Formula 1

Daniel Ricciardo.

Daniel Ricciardo reveals what will determine if he stays at Red Bull after 2018

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The 2017 Formula 1 championship has been a two-horse race between Mercedes and Ferrari for much of the campaign.

Either of the two leading constructors have won each of the 13 races this season bar one, with the Germans leading their rivals 8-4.

Mercedes boast a 62-point lead over Ferrari after completing a one-two finish at the Italian Grand Prix two weekends back, putting further pressure on the second-placed team.

The result at Monza made the battle for the drivers’ title all the more interesting as Lewis Hamilton overtook Sebastian Vettel by a margin of just three points at the top of the table.

But even though the fight for the two championship crowns will be the centre of attention, there are plenty of other subplots to dissect before the season draws to a close.

Daniel Ricciardo is one of several drivers wrestling with an uncertain future, though his position sees the team struggling to keep hold of him rather than the opposite way around.

The Australian – who has been part of the Red Bull setup since being promoted from Toro Rosso in 2014 – is due to leave upon the expiry of his contract at the end of next year.

However, while he could be offered a new deal before another team whisks him away, Ricciardo has declared he has no intention of sticking around unless Red Bull mount a serious challenge in 2018.

F1 Grand Prix of Italy

"I went through that impatient phase for sure, and I am still bordering that - because I don't want to leave F1 without a championship," Ricciardo told Autosport.

"At least right now, I still believe I can do that, absolutely.

"I am looking for it - sooner rather than later.

"I thought we would be in with a really good shot this year, but it hasn't turned out like that.

"It really needs to happen with Red Bull next year - at least from my point of view.

"I've been here for quite a few years now and I think next year we need to make a bigger step next year than we did this year, to really convince me that I can win with them."

A NEW CHALLENGE?

The 28-year-old says while he would relish matching Vettel’s achievement of winning a title with Red Bull, the prospect of joining a traditionally successful team in 2019 could prove too tempting.

"I have got decisions to make once my Red Bull contract is up," added Ricciardo.

"It is the first time in my professional career that I've been a free agent.

"I've been with Red Bull since the start and it has been awesome.

"But it is up to them as well if they would want to continue, and then it is a decision where I think it will be best.”

Ferrari and Mercedes could both have free spots come 2019, meaning Ricciardo is likely to be spoilt for choice at the conclusion of next season.

Should Ricciardo stay with Red Bull beyond next year? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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