27-year-old Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo has ruled out any chances of challenging for the 2017 Formula One World Drivers Championship. Ricciardo, fondly nicknamed ‘The Honey Badger’ believes that Mercedes remain the firm favourites and Ferrari are not far behind. Red Bull Tag Heuer had been considered as the team to take the fight to Mercedes, but according to Ricciardo, the Red Bull is around half a second slower than the Mercedes.
“Hopefully we are going to go well but it is hard to know,” said the Australian. “Testing is never really a clear picture, but I expect Ferrari and Mercedes to be quick. Last year I did not win the title and I was still very happy. I got my first pole position, and I got back on the top step of the podium. If I perform at my best I will be happy this year and I will be very happy with the world title. It is my target and aim to be world champion, and I will do what I can to make it happen this year, but I am not expecting it.”
A difference between the Mercedes and the Red Bull in 2016 was the driver pairing. While Hamilton and Rosberg were at loggerheads, Ricciardo and Verstappen bonded fairly well. “We obviously try and keep it as amicable and professional as possible,” he said. “We might soon have to start sharing bedrooms during grand prix weekends”. On a serious note, he said “We both want to win and beat each other and there is no denying that. But at the same time we have got a team that is trying to build fast cars and they rely on us, not only to push the car but give feedback and push the technology of the car, too. Two heads are better than one and we understand that we are only helping ourselves if we help each other because then the car is going to be faster and give us a better chance to win.”