After taking his second victory of the season at last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo says that he is “outside” of the main fight for the 2018 Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship.
Ricciardo drove supremely to hold position ahead of Scuderia Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel, despite suffering with an estimated power deficit of 160 horsepower after his MGU-K failed early in the race. With championship leader Lewis Hamilton taking the final spot on the podium, Ricciardo now lies 38 and 24 points behind Hamilton and Vettel respectively after six races. All three have two victories to their name.
Hamilton said in the wake of Monaco that the championship is “definitely” a three-way battle, but Ricciardo insists that he is still far from one of the favourites and that he will not change his driving style to change the matter.
“I think it’s a natural question after a victory,” Ricciardo told BBC Sport at Sunday’s formal press conference.
“I think I got asked after China I got asked if it means we’re in the title hunt. I think Lewis still has a pretty good buffer on me. We’re still on the outside of that.
“It’s not impossible, but it’s not really in the forefront of my mind yet. Even if it was, I’m not going to change the way I’m driving or trying to attack.”
Ricciardo speculated that Aston Martin Red Bull Racing need to take another victory before August’s summer break in order to mount a championship challenge. He admitted that the Circuit de Monaco suited the Red Bull’s strengths and that other circuits across the calendar will prove to be a greater challenge.
Hamilton said after Qualifying that Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport have a car for the “majority” of the season and not just a few races.
“Montreal will be interesting, try and get a few more podiums,” said the Australian. “We’ve got to probably prove on at least one other circuit before the summer break we can win again, and then maybe we’ll have an outside chance.
“I think we’re back on the hyper-softs and It looked like our degradation was maybe better than the others,” he explained, before adding. “Montreal is maybe more of a power circuit.
“But, if our chassis is working well and we’re kind on the tyres, we may see ourselves fighting again.”
The 28-year-old took his maiden victory in Formula 1 at the Canadian Grand Prix in 2014, benefitting from brake problems for Hamilton and his then Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.