Daniel Ricciardo confirmed he would need a podium finish, at minimum, at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix in order to remain in the hunt for the Drivers’ Championship title.
The Red Bull Racing driver currently lies 72 points adrift of championship leader Nico Rosberg, and with a maximum of 175 points up for grabs over the final six races, he’ll need a significant points haul to remain in contention.
The Marina Bay Circuit is expected to be far more suitable to the characteristics of the Renault-powered RB10, meaning the Australian could be in the mix for a fourth win of the season, providing he can qualify well on Saturday.
“I believe we’ll be the second best team out of the box. The question is how close we can get to Mercedes. I definitely think we’re going to be closer than Monza, as this is a track that should help us out a bit more,” he said in an open media conference on Thursday night in the paddock.
“It’ll be a good result if we can be within a couple of tenths. That’ll mean we can race them on Sunday.
“I’m expecting a podium. We have to aim for that, especially if we want to stay in the title hunt,” he added.
Ricciardo could face stiffer competition from the opposite side of the Red Bull garage, with teammate Sebastian Vettel – winner of the last three Grands Prix at Marina Bay – keen to open his tally of wins this weekend.
The German has had to play a second-fiddle role in his intra-team battle with Ricciardo, having claimed just a pair of third-placed finishes in contrast to Ricciardo’s three wins and three third-placed finishes.
“I don’t like being beaten but this year I’ve been beaten many times,” he admitted frankly in his open press call. “There’s always something you can learn from winning, but you can also learn something from being beaten or losing. It’s been a tough year already but the confidence is high and there’s confidence we will win again.”
The four-time World Champion was quick to bat away suggestions that he was somehow a player in the driver market, with rumours claiming that he could swap seats with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
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