Daniel Ricciardo's performance in the British Grand Prix won't have done his chances of replacing Mark Webber at Red Bull any harm at all, but the younger Australian insists that the seat is not his just yet.
Even before Webber announced his decision to quit F1 at the end of the 2013 season, Ricciardo was being tipped as a possible partner for Sebastian Vettel, but has good company as both Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne and 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen are both also being listed as candidates, with the Finn favourite with the bookmakers.
A mixed season has seen both Ricciardo and Vergne jockeying for position within the Toro Rosso team, with the Australian starting on top before losing out to his French colleague when Vergne netted back-to-back points finishes in Monaco and Canada. While Ricciardo made it through to Q3 and finished eighth at Silverstone, however, his team-mate was a victim of Pirelli's tyre problems, and eventually retired, handing the initiative back to the Australian.
“The safety car at the end was a bit of a lottery, I guess,” Ricciardo sighed, reflecting on a better result that slipped away, “We were in fourth behind the safety car and, obviously, fourth is a great position for us, for the team. Whether we pitted or not, I guess it was a bit of a gamble at the time, whatever we chose to do, and obviously we stayed out and lost out because of it.
“But I think the weekend as a whole went really well. From Friday through to Sunday, we were always in the top ten, always strong. I think our race pace was good as well. It's positive for us, [but] it would have been nice to get a few more points.”
Despite the performance, however, Ricciardo knows that he will have to repeat it consistently if he is to be taken seriously as a contender for the second race-winning seat at Red Bull.
“Obviously, talk about next year was pretty frequent last weekend but, for me, it's just about keeping trying to do what I'm doing, keep pushing,” the former British F3 champion said, “It's nice to hear some positive things, definitely, [and] it would be a great position to be in, but I've still got a bit of work ahead of me.
“Silverstone went well, so I think that didn't hinder anything, but I've got to keep doing that. I haven't won a race yet so, definitely, I've still got some further goals and ambitions, [and] I'll keep striving for better things. But, realistically, [the aim is] to do the best I can.”
Ricciardo currently trails team-mate Vergne by two places and a similar number of points in the individual championship, while Toro Rosso holds down seventh in the constructors' race, just 13 points adrift of McLaren.