Ricciardo still smiling despite early exit

Daniel Ricciardo at the United States Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo emerged with a grin, as usual, despite a disappointing early exit from Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, when his Red Bull car suffered an engine failure.

The Australian’s retirement came as he was enjoying a strong start and, after rising to fourth in the drivers’ standings following nine podium finishes, hoping for another good race.

“I’ve got mixed emotions,” he said.

“I knew I was going to have to change the engine and take a penalty maybe in Mexico anyway, and we were strong from the start, but it’s always a bad feeling to not finish.”

Ricciardo, who said he loves the Circuit of The Americas and had hoped for a podium finish, also made light of reports he is set to talk to other teams about leaving Red Bull following teammate Max Verstappen’s contract extension until 2020.

He also dismissed the idea he fears favouritism for Verstappen in the future.

“I can’t predict the future, but at least up until now there hasn’t been any favouritism,” Ricciardo said.

“If there was, you’d know about it because I would be expressing my frustration for sure. It is not something I’d hide.

“I’m aware that Max has broken some records and I guess Red Bull especially as a brand would like him to break more and that’s fine.

“I get how it would boost the brand’s image. So, from a marketing point of view, I get it.

“But behind closed doors from an engineering status and equality, there has been nothing at all like that and you’d certainly know if I was unhappy with how things were shaping up.

“They have been fair. The media gets excited and I get it, but it’s all been good.

“The biggest thing, looking forward, is can we build a car that can win a title?

“And for sure if we come out next year and have a chance to win, then very likely I’ll want to stay on and extend my contract.” 

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