Daniel Ricciardo reckons that his Canadian Grand Prix victory will give Red Bull an extra lift for their home race in Austria this weekend, even if championship-leading Mercedes remain some way ahead.
“Definitely the win gave us more motivation, not that we didn’t have it but it’s given us that extra little bit,” he told reporters at the Red Bull Ring ahead of Austria’s first Formula 1 grand prix in 11 years.
“It’s encouraged everyone to want more of it,” added the Australian of his first grand prix success, the weekend before last.
“I saw the team on the pit wall when I crossed the line and it was as if it was their first win again in Formula 1. It was refreshing, so the motivation is there.
“I think it’s still going to take a bit of time, it’s not going to happen overnight, the gap is big as we all know, but hopefully we can stand on the top step again this year and try and close them down. We’re chipping away at it.”
Until Montreal, the title-chasing Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and championship leader Nico Rosberg had won every race this season.
They have still started all of them on pole position and will again be favourites in Austria, home of the team’s non-executive chairman and retired triple champion Niki Lauda.
But Ricciardo showed in Canada that Red Bull, winners of four titles in a row but who struggled with their new Renault V6 turbo hybrid power unit in the opening races, are increasingly a force to reckon with again.
Ricciardo is 19 points ahead of quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel in the standings after seven races but he is sure the that German is “chafing” at the situation and could be expected to fight back on Sunday.
“He showed a lot of respect and good sportsmanship after the race,” said Ricciardo.
“I think it’s just going to make him more motivated so I obviously can’t rest now, I can’t get too complacent, got to keep pushing and hopefully it works well for both of us.”
Ricciardo said that he had done simulator work to learn the unfamiliar layout last week and had driven it last year on a filming day with Toro Rosso.
“I’ve been around the track but just a few times. It’s a short lap and we won’t take too long to adapt and get used to it,” he said.
“I think that Qualifying is going to be really, really tight, especially by the time that comes we’re all going to have our eye in…I think mistakes are going to be costly here so it’s just about putting it all together. But it should be fun.
“I don’t think I’ve got an advantage here, I think by Saturday we’ll all be up to speed.” (Reuters)