Australian Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull’s package of updates to be introduced at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix can help them close the gap on Ferrari and Mercedes, but not enough to turn him into a title contender.
And, as he marks 10 years with the Toro Rosso/Red Bull family, he has spoken out about the strengths and weaknesses of his teenage prodigy team-mate Dutchman Max Verstappen.
In summary, he believes the 19-year-old should do more listening and a bit less talking.
As to his own future, he has remained coy, but made clear he is more interested in driving a race-winning car than for a team that has a big reputation and history.
“I was a Ferrari fan growing up, but if I am honest I have to say now that I don’t get too sentimental about that – I really want to win and to win a championship. I’ve got 18 months to go with Red Bull on my current contract and I want to be winning again.”
Asked by reporters about his relationship with Verstappen, who claimed his maiden F1® victory in last year’s Spanish race on debut with Red Bull, the West Australian said: “For strengths, I guess his determination.
“He's obviously willing to push the car on the limit and that's obviously a really good thing.
"And weakness? I would say his age, but not his age in the sport. He's done the racing a long time so it's not necessarily that, but I think it's probably just in life.
“Probably just absorbing some things from older people - like last year when he was doing some things with braking.
"A lot of the older drivers would say: 'Look, we don't think this is right', or something. And Max would be like 'I know what I'm doing' kind of thing.
“You know, that's a strength that he is independent, but may be a weakness...
"But that will come with time, and he will then understand maybe a little bit of probably advice from the older guys."
This weekend, said Ricciardo, he wants to see some progress.
“Let’s hope we can close the gap and really put some pressure on the guys at the front. That’s what we want to see,” he said. “I don’t know about winning, but just being in the race.”