He’s been told before, but this time Sebastian Vettel listened.
And all it took was a `pretty please’.
The four-time Formula One world champion was ordered to give way to his three-race-old Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo during Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix and complied – something he repeatedly refused to do in five years with Mark Webber.
Ricciardo started 13th on the grid and produced one of the night’s best drives to finish a career-best fourth, behind winner Lewis Hamilton, his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and Force India’s Sergio Perez.
“That was a pimpin’ good time,” the 24-year-old wrote on Twitter post-race.
The Australian had qualified third-fastest but carried with him a 10-spot penalty for a pitstop error from last weekend’s round in Malaysia.
But his luckless run in 2014 – which began with disqualification from the season-opener in Australia and continued with an early retirement at Sepang – was finally broken on lap 16.
Stuck behind Vettel who was without DRS, Ricciardo knew something had to give.
“We’re losing time like this. We’ve got to decide what to do,” he told pitwall over the team radio.
And they responded.
“Sebastian, let Daniel through, please. Daniel is quicker than you. Let him by, please.”
Last year in Malaysia, Vettel infamously ignored team orders to hold his position behind race leader Webber and instead overtook him to claim victory.
A similar situation arose at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix when the pair crashed following a risky overtaking move from Vettel.
But they proved distant memories on Sunday, with Ricciardo muscling his way past the defending champion in a number of post-safety car battles late in the race.
Vettel finished sixth, the duo separated by Nico Hulkenberg.
“It was an awesome race; it was exciting,” Ricciardo said.
“It was good fun to race Sebastian. It was hard but fair and we left each other room. That’s what we want from each other and we discussed it beforehand – we’re racers and that’s what we enjoy doing.
“We got close to the podium today, I think within half a second, so I was doing all I could. The car came to me as the race went on and I was happy with how I moved up through the pack, so a good day.”
Vettel admitted he wasn’t happy with his result.
“It was straight forward with Daniel today, we worked well together as a team and we raced well, but surely I would like to have finished higher up,” he said.
Hamilton’s win, who also won in Malaysia last week, brings him level with Juan Manuel Fangio with 24 career victories.
Rosberg retains his lead on the drivers’ standings with 61 points, ahead of Hamilton (50) and Hulkenberg (28). Mercedes also maintain their spot atop the constructors’ championship with Red Bull in fourth.
China hosts the next round in Shanghai in two weeks.