Daniel Ricciardo insists the pressure of being in contention to take over Mark Webber’s Red Bull seat in 2014 is an advantage after starring in qualifying for the second consecutive weekend.
The Toro Rosso driver is on Red Bull’s current three-man shortlist to take the drive, alongside team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne and Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen.
After earning fifth place on the grid in Britain last weekend, he qualified sixth for the German Grand Prix.
“I guess I enjoy it,” he said when asked about how the pressure of bidding for a top drive affected him.”When you hear things like that, you have to take it as positive information because it is positive for people to talk about me taking a seat like that.
“For me to view it as negative pressure doesn’t make sense so I use it to my advantage and it seems to be working, so let’s keep it in this direction.”
Ricciardo admitted that he did not anticipate qualifying so strongly, particularly after struggling with the set-up during practice. But major changes ahead of qualifying allowed him to make it to the top 10 qualifying shootout.
“[I am] surprised with sixth,” he said. “I knew Q3 wasn’t impossible but was probably going to be a bit harder than last week. After practice, we made some changes, they pushed us forward and we put a good lap together in Q2.”
Ricciardo added that his aspirations of claiming a Red Bull seat do not prey on his mind during qualifying.
“I put it at the back of my mind,” he said. “Since the news [that Webber is leaving Red Bull] I’ve had two good qualifyings but I’m not going to say that’s the reason for it because we are pushing all the time.”