Daniel Ricciardo is ready to take the fight to his dominant new team mate Sebastian Vettel in 2014.
Replacing fellow countryman Mark Webber, Ricciardo has been wowing crowds in Sri Lanka this week as part of Red Bull’s road show.
Speaking about his aims for next year, the 24-year-old said he wants to put up more of a fight to Vettel than his predecessor.
“As strong as Mark is,” 24-year-old Ricciardo is quoted by Brazil’s Totalrace, “Seb was better.
“That was evident in the last two years.
“He (Vettel) is still very young, so we can ask the question of whether they were both at their peak when they were together,” he added.
The Australian believes that despite claiming his fourth world title in 2013 and perhaps being blamed for making F1 boring again, fans have yet to see the best from Vettel.
“I don’t think he has reached his peak, which is a little scary for the other drivers, because he has been impressive,” said Ricciardo.
“In fact, the more he wins, the more confidence he gets, and the easier it is for him.”
As for his new boss Christian Horner is looking forward to seeing how the next product of Red Bull’s young driver program to step into the top team fares alongside the dominant German.
“I think Daniel is very fast,” he said. “Let’s see how fast he really is.”
The 40-year-old however does not expect the same fractious relationship that Vettel and Webber had to happen with Ricciardo.
“I think the relationship will be very different than it was with Mark,” he said.
“Mark was at his peak when Sebastian came to the team, but Daniel is much younger and still learning. He will learn from Sebastian. The dynamics will be very different,” added Horner.
While admitting the probability of him beating Vettel is pretty small, Ricciardo did say that he expects to at least be close to the German.
“If the car is good and he wins, that’s what everyone expects of him,” he told Auto Sport und Motor. ”But no one is expecting me to come into the team and be the number 1 driver. That takes a little pressure from me.”
“I want to come in and learn from the best, and then we’ll see what happens.
“If you could offer to me right now that I’m second behind him at the end of the season but with the same number of wins, then I might accept that.
“But if he’s world champion and I’m fifth, I’ll just say ‘f**k!” he grinned.
“I am prepared for a big challenge, but I am not prepared for him to kick my ass.
“I do hope I am closer to him than Mark was, but I don’t want to promise all these big things and then be sh*t. We’ll see what happens, but I am definitely positive,” added Ricciardo.
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