How Red Bull were still winners at the Austrian Grand Prix

Red Bull Ring

Make no mistake about it, Red Bull still won at the Austrian Grand Prix despite their lacklustre performance.

While Messrs Vettel, Horner, Newey, et al. turn up to win races and world championships, Lewis Hamilton was right when he said that Red Bull were in the sport to sell fizzy drinks. This weekend, they pulled that off to perfection.

It would be easy to think that Sunday was a disaster for Red Bull. Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel suffered yet another retirement, both Toro Rosso cars were hit by terminal mechanical failures, and Canadian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo was largely anonymous until a last lap dive past Nico Hulkenberg.

However, the whole point of Red Bull's involvement in F1 is to associate their brand with the exciting, exclusive world that exists at the peak of motorsport. When it goes to plan for the team it's a strategy that works well, with their one-two victory at Monaco in 2010 estimated at upwards of £20m in brand exposure.

Sunday may have looked unimpressive for Red Bull, but never underestimate the value to them of paragraphs such as this:

Red Bull Racing suffered a disappointing race at F1's return to the Red Bull Ring, Austria. Red Bull's four time world champion Sebastian Vettel retired after a series of incidents, while Daniel Ricciardo, who piloted his Red Bull to victory in the previous Canadian race, pushed to the end to finish eighth. Meanwhile, Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso had both cars retire due to mechanical failures. On a more positive note, all four Red Bull drivers across both teams are graduates of the Red Bull Young Driver Program, and the return to the Red Bull Ring has been widely hailed as a great success.

Red Bull is an absolute marketing machine. After the Monaco races, camera crews wind up on their hospitality boat and TV presenters get pushed into their pool. Their show-car team is one of the busiest too, doing normal promotional runs along with things such as driving the Austin track while it was still dust

The team may not have had a great afternoon on the track, but in the boardroom they'll be spraying the champagne. Their circuit was loved, and we all spent the whole weekend staring at the words "Red Bull."