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Daniel Ricciardo Q&A: Red Bull may struggle for Monza pace

04 Sep 2014

Thus far in 2014, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has been the man who’s made sure he’s there to take advantage whenever Mercedes drop the ball. His three wins have made him perhaps more than just a mathematical title contender - even if the Australian doesn’t think he’s likely to a add a fourth victory in Italy this weekend…

Q: Daniel, considering your last race and the amazing win, what do you expect here - and at the next few races? Will you be riding high on the tailwind of Budapest and Spa?

Daniel Ricciardo: I think if we can get through Monza well and bag a few points here that would be very good. Monza is a high-speed track that is probably not too much to our liking. So the next two races - Singapore and Suzuka - are the ones that we are really looking forward to. But I still do expect the Mercedes to be strong at every circuit, so then the question would be if we can be as quick as them. For this, both Singapore and Suzuka would be our best shots, and if all goes well we could even try to go for pole and a race win at either of these races.

Q: Do you still see a chance that you could actually win this championship?

DR: I think I can, but this would take more than just winning the next seven races - which would take quite a lot of luck as well. I am a bit more than two wins behind Nico (Rosberg), so even if I win two races and he has two DNFs, then he would still be in the lead. There is a lot of talk about this topic right now, but actually I am not really thinking about any scenario at the moment. For me it would already be amazing to just go out there and keep winning races. Maybe if I am in the same position after the next three or four races, then I would start thinking about the ‘what ifs’, but not for now.

Q: Does the internal fight at Mercedes affect you positively in any way?

DR: To be honest, I do not know what is going on there and how much is fact and how much is maybe blown out of proportion. It seems that they are not best mates at the moment, but this does not give me any insight on how big this situation really is. For sure, if they would crash into each other at all the upcoming races, then this would impact me a lot and possibly even hand me that chance for the championship on a silver platter. But this is not on my mind going into a race weekend - what they are possibly doing to each other on such a weekend. The best thing for me is to get my head down and get on with my job and hopefully get enough points to stay in the game.

Q: How did the Belgian race turn out so well for you and do you think that this could be repeated at Monza?

DR: Our reason for being more competitive at Spa was that we took off a lot of wing, and not everyone else did that. So this made our straight-line speed more competitive and both Williams and Mercedes had quite a lot more wing on. For sure the last race gave us a bit of hope coming here to Italy, but realistically most of the teams will run minimum downforce here and we will probably fall behind in terms of the top speed. But then you never know when the conditions change, as could be the case on Sunday, and top speed counts less than good strategy.

Q: Looking back now at your home race in Melbourne where you lost 18 points, do you feel that this might eventually cost you the championship?

DR: I don’t think that one should think like this, but for sure if I lose the championship in Abu Dhabi by exactly these 18 points or less, then this might have a bigger effect on me. But then everyone has had a bit of bad luck. Nico Rosberg for example had his problems in Silverstone, being in the lead and then losing potentially maximum points. So no one has a perfect year and that is part of racing. For sure I hate to lose 18 points, but this is done and it is history.