Ricciardo admits beating Vettel “feels great”

3 Comments

Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that it “feels great” to be beating his Red Bull teammate and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel as things stand in 2014.

The Australian driver was promoted to the seat at Red Bull for 2014 in place of his compatriot, Mark Webber, who retired at the end of last season.

Although he was known to have potential, very few expected him to make such a superb start to life with the world champion team.

In the first eleven races of the season, he has claimed two wins and currently ranks third in the drivers’ championship.

Perhaps even more surprising is that fact that he is 43 points ahead of Vettel, who has won the last four world titles.

“Of course I won’t lie: it feels great,” Ricciardo admitted to CNN. “You know he is an awesome benchmark to sort of judge myself on.

“And, you know, not only the rest of the guys in the field but him especially.

“To have shown really good speed against him not only in qualifying but in races as well has been encouraging. So yeah I am enjoying it.”

Vettel appears to have struggled to get to grips with the new cars for the 2014 season, but has shown signs of pace with two podium finishes. However, it is a far cry from his championship-winning exploits of 2013 when he won the final nine races of the season.

Ricciardo has quickly established himself to be a star in the sport, and has even surprised his boss, Christian Horner.

“Daniel has been a real surprise this year,” he said to Sky earlier this year. “We knew he was quick, we just didn’t realise how quick.”

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Follow@KyleMLavigne