Ricciardo: Red Bull halfway in unlocking RB13 potential
Daniel Ricciardo remains confident Red Bull can win on merit before the season is out despite admitting the squad is only halfway in unlocking the RB13’s potential.
After a slow start to the season the Australian is enjoying a strong run of form aided by the continued developments from the Milton Keynes squad as it bids to close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari.
Ricciardo has scored podium finishes in each of the last four races with his run highlighted by a surprise victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last time out, as he benefited from an incident-packed race.
While the 28-year-old capitalised on a series on events which hampered both Mercedes, Ferraris and Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen, the RB13 is making the most of its latest upgrade.
The five-time grand prix winner is confident there is much more to come from the car, which he believes will contend for race wins on merit as the season progresses.
A fuel upgrade is expected to come online from next week’s British Grand Prix.
“It has been getting progressively better but we are only halfway there from what I believe it (the car) can be,” Ricciardo told Speedcafe.com.
“We have made a good step but I know there is still a good step more to come, so we are obviously still working hard on that.
“I believe it (we can win on merit) but I think it is still very track dependent as well.
“For us to win at Monza or tracks like that is obviously less likely on merit, but circuits like Budapest and Singapore can really work towards us.
“A lack of grip in the rear was the big area that we felt we were behind Mercedes and Ferrari at the start of the year. Again that has got better but I still feel that is where they are quite a bit stronger.”
However, he faces a challenge to continue his run of podiums at this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, with the power dependent Red Bull Ring circuit likely to play into the hands of Mercedes and Ferrari.
He also isn’t expecting a repeat of the incident filled race in Baku, but remains hopeful to be in the mix.
Ricciardo ended Friday practice in fifth position just 0.3s adrift of pacesetter Hamilton.
“By this stage last year we were perhaps a little bit more competitive but not a whole lot,” he added.
“We will do what we can and just try and be there in the race and you never now what might happen at the front.”
“As far as what happened in Baku goes I don’t expect that to drag on.
“Naturally in a championship fight and as the season continues there is probably going to be more battles.”
FOX SPORTS will be the only place to watch the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix this weekend. Coverage kicks off at 6.45pm EST today and wraps up with the race from 8.30pm on Sunday.