The 2017 Formula One season ended last week at the grand stage of the Abu Dhabi circuit, one of the most glamourous venues of the calendar year.
However, the eventual winners of both in the drivers’ and constructors’ championships remained the same, that has been in recent years.
Lewis Hamilton registered his fourth world title, becoming only the fifth driver in the history of the sport to achieve the feat while Mercedes maintained their domination, sealing their fourth constructors’ championship in as many years.
Ferrari ace Sebastian Vettel was the only realistic challenger of the Brit for the world title this campaign, but Hamilton reigned supreme, securing the championship with two races to spare.
Red Bull star Daniel Ricciardo has spoken for the first time since the conclusion of the season, and has explained what he found to be the biggest difference between the two challengers.
Speaking in the Baku paddock as part of an event to promote the Azerbaijan GP in April 2018, he said he has nothing but respect for Hamilton, who had an exceptional season, to say the least.
The 28-year-old was quoted by Autosport saying: “Lewis's season - I respect that.
“He had a great car, but I think Seb's car was also as good and Lewis just maintained a cooler head, a better level of consistency and composure. You have to respect that.
“He was always very fast and I think he drove a very good season.”
Regarding Red Bull’s challenge, Ricciardo spoke highly of the progress made since last year but it was still not enough to trounce Mercedes and Ferrari on the track.
“Unfortunately Mercedes has been really strong for the last four years. They have been the team to beat," he added.
“We thought this year would be a chance for us to really challenge them. We challenged them some races but not enough to fight for the title.
“In the end, myself and Max were fifth and sixth in the championship so we not come near to what we wanted."
The Aussie powerhouse asserted that starting next season on a high would be their key focus for gaining pace on their peers.
“What we need to do for next year to have a chance is that we need to start the season stronger,” added Ricciardo.
“That's where we lost a lot of our momentum this year. At the beginning of the season, we were too far behind Mercedes and Ferrari.
“We made a lot of progress, which was really good, so we need to continue that momentum.”
Not even a week has passed, but each team have already started making their plans and preparations for the upcoming campaign with both the Scuderia and Red Bull hoping to end the Mercedes’ reign at the top.