Ricciardo admits beating Vettel “feels great”

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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.”

Williams confirms Kubica and Sirotkin for Abu Dhabi F1 test

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Williams has confirmed that Robert Kubica will enjoy his third Formula 1 test outing with the team at the end-of-season running in Abu Dhabi next week as rumors grow regarding a possible race seat for 2018.

Almost seven years after his last F1 start, Kubica’s remarkable return from severe injuries sustained in a rally accident saw him enjoy two private tests with Renault before completing running with the team in a 2017-spec car in Hungary over the summer.

Reservations over Kubica’s capabilities prompted Renault to pass on giving him a seat, instead opting to hire Carlos Sainz Jr. for next year, only for Williams to become an alternative for the Pole.

Kubica tested a 2014-spec Williams at both Silverstone and the Hungaroring in recent months, and will now sample a 2017 car when he tests at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kubica will share track time with regular Williams racer Lance Stroll and Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin, who has worked with Renault over the past two years but also missed out on a 2018 seat.

“Williams Martini Racing is pleased to confirm it will run Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin for the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tire test, alongside current race driver Lance Stroll,” a statement from the team reads.

“The Pirelli tire test will take place over two days at the Yas Marina circuit during the week following the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“On day one Robert Kubica will drive the FW40 in the morning session, before Lance Stroll takes over in the afternoon.

“On day two Sergey Sirotkin will drive in the morning and afternoon sessions before handing over to Robert in the late afternoon.

“The test is aimed at evaluating 2018 candidate tires on behalf of the Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli.

“Williams is excited to have this opportunity to assess the new tyres across such an interesting range of drivers: Lance, as confirmed race driver for 2018, Robert with his huge experience, and Sergey as a very promising young talent in Formula 1.”

Williams denied earlier this week it has signed Kubica to partner Stroll for 2018, but indications are the deal looks very likely to go ahead, subject to the relevant paperwork and contracts being finalized.