Ricciardo tips Red Bull fightback in Spain
Rising grand prix star Daniel Ricciardo predicts that the Red Bull squad will rein-in F1 tearaways Mercedes before the season reaches its midway point.
Red Bull, the champion team of the last four seasons, has seen Mercedes take over its front-running position with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finishing one-two in three of the four grands prix in 2014.
Ricciardo, who has begun the second stage of his F1 career in brilliant style by overshadowing his four-time world champion team-mate Sebastien Vettel, views this weekend’s Spanish GP as a turning point for the team.
“Hopefully it will be a real turning point for us,” Ricciardo said in an interview with Melbourne radio station SEN.
“There’s a lot less travel now and the team can spend a lot more hours in the factory working on development, trying to catch those silver cars (Mercedes), .
“They have been really quick this year, but I’m confident we’ll chip away and chip away and get them before too long.”
Ricciardo says the high downforce Catalunya circuit is particularly suited to the Red Bull cars.
“It’s a good circuit I feel that will suit us,” he said.
“There is a long straight but it is mainly dominated by corners.
“I think that is our strong point the car has a good aerodynamic package.
“It think it should suit us the best out of all the circuits this year.”
Ricciardo said the team can now focus on performance rather than reliability which it saw as a primary concern after a dire set of problems in pre-season winter testing.
“The winter was pretty grim really. We didn’t expect to finish the first four races really,” he said.
“We’ve sorted the reliability and now we can work on performance.”
Rosberg leads the championship on 79 points, four ahead of Hamilton.
Ricciardo is sixth on 24 points after four races, with his position compromised by his exclusion from second place at the season opener in Melbourne and by his crew’s unsafe release from a stop in Malaysia, which netted a 10-place grid penalty for Bahrain.