Daniel Ricciardo has spoken of his frustration after failing to score in either of the past two grands prix, which has only been furthered by the good form of Jean-Eric Vergne as the drivers go head-to-head for the second seat at Red Bull in 2014.
“Like any racing driver I’m very highly motivated to compete with my teammate, so having such a poor race when Jev had an excellent one adds to the frustration,” Ricciardo wrote in his blog.
The Australian was quick to praise the team effort, with Toro Rosso currently beating Sauber and Williams in the constructors’ championship.
“But looking past that, his result is really positive for us. The team is really pumped up and we all know that, when everything’s working as it should, we’ve got a really fast car that’s capable of fighting for good points. That’s a nice thought to take away.”
The battle for the second seat at Red Bull has been sparked by the breakdown of Mark Webber’s relationship with the team after the multi 21 fiasco at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Although Ricciardo and Vergne are unquestionably in the running for the drive, Kimi Raikkonen is also thought to be a consideration for the defending world champions.
Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”