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.”