Ricciardo: Deep down I knew I could get close to Vettel

Daniel Ricciardo hanging out in Monte Carlo

Daniel Ricciardo hanging out in Monte Carlo

Daniel Ricciardo has emerged as the revelation of the 2014 season with strong performances which have outshone those of his quadruple Formula 1 world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel, and although the Australian’s showings have surprised some people they have not been a surprise him.

Speaking ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, the 24 year old Red Bull driver told reporters, “Deep down, I knew I could get close to him. But did I think I’d be finishing in front of him the first few races? I don’t know. I didn’t really know what to expect to be honest. Obviously I didn’t expect to come out and be a second quicker than [Vettel].”

“I have a lot of confidence in myself that I could get these results that I’ve had. I just knew that if I was doing the work away from the track – being healthy, being fit and just putting in my bit of work – that the team around me would form and they’d be more than capable of giving me a car that could [enable me to] step on the podium,” explained Ricciardo.

Daniel Ricciardo celebrates on the Barcelona podium

Daniel Ricciardo celebrates on the Barcelona podium

Much is expected of Red Bull this weekend, many predicting the world champions will end the five race winning streak by Mercedes. Ricciardo goes to Monaco feeling quietly confident.

“I definitely sense an opportunity but Mercedes is going to be quick nonetheless. Even if their car is brought to everyone else’s level, they’ve still got two obviously very capable drivers who are driving very well at the moment,” acknowledged the big smiling Aussie who scored his first (official) Formula 1 podium finish in Barcelona last time out.

“So not only is it: Can we be as quick as Mercedes? Then it’s: Can we be as quick as Nico [Rosberg] and Lewis [Hamilton]? There’s still a double challenge, but less of a horsepower circuit should bring everyone a bit closer.”

Reflecting on the past few races and where he feels he can improve, Ricciardo said, “I don’t think I’ve made an actual position off the line all year, so we’ve done a lot of ongoing work to improve the starts. We’ll do what we can this weekend with what we’ve got.” (GP247)

Subbed by AJN.