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"Big Dog" Ricciardo to bide his time

NEWS STORY
12/02/2018

One of a number of drivers out of contract at the end of the year, including Lewis Hamilton, it's fair to say that Daniel Ricciardo is one of the big-hitters.

Though Red Bull is keen to retain him and insists Max Verstappen is not the default number one, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has no secret of his desire to see the popular Australian in silver.

The early re-signing of Verstappen last October, at a time Red Bull's engine plans post-2018 remain unclear, appeared to put pressure on Ricciardo to agree a new deal but a week ahead of the launch of the team's contender the Australian insists he is in no rush.

"I don't want to treat it like I'm the big dog holding all the cards and everyone's going to listen to me and wait for my call," he told Racer.

"I have spoken briefly to Red Bull since the end of the season and they haven't given me an ultimatum either," he revealed, "they haven't put a contract in front of me and said 'sign this contract or we're moving on'. They've been kind and given me some time, they understand I want to see where we are in testing and the first race or two.

"The only reason I've been asked so many contract questions is because Max already signed, but if Max hadn't done the deal yet I don't think I'd be getting asked so much. To do it a whole year in advance is still pretty early; leaving it to October is probably too late. Come end of March, April, once we've had a couple of races you'll start to hear a little bit more going on."

Asked about Mercedes, having claimed last year he would like to compete against Hamilton while the Briton is in his prime, he said: "I've never really been too fussed about the kind of teammate I have.

"People might call me a liar for this," he continued, "but I want a fast teammate. I think for two reasons, it's always going to get more out of yourself and it's always going to be a more true evaluation of where you stand. I'm in this sport to win but win by being the best, not by being lucky.

"If I win the title I want to know I was the best guy that year and to be the best you've got to go against the best. I've certainly got a very good one alongside me in Max, but I would like to go alongside Lewis at some point, irrespective of team situation. That would be fun."

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