Ricciardo an outside chance at F1 title

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo believes he could be an outside chance for victory in this year’s Formula 1 drivers’ championship.

The Red Bull driver currently sits third in the points standings following victory in Monaco, his second success of the 2018 campaign after also taking the laurels in China.

Ricciardo is currently 38 points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton, and 24 in arrears of Sebastian Vettel in second.

The Australian’s tally could have been more impressive if not for retirements in both Bahrain and Azerbaijan.

“I think it’s a natural question after a victory. I think I got asked after China if it means we’re in the title hunt,” said Ricciardo.

“I think Lewis still has a pretty good buffer on me, so we’re still on the outside of that.

“It’s not impossible but not really at the forefront of my mind yet.

“But, even if it was, I’m not going to change obviously the way that I’m driving or trying to attack.”

An engine upgrade slated for Montreal could help boost Red Bull’s performances, with Ricciardo believing another victory before the summer break is key to any title ambition.

“We’ve got to probably prove on at least one other circuit before the summer break that we can win again,” he reasoned.

“Then maybe we’re a nice little outside chance.”

Lauded for his performance in Monaco, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner believes Ricciardo is a “very good teacher” for team-mate Max Verstappen.

Having crashed out of final practice in Monaco, Verstappen started last on the grid before racing his way back to ninth.

Though happy the Dutchman reached the finish and scored points, it was a missed opportunity in a car capable of reaching the podium.

“Max had a better Sunday than he had Saturday,” Horner said.

“I think starting from last on the grid, expectations in Monaco have to be low.

“All weekend in all formulas there has been very little overtaking, but he made some good passes in the race, the strategy worked well for him and we thought if he could get in the points by the end of the race that would be a good result.

“Ninth was a good drive from him and he needs to go away from this race and reflect on what should have been and apply that for the future.

“I think he has a very good teacher in the car next door to him,” Horner added.

“Max has an abundance of talent and had some harsh lessons this year and I think a modified approach will benefit him.”

Verstappen currently sits sixth in the drivers’ championship on 35 points, less than half the total of his team-mate and just three points clear of Fernando Alonso.

Formula 1 now moves to the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal for its seventh round of the season on June 8-10.

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