Red Bull's Ricciardo plots to win at Marina Bay
Aussie Red Bull believes he can win on Marina Bay on Sunday
Rising star Daniel Ricciardo must have been pumped when Mercedes' championship contender Nico Rosberg said on Monday that the Marina Bay circuit is a Red Bull and Ferrari track.
It resonated with Ricciardo, after his war cry at the end of the Italian race two weeks ago, when he said he was gunning to win the 2016 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix this Sunday.
The street circuit here was Mercedes' weak spot last year and there is some doubt they've fixed the problem.
For Red Bull, the low-speed corners at the 5.065km track suits their cars nicely, said Ricciardo last night at the KF1 kart track, where he enjoyed a leisurely race with former F1 driver Alex Yoong of Malaysia.
The 27-year-old, though, is not discounting Mercedes and also sees Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen as major threats.
"It is going to be a six-way fight," he said.
"We've got engine updates, but are still losing a bit to Mercedes. But because there are more corners and less straights, it will help us. And with the heat, our tyres usually work well with these conditions."
CONFIDENT MAN: Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, who was at the KF1 kart track with former F1 driver Alex Yoong of Malaysia last night, believes he can end Australia's wait for a Formula One world champion by 2018.
Ricciardo carries the weight of Australian expectations on his shoulders.
He may not be as dashing as Jack Brabham and, in fact, comes across as another ordinary Aussie bloke like Alan Jones.
But he is the real deal.
His performances for Scuderia Toro Rosso - they offered him a seat midway through the 2011 season - gave a hint of his talent.
He graduated from 27th spot in his debut season to 18th and then 14th in the next two years and world champion team Red Bull snatched him to replace veteran Mark Webber in 2014.
The last two Australians F1 champions were legendary Brabham in 1959, 1960 and 1966, and the talented Jones in 1980.
It has been a long wait.
There were hopes Webber would end the drought in 2010 after a series of wins and podium finishes, but he eventually lost the title to Red Bull teammate Vettel by 14 points and had to settle for third behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
Ricciardo has been under Ferrari's radar as Raikkonen will be out of contract next year, but he believes he can end Australia's wait by 2018, in a Red Bull.
"I see myself winning at Red Bull, where I have a couple more years on my contract," said the easy-going Aussie.
"This year is out of reach but, next year, is really what I am targeting and, hopefully, I win it with Red Bull."
He is adamant he will stay with Red Bull, even if Ferrari, or even Mercedes, dangle a handsome package to try and lure him to their side of the garage.
"Contract or not, I like where I am at the moment. Obviously, Mercedes are dominating and it would be great to have what they have," he said.
"But looking at next year with the rule changes, I have a lot of confidence in Red Bull.
"I am in a good position in the next few years and we'll see what the future brings after that."
He hopes the rule changes that will kick in next year will inject more excitement into F1 racing and end Mercedes' dominance, which has become predictable and is turning fans off.
Ricciardo felt the subdued celebrations of Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton when they win races show that even they prefer exciting racing.
"In a way, they are just beating one other guy and not 20 or so drivers," he said.
"It is the same with the championship, they beat only one guy and not all of us. They will get more satisfaction if they did beat a whole lot of challengers."
Contract or not, I like where I am at the moment. obviously, Mercedes are dominating and it would be great to have what they have. But looking at next year with the rule changes, I have a lot of confidence in Red Bull. I am in a good position in the next few years and we’ll see what the future brings after that.
- Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo on his future