When Daniel Ricciardo got the call-up by Red Bull to step into the senior race team in 2014 in place of his compatriot Mark Webber, the 24-year-old Australian knew it could prove to be a double edged sword.

Without doubt, lining up in a Red Bull in Albert Park Park, Melbourne next weekend for the green flag in the Australian Grand Prix is the chance of a lifetime. But it also means that everyone will be looking his way and immediately comparing him with his new team mate, multiple world champion Sebastian Vettel - possibly the finest racer of his generation.

And Ricciardo is just fine with that.

"I see Seb as a normal person: obviously he works hard, he trains hard but he's not invincible," he insisted at the weekend, talking with the local Australian media ahead of the first race of the F1 season.

"Definitely even when I got close to F1 I'd still look at all the drivers - the world champions - and think: 'Wow, these guys are pretty cool. I wish I could be them one day!'" Ricciardo was quoted as telling the Sydney Morning Herald.

"But when you hang around it, you realise that everyone is human. No one is superhuman or has special powers. Obviously they've got unreal ability behind the wheel, but they're still human and they're still doing the same things," he added. "You just bring them back down to reality and realise they can be beaten.

"[But] until I do that on track, I can't really talk too much!" he added.

Riciardo's predecessor in the Red Bull car famously ended up with a strained relationship with Vettel by the end of five seasons together, and the new boy admitted that he certainly wasn't expecting to become best friends with his new team mate either, but that they currently had a good working relationship nonetheless.

"I'm sure we're not going to be the closest mates because he's not going to like that and I'm not going to like getting my arse kicked if he's going to be doing that," he told AAP. "We'll see. I don't expect it to get out of hand. It'll just be competitive and professional.

"A lot people are probably waiting for the day that we have an incident on track and get into a fist-fight or something," Ricciardo added. "But at the moment all I can say is there's no issues. I respect him as a competitor."

Asked what he would do in the same circumstances Webber faced last season in Malaysia - where Vettel controversially defied clear team orders to pass his team mate for a victory - Ricciardo looked on the bright side of what that would need to happen first.

"Well, that would be good because that would mean I was in front!" Ricciardo chuckled when asked by Fairfax Media. "I'd be pretty pleased with that. And I'd make sure I stayed in front," he added - a clear statement of intent for his forthcoming campaign.



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