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Ricciardo: Being in the fight is the least I ask

NEWS STORY
18/03/2018

With his infectious grin, cheeky schoolboy sense of humour and derring-do race-craft - especially when it comes to overtaking - little wonder that Daniel Ricciardo is one of the most popular drivers on the grid today.

However, when the Australian finally decides to hang up his helmet he wants to be remembered for more than a few wins, numerous brave passes and being the man who brought the Shoey to the F1 podium.

"I still want to fight for that title," he tells the Guardian. "Wanting it is one thing but just being in the fight is the minimum I would ask."

Out of contract at the end of the year, though Red Bull is keen to retain him, and insists there is no preference within the team in terms of Max Verstappen, a number of other teams are known to be interested, most notably Mercedes.

That infectious grin, cheeky schoolboy humour... are a marketing department's dream, and then there is the little matter of his derring-do.

"In the end you have to just pull the trigger," he says of the many moves which have thrilled fans over the last couple of years, his triple-whammy on Lance Stroll, Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg in Azerbaijan last year being named the overtake of the year.

"Trust the car, trust the brakes, just go," he says. "It is a calculated but fearless approach... I am going to try and if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. I will be happier if I crash by trying than not trying and running around behind the same guy for 70 laps."

Assured that there is no favouritism within his team, at least until one or other driver has a better shot at the title, the Australian, who is keen to put contract talks aside for the moment, merely wants the equipment to have a chance at mixing its with the likes of Lewis Hamilton for the title.

"I am in a window now where I still feel young enough to have the fearless approach, but old enough in terms of experience so that over a championship if I had the car, I could win when I could and take points when I could. In a fight I believe I have the tools to win. I believe I can get it done with the right material."

Though he enjoys a good relationship with his precocious young teammate, the ever-grinning 28-year-old admits that there have been moments when it was strained, most notably in Hungary last year. "I wanted to wait until Max came round so I could give him the bird," he says of the first lap incident which ended a run of six points scoring races including five podiums.

"I wanted to do more. I wanted to throw my helmet at him," he admits.

Looking ahead to Melbourne, and beyond, he says: "I know what I can do in the car, and even if there is a 10% possibility then I am going to do it."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Red Baron, 20/03/2018 7:19

"Really hoping that Red Bull can provide Dan with a race winning car this season... but I still want to see him in a Ferrari before he retires."

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