We might be tempted to say, “Shut up and drive,” to Daniel Ricciardo as he threw down a gauntlet ahead of the Australian Grand Pix at Albert Park this Sunday, but bravado and braggadocio is almost a requirement for being a Formula 1 driver.
Still, we cannot help but express that it would have been our preference if he had done his talking following the race, but there is no doubt that he will indeed have things to say afterward.
Ricciardo thinks his new car, the Renault powered RB14, has the power and handling to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari, unlike last year, where Ricciardo and Red Bull teammate max Verstappen often had to ride the tails of the leaders and hope for good fortune.
Ricciardo is considered a threat to win the F1 title this year. He certainly has the driving skills, but does he have the equipment?
Team Red Bull was once the bully of the F1 circuit, winning the title four consecutive times, the last just prior to Ricciardo signing on with them.
He is off contract following this season and he has done nothing to indicate that he desires to re-enlist with Red Bull, although the team wants to retain him and has given him a deadline to make a decision.
The number one driver for Red Bull will be 29 in the middle of the season. It is amazing to think of a driver being considered old at that stage, but it is the opinion of some human performance experts that reaction time has begun to slow by that age and if there is anything a race driver needs, it is razor-sharp reflexes.
Red Bull has not had a podium finish in the Australian Grand Prix since 2013. They and Ricciardo were plagued by mechanical and technical issues in last year’s race, so both the team and Ricciardo have something of a chip on their shoulders.
“I always feel I have something to prove. People forget quickly as well,” Ricciardo told Fox Sports TV.