Daniel Ricciardo says he will 'respect' Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in their upcoming F1 title showdown at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but is not prepared to 'fix' the championship by putting Mercedes' needs first.
For the third time in six seasons, the F1 title battle will come down to season finale, with Rosberg needing a third place finish at the Yas Marina Circuit to secure a maiden world title regardless of where Hamilton finishes.
Based on year-long form, Rosberg is widely expected to wrap up the title in Abu Dhabi without any unforeseen issues, but it is potential interference from rivals that has given Mercedes boss Toto Wolff reason for concern.
Coming after Max Verstappen made contact with Rosberg at the start of the Mexican Grand Prix, prompting Wolff to discuss the matter – which he says was just his personal opinion - with his father Jos, it has nonetheless raised the debate of how other drivers approach their races amidst a tense title fight.
For Verstappen's Red Bull Racing team-mate Ricciardo, he says he is aware how actions of other drivers can have big ramifications but he says it shouldn't dictate how one should approach a race, suggesting that holding back is a way of 'fixing' the championship.
“I understand it from a respect point of view, but you have to race because what is different now than in Melbourne? At the start of the year we are all racing and trying to maximise our position.
“In a way if it is like we don't attack them or we don't go for an opportunity, in a way we are fixing the championship by not doing that. So the championship should be an accumulation of all those races, and whatever happens, happens. I completely see the respect side of it, but it doesn't mean that we should not try to do something if we can.
“If we are talking about a race win, I am going for it. Again, I am not going to do a kamikaze and take us both out, but if I feel that it is a move that I can make stick sure I will go for it.”
With Christian Horner expressing his anger at Wolff's actions ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Ricciardo adds he would be letting Red Bull down by racing according to another team's priorities.
“It is not fair of anyone, particularly the team. The team wouldn't be happy. It is the last thing I personally want to do is hang back and watch it all unfold. If we are in a position in the race to fight, it is going to be a very nice position.
"If we are with Mercedes it probably means that there is some rain on the track. But sure if there is a move which is there, and I don't feel that it is going to take any of us out, I will definitely go for it.”
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