A slow start to the 2017 Formula 1 season has swiftly turned into a strong campaign for Daniel Ricciardo, sitting fourth in the drivers championship and taking a win in the chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The start of 2017 didn’t go particularly well for Red Bull and Ricciardo. A DNF after a frustrating winter highlighted work was still needed, particularly in regards to the aerodynamics of the RB13.
But as the team sorted out its problems, the results started to pour in and Ricciardo took five podiums in a row from Spain to Austria, including the Azerbaijan victory.
Whilst is hasn’t perhaps been the easiest of rides, Ricciardo still maintains it has been a good year for himself and the Red Bull team.
“It hasn’t been that straightforward, but generally speaking its been good.
I feel its been another season where I’ve been there on Sunday, when I need to be and I’ve capitalized.
We haven’t had the fastest car but I’ve put myself in good positions and getting the results when I could so that’s been important”. – Daniel Ricciardo
The RB13 looked a bit bare at the start of the season, and lacked all the clever aerodynamic features that many thought Red Bull would have. But as things have progressed, the car has evolved into a real racing machine with big updates coming throughout the year, including a barge board not to dissimilar to the one Ferrari introduced at Singapore.
The team were right in the hunt for pole position in that race and probably would have fought for the win outright had it not been for the rain before that race, and of course the collision that wiped out Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen.
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) September 29, 2017
Ricciardo has proven to be one of the most naturally gifted drivers on the current grid, with praise even coming from a certain Fernando Alonso. Despite his five wins, Ricciardo has not yet had a car that can challenge for the world title outright. This is exactly what the Australian is looking for from 2018 and beyond.
He has more than shown that he is ready to take on the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in a fight for the championship.
“In the past people would talk more about me qualifying than they would racing, and I feel over the years more people are talking about me racing.
At the end of the day, Sunday is payday, that’s where you make the points.
I definitely believe in myself”. – Daniel Ricciardo
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) September 26, 2017
The drivers championship may be out of reach this year, but there are still valuable points to be collected for both Ricciardo himself and the team.
A strong end to the year will help Red Bull out massively for 2018 as they look to become championship challengers once again.
And if that does indeed happen, expect Daniel Ricciardo to be right in the thick of the action.
Lewis, Seb, and Max too, you’d best watch out, The Honey Badger is coming to get you!