Red Bull Racing’s Japanese Grand Prix unravelled before its eyes on a circuit it used to dominate in the recent past.
The team’s woes began on Saturday when Daniil Kvyat rolled his car in an enormous qualifying accident requiring a total rebuild overnight, necessitating a pit-lane start.
His race was subsequently blighted by a myriad of issues, in particular brake temperatures, which confined him to scrapping away in the non-points places.
“I was a sitting duck all race,” he said. “It was a pretty boring, to be honest.”
“We had problems with everything — brakes, tyres, no overtake button — so it was complicated. At least at the end I tried to overtake some people and we managed, but it wasn’t great.
“It’s annoying. It’s not so much of a pleasure.
“This race was just pain. P13 is quite shit, to be honest.”
Kvyat is suffering through a difficult time in his first season with Red Bull Racing, and with Red Bull’s involvement being re-evaluated his position in the team could come under question in a reshuffle.
His value to the team as a Russian driver has also diminished due to Russia’s ban on the importation of European consumables and the falling rouble, which has made cans of Red Bull expensive to buy for the average punter.
The political situation, combined with Daniel Ricciardo hitting his stride in the latter half of the season to shade his new teammate, has put the 21-year-old under pressure.
“Not so much pace and not so much feeling with the car,” he explained.
“We have to try some things for me to gain some confidence, because as a driver I can’t feel the car as a moment.
“Just generally no feeling at the moment. The car was new, it was a completely new car, so it wasn’t easy, but I don’t know.”
“I don’t know, I’m not satisfied.”
Daniel Ricciardo fared no better. Despite executing a perfect start, but was almost immediately taken out of the race by a wayward Felipe Massa, who punctured the Red Bull’s rear-left tyre and sent him to the back of the grid.
“It was a shame because Ricciardo had a good start,” lamented Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner. “He went for the gap, but Massa, moved a little bit. It was a racing incident.
“The result was a puncture at the worst possible time because you have to do a whole lap very slow, so he gave away more than 70 seconds.
“Thereafter we effectively ran a one-stop race on the harder tyre. His pace was okay.
“If everything had gone to plan maybe P6 would have been possible today — but obviously that was compromised.
“It was a frustrating race, and a very long afternoon.”