Horner: Vettel has mojo back

  • Last Updated: May 16 2014, 12:29 BST

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner feels Sebastian Vettel now has his "mojo back" following his stunning performance in Spain.

Sebastian Vettel: Recovered to finish fourth in Barcelona
Sebastian Vettel: Recovered to finish fourth in Barcelona

The first two days of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya were wretched for the four-times Formula One world champion.

Vettel initially missed virtually all of Friday's practice sessions due to his car incurring a simple wiring loom fault that took an age to fix.

Then on Saturday Vettel was handed a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change after losing drive in the early stages of the final part of qualifying.

But from 15th on the grid, the 26-year-old German produced a superb drive to finish fourth behind Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

"It was a great performance from him on Sunday. He really went for it," said Horner.

"He made the strategy work for him, he knew he had to make the passes and I thought it was a fantastic recovery drive.

"With the fastest lap and the way he hunted down the Ferraris, it looked like he had got his mojo back."

Ricciardo, meanwhile, continues to thoroughly impress Horner, with the Australian finishing in the top three - and legitimately so on Sunday - for the first time in his F1 career.

Ricciardo did finish second in his home race in March, only to be stripped of the result due to a fuel irregularity with his car.

With the 24-year-old under contract, Horner insists Ricciardo will not be leaving the team any time soon, in particular as he has built up a solid partnership with Vettel.

"Dan has done a great job this year and he is so calm in the car," said Horner.

"He continues to impress us with his speed, his approach, he is enjoying what he is doing. You'll never see him not smiling and it is a pleasure to have him in the team.

"I can't speak highly enough of what Dan has done in the first five races and managing this pairing is a walk in the park compared to previous years, but that's part of the challenge of being a boss."

As to Ricciardo's future, Horner said: "We've always believed in continuity and stability and Dan's on a long-term contract with the team.

"I think it would be highly unlikely he will be anywhere else next year."