Carlos Sainz says it remains his target to be fighting for the Formula 1 World Championship title by 2018 in Red Bull colours as speculation over the future of Daniel Ricciardo gathers momentum.

The Spaniard is currently in the midst of his third season competing with Scuderia Toro Rosso and has enjoyed a strong start to his 2017 F1 campaign, claiming four top eight results in the opening seven rounds and comfortably out-performing team-mate Daniil Kvyat.

Indeed, Sainz is considered a key figure in the driver market as attention turns towards firming deals for 2018 having been linked to a potential drive at Ferrari should Kimi Raikkonen exit, while Renault is also considered an option if the French firm cannot secure the services of Fernando Alonso.

However, with talk that current Red Bull driver Ricciardo is being courted by Ferrari for 2018, Sainz is willing to hold out on the opportunity to progress to the Red Bull 'A team' in his place.

"Ideally I want to fight for a world championship [in 2018], I want to have the chance to show everyone that I'm able to fight for a world championship," he told

"Red Bull knows this, I've told them, they know it perfectly, and I think if I keep bringing home good results the opportunity will come, and hopefully it will come with Red Bull, this is my target and this is what I'm looking for."

In the meantime, Sainz is keen to keep impressing with Toro Rosso and lead it in its quest to finish fifth in the standings for the first time in its 11-year in the sport.

"My target is P5 in the constructors' championship at least, that's the target of Toro Rosso, it's been the target for the past three seasons, and from there we will see. Personally, getting in the points whenever I finish a race and keep this run of consistency that I'm having now.

"I'm obviously really happy with how these first races have gone. Particularly with the early points, particularly with Monaco especially, that was a big weekend for me. It hasn't been as easy as it looks, sometimes we've struggled to qualify in the top 12, even in the top 10 compared to last year - it's a lot tighter to get in there.

"We have to do a lot of races coming a bit from the back, but still we've managed to get the points. The team has improved a lot in pit stop strategy, so it's helping."



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