Daniel Ricciardo says he would be 'proud' if he and Red Bull Racing could end the 2016 season as 'best of the rest' behind the dominant Mercedes given the team's modest pre-season expectations.
On the back of a difficult campaign in 2015 – largely the result of an underpowered and unreliable Renault power unit – Red Bull has bounced back in 2016, spurred on by big gains in the engine departments especially.
Indeed, having begun the year with a fairly modest target to regain third in the constructors' standings having been overhauled by Ferrari and Williams in 2015, Ricciardo and Max Verstappen have since emerged as the most consistent threat to Mercedes and have now established a margin over Ferrari for second overall.
With Ricciardo third in the standings himself, the Australian admits he will feel pride at the way the team has recovered its form if it can maintain position.
“I have finished third in the past, but if I could do it again this year I'd be proud,” he said. “And if we kept second in the constructors it is probably more than we expected. Coming into the season our target was to get third back in the constructors, so to overtake Ferrari if we can pull it off, and to be again best of the rest, with the drivers' championship that would be a pretty good achievement. So I will take it, I will definitely take it
Looking forward, though Ricciardo admits Ferrari will likely have the edge at Monza for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, he feels wins are in the offing at Singapore and Suzuka.
“I think so. I don't believe in much, but if there is a little bit of karma or whatever, I'd like to think that I will get my Monaco win back somewhere. Singapore is a track which I want to (win). I don't expect to be handed a victory, absolutely not, but I feel if I work very well across that weekend, then it should hopefully provide me with a chance. So Singapore is one I am looking at.”
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