Vettel shines at sombre Suzuka: Red Bull Japanese Grand Prix Review

Red Bull Suzuka

We assess each driver's performance in yesterday's Japanese Grand Prix. Next up, Red Bull pairing Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. #ForzaJules

Red Bull always fancied they would run well at Suzuka, though the reliability of both Mercedes prevented the Milton Keynes-based squad from contending for the win.

What's more, their weekend was dominated by the earth-shaking news that Sebastian Vettel is leaving the team - most likely for Ferrari - at the season's end. Word is that he told Christian Horner on Friday night, prompting the team to quickly announce Daniil Kvyat as his replacement for 2015.

Despite all of this the team did an excellent job in Japan and, with Daniel Ricciardo showing well again, will feel confident that they can return to the top post-Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel: Grid 9th. Finish 3rd. Rating 9/10

If Vettel had been off-form at Suzuka you'd have known something was very wrong with the German. Qualifying looked to confirm his continued fall from grace, but an excellent drive in the race more than atoned for that.

At times Vettel was the fastest man on-track and made some incisive overtakes to clear the slower Williams cars. He looked fast, determined and intelligent, almost as if a burden had been lifted from his shoulders and he was driving for the pure enjoyment of it…

Of course, the biggest story of Vettel's weekend was his impending departure from the Red Bull squad, though that has quickly become a story for another day.

"Obviously it was great to be on the podium; this is my favourite track," Vettel reflected afterwards. "It's for sure very nice in those tricky conditions.

"In the end, I don't think it really matters. I think the most important thing, as we're all probably thinking, is that we hope the best for Jules. obviously [he's] currently not in the best shape but we hope that we get some very good news very soon."

Daniel Ricciardo: Grid 6th. Finish 4th. Raing 8/10

Ricciardo out-qualified his team-mate at what is perhaps Vettel's strongest circuit, a signifiant achievement even if the German did manage to leapfrog him in the race.

And despite slipping behind the sister car, Ricciardo's race performance was still excellent. His passing through the Esses was spectacular; as you'd expect of a man driving an Adrian Newey car, he seemed to have incredible confidence in the RB10's ability to hold the road.

Perhaps he will be disappointed to have missed out on the podium, but he still leads Vettel by a comfortable margin. Following news of Vettel's departure, a TV reporter asked Ricciardo if he'd "scared a four-time world champion off." Daniel smiled; he wouldn't admit to anything of the sort, but you sensed that he was feeling very pleased with his prospects for 2015.