F1: Sebastian Vettel issues warning to Mercedes that Red Bull will be challenging for wins after promising Malaysian Grand Prix

Vettel drove and impressive race to secure third at Sepang and get his campaign for a fifth consecutive drivers' championship back on track

Sebastian Vettel has fired a warning to his rivals that it is only a matter of time before Red Bull give him a car that will be capable of challenging for major honours this season.

It has been a desperate few months for the Milton Keynes-based marque, who emerged from pre-season testing with a dire reliability record as they encountered a series of issues.

They came away from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix with no points after Vettel crashed out and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified, having finished second, due to a technical fuel infringement.

It was therefore something of a relief for Vettel that he managed to earn a podium position in Malaysia on Sunday, finishing behind Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who triumphed in Melbourne two weeks ago.

 

Hamilton and Rosberg are expected to lead the way in 2014, but reigning four-time world champion Vettel has every confidence Red Bull can challenge Mercedes as the season progresses.

"We know what we have achieved so far this season is better than we expected during the winter," Vettel said.

"But we know there's a lot we can do better because it (the car) doesn't feel great when we are out there racing.

"If you go out on track and listen and look at how the cars behave, on power, I think there's a big difference (compared to Mercedes), and we know that.

"I think it's a question of time, how soon we manage to catch up, and then we can try to give them a harder time."

After a disqualification on home soil in Australia, there was further misery for Vettel's team-mate Ricciardo, who was initially on course for fourth place.

However, at his final pit stop, Ricciardo was released with the front-left tyre not fitted correctly, forcing him to stop halfway down the pit lane and be retrieved by his mechanics.

On his return to the track, the front wing then failed, forcing him back into the pits again, following which the FIA also handed him a 10-second stop-go penalty for the team's unsafe release.

To rub salt into the wounds, Ricciardo will also serve a 10-place grid penalty at next weekend's grand prix in Bahrain, while he was also eventually one of seven retirees over the course of the 56 laps in Sepang.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, however, was far from happy with the sanction as he said: "The rules are pretty clear - for an unsafe release it's a stop-go penalty of 10 seconds and a 10-place grid penalty at the next race.

"The punishment is harsh for the crime, but unfortunately it is the rules, and that's what it will be."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower