Canadian GP: Daniel Ricciardo 'hopeful' Red Bull can challenge Mercedes

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Red Bull F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo was furious after his team's mistake cost him victory in Monaco

Daniel Ricciardo is "hopeful" Red Bull can challenge Mercedes for victory in this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.

He said it would be "a nice way to bounce back" after a pit stop error in Monaco saw him lose to Lewis Hamilton.

Ricciardo added that a strong run in Canada may be an indication he could mount a title challenge this season.

"I believe we can be the next ones in line after Mercedes; hopefully close enough to put pressure on and grab a win," the Australian said.

Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one of the tracks where engine power plays the biggest role in overall competitiveness and Red Bull's Renault engine is still in the region of 20-30bhp short of the Mercedes power unit.

However, the track's corners are nearly all slow, which plays to the strengths of the the excellent Red Bull chassis.

Ricciardo is third in the championship after six races, 40 points behind leader Nico Rosberg and 16 adrift of Hamilton.

'Colossal mess-up' cost Ricciardo

He pointed out that he would be in a better position had it not been for a puncture while leading in China, a first-corner collision in Russia and two team strategy errors in the last two races in Spain and Monaco, both of which he should have won.

"Coming into the season, I didn't expect to be third in the championship after so many races in," he said.

"And, yeah, we have seen no points in Russia and could have got more in China without the puncture. We could be very close to the front of the championship right now.

"I am not looking at that yet. I would love to be in a position in a few races time to say, yeah, we can fight for a title this year. It would be a nice and unexpected story for Formula 1.

"This race could be telling, if we can be competitive here.

"It's still a long shot, but if we can be competitive I believe in myself I can do what I need to do to fight and be competitive ay the end of the year. Hopefully Monaco is not a one-off.

"I believe we can fight for the rest of the year; whether it is a win or a podium, we have to wait and see."

After Monaco, the 26-year-old said he would need a few days before he could bear to listen to Red Bull's explanation for what went wrong.

The team cost him victory with a tyre mix-up at his second pit stop, which handed the lead to Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo
Lewis Hamilton was able to keep Daniel Ricciardo behind him in Monaco after switching to ultra-soft tyres

But he also questioned their decision to make an earlier pit stop for intermediate tyres as the track dried, while Hamilton went straight from full wet tyres to slicks with a single stop.

Ricciardo said he "gave it a few days to cool off" before talking to team boss Christian Horner and then engineer Simon Rennie.

"I just wanted to make sure the first pit stop was being looked at as much as the second one," he said, "because we put ourselves in a race with Lewis that we didn't need to be in.

"I had plenty of questions to ask but they answered them with confidence and that is all I needed to hear."

He added that Red Bull had put in place new processes that they hoped would ensure such mistakes could not happen again.

Rosberg has said Mercedes are wary of the renewed threat from Red Bull, who have finished first and second in the last two races - with Max Verstappen winning in Spain and Ricciardo taking the runner-up spot in Monaco.

"It will be interesting to see where Red Bull are this time," Ricciardo said.

"We are hoping to get a little bit ahead of them again, so let's see."

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