Daniel Ricciardo says he is reveling in the increased attention surrounding him as he bids to secure a Red Bull seat for 2014.
The Australian is on the shortlist of candidates to line-up alongside Sebastian Vettel next year. But he has to convince the team’s bosses that he is a better prospect than experienced drivers like Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.
Ricciardo is doing his chances no harm with a run of strong qualifying performances in the last few races, and impressed Red Bull during an audition during the recent Silverstone young driver test.He admits that rather than feel that the pressure to show well is a burden, he reckons it is inspiring him to do even better.
“I don’t not like it,” he said about the spotlight being on him. “I’m not saying I like all the extra media and all that, but behind the scenes, the odd phone call here and there telling me that this weekend is important, is good fun.
“It is what some of us enjoy about the sport. It is about pushing yourself when everyone is watching and, when you can prove it in front of a lot of eyes, then that is a rewarding feeling.”
Irrespective of the need to do well if he is to stand a chance of the Red Bull seat, Ricciardo thinks he is at that stage of his career when it is essential he steps up his game, anyway.
“Each race you do in F1, you expect more from yourself,” he explained. “After doing more than two seasons, it is time I really have to start proving myself, even moving all the Red Bull stuff aside.
“It is really a time in my young career that I need to start impressing some people. So there is a bit of extra pressure, but motivation as well.”