Australian Daniel Ricciardo is remaining realistic about his chances in 2014 despite the man he replaced expecting good things from his fellow countryman.
On Tuesday Mark Webber claimed he expects Ricciardo to match team-mate Sebastian Vettel in qualifying while adding the German has lost one of his key strengths following the end of the blown diffuser.
“I won’t say I’ll come out and beat him,” said Ricciardo, “Because until I do that, I don’t want to say anything. But of course I’d love to."
“Obviously we know the calibre of driver he is, so the first thing is I’ve got to learn from him, respect what he does and then try to match him.”
The 24-year-old has also played down comments made by Vettel late last week that the four-time champion intends not to help Ricciardo adjust to life at Red Bull in 2014.
“I’ll pick things up naturally from him and learn the ins and outs of how he works,” Ricciardo claimed.
“Obviously he’s not going to tell me how to drive around a corner — we’re all capable of that now.”
Of course for both Ricciardo and Vettel much of their 2014 hopes seem to rely on Red Bull designer Adrian Newey and engine supplier Renault overcoming the issues suffered at the Jerez test two weeks ago.
After the opening test, former Ferrari and now Williams driver Felipe Massa said he would be “worried” if he was in either men’s racing boots, but now Ricciardo believes his team are starting to better understand the problems seen with the RB10 in Spain.
“We’re confident we’ll run a bit smoother,” he said looking ahead to the next test in Bahrain which begins next week.
“But it’s so complex this year, until we get laps under our belt we can’t really be sure of anything,” he is quoted by the Australian news agency AAP.
“I saw the car yesterday and they’ve made quite a bit of progress, so hopefully we’ll get a few more laps and kick start our season,” Ricciardo added.
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