Ricciardo: I definitely hope we can surprise
12 March 2014 – Daniel Ricciardo is ‘hoping’ Red Bull Racing can ‘surprise’ this weekend in Australia and he is convinced the Milton Keynes-based outfit has made progress since the final 2014 Formula 1 pre-season test.
Ricciardo switches from Scuderia Toro Rosso to Red Bull’s ‘A’ team this year, stepping into the seat vacated by fellow Australian, Mark Webber, but after a miserable time in testing, few expect the Renault-powered RB10 to make the chequered flag on Sunday, let alone score points.
"I definitely hope we can surprise some people," he told The Sydney Morning Herald prior to the season-opener. "I know for a fact the team’s been working ridiculously hard all through the off-season, but even more so since testing began and we realised where we stood."
"Since Bahrain, they've done a lot back at the factory and I'm sure we made progress, but until we get on track on Friday, we're not going to know how much ground we made on the competitors. So we still have a bit to discover, I'm sure, but we're going to get stronger and stronger the more laps we do. I think each lap is going to be so important for us and we'll learn a lot more and keep closing the gap a bit. Hopefully, sooner rather than later as well," he added.
Meanwhile, Ricciardo noted that Red Bull's problems have helped him in some ways: "In a way, I guess it lowers a little bit of expectation, but at the same time, it doesn't really change my approach," he continued. "I still have a job to do, still have Seb [Vettel] alongside me, which is going to be a big challenge no matter what position we're fighting for. I still have a bit on my plate and, hopefully, I'll be at the top of my game."
Asked about his aims for the season, Ricciardo said he is focused on securing a maiden victory: "Up until now, I haven't been with a top team – my best result's just a seventh, so there's still plenty of room for me to move forward and there's no point in me getting too excited until I do that.
"I don't expect winning to come easy, if it does come, but that's our target. That's our goal to work towards and that's the challenge we have in front of us. I haven't got close to a win yet, so I have a bit of learning to do, but I'm ready," he concluded confidently.