In your own words, how would you sum up the first-half of the 2015 season... I imagine Hungary was a timely boost for you and the team.

Daniel Ricciardo
Hungary was good. I think we all need that, as a team it was nice. As a race, it was the best thing to happen to F1 this year. Up until then, it's been not as we all hoped but I've definitely got used to it now and understood how it is and where it's all. For sure at the beginning it was frustrating, now I just have become a bit more mature about it and understood that's what it is.

I think I'm still going to draw a lot of positives the season, it's been character building and I know that when we do get a chance to fight at the front again, a bit like the last race in Budapest, I will really thrive off that opportunity again and I think I'll really leave it all out there and make the most of the next chance.

Last year, I mean I appreciated every good moment I had, because I also knew last year was an awesome year and unfortunately motorsport it not always like that. So I definitely appreciated all of it but even more now, that when I get it again, I'll soak it up.
Do those race wins feel a long time ago now?

Daniel Ricciardo
Not really, it still feels pretty fresh. And again, battling at the front in Budapest felt like a familiar feeling. It didn't feel foreign which is good. I think if it starts to feel foreign, then it has been way too long.
Christian Horner has certainly been praiseworthy about your performances and even went as far to grade you A+... How much do you appreciate that confidence from your bosses?

Daniel Ricciardo
It's definitely nice you know, it means a lot because, especially Christian and the team, the guys on the inside see us go through the motions as well. The ins and the outs and they see when we're up and down and frustrated or whatever. You know it's obviously nice when he's seen me, in a way, come through it. I think I have matured in a way from it all, I think I have grown as a person. There have been times sure, when I have let my frustrations been known but I think it's the way then I've adapted to that and then overcome it and moved forward. I think that's going to serve me well for the rest of my career.
How would you grade your performance then?

Daniel Ricciardo
I don't know, I probably wouldn't say A+. Just because I've only had one podium. I have had some bad races in terms of, I wouldn't say just bad, I don't feel I've really driven bad or anything, but just some weekends that haven't really clicked. We didn't really get that last year. For that, it's hard to give me an A+, let's say I think the way we've responded a lot of the time has been very good.
This year has seen you step into a team leader role following Sebastian Vettel's departure. Does it feel different compared to last year?

Daniel Ricciardo
"I don't really feel different. It doesn't really change my approach or the things I do. If anything the thing that changed me, if anything, is my results last year, the confidence I drew from that, that's probably changed me. The way I approach a situation in the team or if I'm not happy with the car, then rather than weave around the edges, I'll probably just go straight to it now. That's mainly the difference. Otherwise not much has changed.
You mention you have let your frustrations be known at times this year. Have you been surprised by some of your reactions?

Daniel Ricciardo
Yeah some things. I think what's surprising as well, or what's in a way fascinating, is that there is so much to learn in this sport - and it's like, literally every weekend - if you make notes, you will take something away from every weekend. And you're like 'wow', just when you think you know it all and you think you've got everything covered, there is always another variable. In a way, that's the fun part, you sort of make mistakes but you learn from them. Even off track, it changes you, you grow as a person as well and away from the track in your everyday life, it can have an effect and I think it's a positive effect as well.
The Renault engine has been an evident Achilles Heel this year. As a driver, how much have you been able to contribute to helping Renault get back up to speed?

Daniel Ricciardo
We're constantly giving feedback. Post session, post-race, all our engineering briefings are with the Renault guys as well, so we talk firstly about the car, about the chassis and then we talk about the engine, the driveability and what we feel we can do better and what we need to go faster, so it's constant dialogue between us. I feel we've improved a lot of things but some things we have to drive around. Some of the problems you have as a driver, you have to drive around them. We've got it to a good level, even if it's not perfect in terms of what we're getting from the engine, the response and all that.
As a driver, how frustrating is it know one particular element is hampering your best efforts?

Daniel Ricciardo
I think in general the sport's frustrating, because I think it's one of only a few sports in the world where you've got so many other variables. Not taking anything away from the winner, but the best man doesn't always win. I think part of that makes the sport really exciting and part of it makes it heartbreaking. For example, I get lapped during a race, I know it's not my talent getting lapped, it's not that I know Lewis or someone is driving three seconds a lap faster than me but it is what it is. It's the sport but there is something about it that keeps bringing you back. Sometimes you have a bad day and you're like 'I'm over this and I just want to play tennis' or do another sport that doesn't require any other variables, but then you have a good day and it's like, it's amazing and the success makes up for it. I guess it's part of the adrenalin and the speed that comes with the sport, it's an addiction. I don't know if I went a bit off topic there but there you go!
Is there a difference in your mentality now that you've peaked through the Red Bull programme and instead of convincing Red Bull to promote you, they now have to convince you to stay?

Daniel Ricciardo
Definitely. My whole career has been about trying to make it [through the ranks] and you hope Red Bull then promotes you. Now I'm at least the top of that Red Bull pyramid and I guess I'm established in the sport now. I know if I keep my s*** together, I'm going to stay in the sport because I believe I have got the talent and the tools to stay in the sport and do well. So, a lot of it is up to me but it can now start to create options elsewhere. Obviously some race wins create interest from everywhere so I guess you approach it a little bit differently now. You're not just holding on to stay in, you're looking for what is best for you and your future out there. In saying that, I'm not actively looking at other teams and talking to team bosses. There is definitely a part of loyalty as well with Red Bull and all the things they've done for my career. You always feel like as you're part of that, you need to pay back. So I guess it's a two way street a lot of the time. Ideally if I could paint the perfect picture, I'd win my first World Title with Red Bull, that's the way I'd like to see it. I say first because I want more than one. I haven't even got one yet and I want more. Greedy or not, I guess its giving me the drive I need.
Will the decisions of Renault - and how they impact on Red Bull - for next year and beyond have a bearing on your own future?

Daniel Ricciardo
I haven't thought that far ahead yet to be honest. There's obviously some things up in the air at least throughout the media and I expect things to stay as they are but you never know in this sport. I think we'll see where we are in 2016 and then think about the following step and the following year. It's not something I get too wrapped up in, we have a lot of things now to deal with, so I'm just focusing on each race by race. Whatever ends up happening I'm here so I don't really need to look into it too much more to be honest.


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