At the end of a day billed by some as his audition for a Red Bull seat, Daniel Ricciardo topped the times at the Silverstone test, and having done double duty – with Toro Rosso in the morning and Red Bull in the afternoon – the ever smiling Australian declared that he was ready for promotion.
Ironically the Australian’s best time was actually at the wheel of his usual Toro Rosso, while in the championship-leading RB9 he was slightly slower.
The 23-year-old, competing against Kimi Raikkonen for the departing Mark Webber’s highly coveted 2014 race seat witht he world champions, also beached the Red Bull in the gravel after only seven laps of duty in the RB9 cockpit.
“The off was my mistake,” Ricciardo said afterwards. ” I just lost the rear on the entry to the corner. I was probably pushing a little too hard. The gravel was a bit like quicksand, I thought I’d get out, but I couldn’t.”
Asked if the pressure of the speculation had got to him, he insisted: “No, it’s fun, it’s exciting. I didn’t take this day as a duel with Kimi. But I enjoyed it.”
“I think this test is something for Red Bull to look at, but there’s still the rest of the season with Toro Rosso to do, so I’ll switch my focus back to that and won’t get too caught up in any rumours,” Ricciardo added.
“Whatever happens, happens. If I don’t get the chance, at least this was a nice little bonus. If the decision was up to me, I’m ready,” he is quoted by Autosprint.
Potential 2014 teammate Sebastian Vettel will be in the same car on Friday, and Ricciardo confirmed that he will be “watching the times” with interest.
“I hope he won’t make me look silly,” he laughed.
It is expected that, should Ricciardo be called up to replace Webber, Toro Rosso will fill his spot at the Faenza based team next year with 21-year-old Portuguese driver Antonio Felix da Costa.
Da Costa also tested for Red Bull on Thursday, and said afterwards: “I got out of the car and said ‘I’m ready, I want that’.” (GMM)
Subbed by AJN.