let’s take a look into both drivers retirements from races.

Sebastian Vettel

The German champion’s bad luck started in the first weekend of the season. Vettel’s car suffered electrical problems in Q2, which forced him to start the race in 12th place. In the race, he retired on lap three with Power Unit problems.

Vettel’s second retirement of the year came in Monaco, where he retired after five laps with another engine issue. Then, his third and final DNF occurred in Red Bull’s home race at Austria, where his car let him down after 34 laps on Sunday, due to electronic failure.

In Vettel’s three retirements, he was behind Ricciardo at that point of the Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo

The Australian had two DNFs all year. He retired at Malaysia when he was in fourth place after a disastrous pitstop and a subsequent front wing failure. And at Brazil due to a suspension failure on lap 39, while he was in eighth place, behind Vettel who finished fifth.

Ricciardo scored points in 16 out of the 19 races in 2014. The other race in which he was not able to score was his home race in Australia. Ricciardo ended the race in second place (where he started) behind Nico Rosberg, but was disqualified due to a fuel flow infringement. So Ricciardo ended up without points in three races for reasons outside his control.

Bad Saturdays

Vettel and Ricciardo had to overcome on Sundays many bad qualifying sessions throughout the season. Due to penalties from Power Unit changes or failures on Saturdays or unscheduled gearbox changes, Ricciardo had to start twice out of position (Bahrain and Abu Dhabi), while his teammate had four such qualifications (Australia, Spain, USA, and Abu Dhabi). Both cars were excluded from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying due to illegal front wings.

Ricciardo started 13th at Bahrain, while Vettel was 10th on the grid. But the Australian (4th) finished the race ahead of his teammate (6th). At Spain, Ricciardo started third and finished third, while Vettel improved from 15th on the grid to fourth.

At USA, Ricciardo started fifth and finished third, while his German teammate moved up from 18th on the grid (after receiving penalties) to seventh. At the last GP of the season at Abu Dhabi, Ricciardo moved from 20th to fourth and Vettel from 19th to eighth.

Overall Stats

  • Points: RIC 238-167 VET
  • Wins: RIC 3-0 VET
  • Podiums: RIC 8-4 VET
  • Poles: 0-0
  • Race Position: RIC 13-6 VET
  • Race Position with both drivers finishing: RIC 11-3 VET
  • Qualifying: RIC 11-8 VET
  • Average Race Position (DNFs included): RIC 3.1 – 4.2 VET
  • Average Race Position (without DNFs): RIC  3.7 – 5 VET
  • DNFs when in front of the teammate: VET 1-0 RIC

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Facts and stats are numbers without context. What wasn’t addressed is that Vettel knew early in the season that he was going to Ferrari. By mid-season, he just wasn’t in it. He had already mentally checked out and the team started to lock him out of any discussions for the next season’s car.

    • We shall see next year what happens! Something i stil dont understand, how Vettel has never won a race in his life starting from 4th or higher (5th, 6th, 7th…..) I slightly inclined to believe that hes no good under pressure, he´s proving it this season and he is still racing for Ferrari next year. I guess he had it really easy with those Newey designed RB.

  2. I was expecting a proper analysis of Daniel and Sebastian’s performances, driving skills, etc., not only the description of what happened in the season. The big question is WHY did Vettel underperform? Was Daniel simply much faster, or was there a fundamental problem with the new car, as far as Seb’s driving style is concerned? Christian Horner talked about how Seb complained so much about the new car, about the lack of feel for the brakes and the sudden inability to play with brake and throttle in the way he used to in order to move the rear of the car particularly at slow corners. Is this enough explanation? Was he demotivated? Was it the compounding effect of him struggling with the car, plus Daniel getting the better results, plus his mind checked out from RBR? Who has the answer?

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