Horner: Ricciardo up there with the best
11 April 2014 – Red Bull team boss Christian Horner believes that Daniel Ricciardo has already demonstrated that he is "up there with the best" drivers in Formula 1 after his impressive start with the World Champion outfit.
Following half a season at the now defunct HRT squad and two campaigns at junior team Toro Rosso, Ricciardo was given the nod by Red Bull chiefs to replace the retiring Mark Webber and partner Sebastian Vettel.
Having been stripped of a second-place finish at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix over a fuel flow rate breach, Ricciardo went on to show further strong pace in Malaysia, before out-racing Vettel at the Bahrain event.
"He has been brilliant," said Horner. "From first practice in Australia he has been right there, driving extremely well. He's always got a smile on his face, whether things are good or bad. And his racing, if anybody had any question marks over his ability to move through the field, he has demonstrated he is right up there with the best."
Horner went on to explain that Red Bull had to look at the bigger picture with regards to signing Ricciardo, who had not finished higher than seventh prior to being given the opportunity to race for the team.
"It demonstrates how difficult it is sometimes to judge drivers in inferior equipment because he has grabbed his opportunity and he is really making the most of it," he stated. "Sometimes equipment does mask potential.
"We knew he was good through what we saw in the testing that he did with us, and from his simulator work, but just how good we weren't quite sure. But he has demonstrated that he is absolutely top drawer."