Singapore GP: Daniel Ricciardo 'excited' about challenging Mercedes for win

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo has not won a race since the 2014 season when he had three victories

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo says he is "excited" about his team's prospects for Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix.

Red Bull are expected to mount a strong challenge to dominant Mercedes, based on the track's similarities to Monaco.

Ricciardo was on pole in Monaco and dominated the race until a pit-stop error handed victory to Lewis Hamilton.

"It is the next closest track to Monaco so we look at it as a good chance to try to get a victory on our side," Ricciardo said.

Asked if he was favourite for the weekend, Ricciardo joked: "We have a good chance of the top 10, absolutely. That's about it."

He added: "Let's see. I am not going to put too much pressure on myself or them. Deep down, we obviously want to win, and we are winners. Let's see what happens, but I am definitely excited."

Ricciardo's team-mate Max Verstappen, who won the Spanish Grand Prix in May on his Red Bull debut following his promotion from Toro Rosso, said: "This track should suit us better. We don't know yet how well it will suit us, but if you look to last years and previous years, it is definitely a better track for us.

"We have good hopes we can be very competitive but how well I don't know yet. But hopefully we are very competitive like in Monaco."

Mercedes' duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are separated by just two points at the top of the drivers' championship, with Ricciardo 89 points behind the Briton in third.

Hopes for a different winner have been raised by the fact that Mercedes were uncompetitive in Singapore last year and the race was won by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, with Ricciardo close behind in second.

Mercedes have analysed what went wrong in Singapore last year and believe they have understood the problem, which they say was rooted in their failure to get the best out of the tyres.

But Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff said: "We weren't competitive last year and I think we understood why, made some conclusions which have helped us in the following races and throughout the season. In Singapore we are going to check whether our assumptions were right."

Daniel Ricciardo and Mark Webber
Daniel Ricciardo encouraged fellow Australian Mark Webber to do the 'shoey' during the podium interviews after the Belgian Grand Prix

Ricciardo said that only if he won would he repeat his so-called 'shoey' - drinking champagne from his racing boot - which he did after finishing on the podium in Germany and Belgium.

The Australian explained that the origins of the act are in the so-called 'Mad Hueys',external-link which he said were "a few loose Aussies - they are 'surfeys' and fishermen, they travel the world drinking and surfing and they like to do a 'shoey'."

The action has caught on - and multiple MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi did it on the podium of the Misano race in Italy last weekend.

Ricciardo said the drink "tasted nice" as long as the champagne was cold.

"The cold taste kills the bad stuff so it's delicious," he said.

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