Daniel Ricciardo has declared that this season with Red Bull has felt even better than the dizzying heights of 2014, a year in which he registered three victories. The Aussie claimed 3rd in the Championship and proved to be a menace to Mercedes on many occasions.
There were only two drivers on the grid who finished every Grand Prix this season. Ricciardo was one, Sergio Perez the other. But where Ricciardo beats Perez here is on points finishes. Only once, at the Russian Grand Prix, did Ricciardo fail to score points.
In another year, this level of consistency from both driver and team collectively is Championship-winning form. Ricciardo has enjoyed the battles this season and said,
“I finished third in 2014 of course and won three times that year and just once this time, but this year’s third feels better. It feels more convincing, it feels more sustainable, too.
In 2014, it was hard to fault that, but this year I felt like I did everything I did in ’14, but at a higher level when I really pushed myself. There were races this year when Max was half a second quicker than me in Q1 and Q2, and then I’d pull out a Q3 lap that was three, four tenths quicker.
I was able to find some pretty good levels through the year, and there were quite a few times that I was able to exceed my own expectations for what I thought I could do, maybe even surprise myself a bit.
If I didn’t have a victory, like if Malaysia didn’t happen, then I’d look back and say I should have been a multiple race winner this year.”
– Daniel Ricciardo
In Max Verstappen also, Red Bull find themselves with a driver partnership that will be a cause for concern for the rest of the grid. they have two of the best drivers who have yet to put a wheel wrong relative to one another. They’ve battled each other on-track but showed the right levels of respect, allowing for some great inter-team racing.
Ricciardo will want to keep a lid on Verstappen next season and is probably hoping that the rumours surrounding Red Bull’s anticipated strength in 2017 are accurate.