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Mat Coch writes:
He may have comprehensively out-qualified his highly rated teammate so far this season but Daniel Ricciardo refuses to get complacent.
Ricciardo made his Formula One debut at last year's British Grand Prix, racing for Hispania in place of Narain Karthikeyan. Twelve months on he's continuing to impress in his role as the experienced hand alongside Jean-Eric Vergne at Toro Rosso.
"I guess the first thing is that you look at your team-mate, but if we're 17th and 18th then even if I'm 0.3s or 0.4s quicker than him it's not going to give me a great sense of satisfaction," Ricciardo, whjo celebrated his 23rd birthday yesterday, told ESPN. "I think we've always got to push for more. He's had some strong races and I think the last few have been stronger."
As a team Toro Rosso looks to have been left behind so far in 2012. Former rivals Williams, Sauber and Force India have enjoyed notable results whereas the Faenza outfit has been left to battle the likes of Caterham.
A stunning lap in Valencia saw Vergne dumped out of the first phase of qualifying by Heikki Kovalainen's precocious Caterham. It was an embarrassing moment for the Faenza based squad, though one Ricciardo is confident won't be repeated at this weekend's British Grand Prix.
"They've got some more updates for Silverstone - some that they are quite modest about - and it will probably work," the Australian warned. "I think with overall pace we're still a fair bit in front, it's just the qualifying we have to soak a bit more out of. I think it's between us drivers and also understanding a bit more with the tyres. But then our race pace still seems to be quite a bit stronger than theirs.
"If we don't get on top of our qualifying they will have more opportunities to be in front of us, but I still think our race pace will clearly be better than theirs."
While the team battles Caterham at the wrong end of the grid the battle between Ricciardo and teammate Vergne is seen by many as an audition for a future seat alongside Sebastian Vettel at the Red Bull senior team.
Ricciardo currently leads the fight in qualifying 7-1 though he maintains that the tension between the pair is productive. "The rivalry is pretty good at the moment," he said. "I'd say it's healthy.
"I'm finding a bit more, which is good for the Sunday, so that's encouraging. If I can keep working this way then in qualifying I think I've already got a bit of an edge and in the race hopefully I can run away and get my nose clean in front. But in saying that, we can't really afford to try to push each other down because as a team we've got to try and get each other up."
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