Daniel Ricciardo says the 2018 Formula 1 finale in Abu Dhabi will be a six-driver fight for victory between the top three teams but feels he needs to qualify on the front two rows to give himself a strong shot at victory.

The Australian driver bids farewell to Red Bull this weekend ahead of his Renault switch for 2019 and is eager to end on a high after a disastrous end to this season plagued by mechanical issues.

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With no engine penalties to take this weekend and promising Friday pace, Ricciardo ended FP2 third quickest and within two-tenths of timesheet-topper Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes, the 29-year-old feels an all-out battle for victory between the top six drivers is possible at the Yas Marina Circuit.

“Long runs are good. The short runs we can be better,” Ricciardo said. “But we showed signs of the pace we had. I’m pretty happy with today. Hopefully we can be in there Sunday. It would be nice to see a six-way fight.

“In qualifying we still need to be on the first two rows to really be in with a shot. If we are there, Sunday should be fine.”

Having last stood on the podium back in Monaco, Ricciardo is eager to end his longest rostrum drought since stepping up to Red Bull from Toro Rosso five seasons ago.

“Since Monaco I’ve wanted a good weekend, so especially now as it is the last chance with the team to do it,” he said. “Today was pretty good. But we can still improve on some areas, but generally we seem more or less in the window.

“There is still some pace in the car, that is the exciting thing, but we look to be alright so hopefully it stays close tomorrow and Sunday – tire wear and this and that and it should be a good race. If it is a six-way fight which potentially it could be then it is going to be a fun race.”

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