Daniel Ricciardo is certain he can prove he is not just a one-lap specialist when he drives for Red Bull in the 2014 Formula 1 season.
The Australian gained a reputation for being stronger in qualifying than the grands prix during his Toro Rosso years, after several impressive Saturday performances failed to translate into points finishes.
Ricciardo insisted that when his car is quick enough, he will have no problem sustaining his pace over a race distance.
“I think the races this year where we have had the racecar to back up our qualifying speed, which unfortunately hasn’t been always but we had a few times like Silverstone, China and a few other places, I have delivered and lived up to the speed of the car,” Ricciardo said. “Next year if I get given the right car and I put it on the front row, I am confident I can race there.”
Asked if he felt he had sometimes outperformed the Toro Rosso in qualifying but the car inevitably regressed to its true pace in the races, Ricciardo replied: “The way you described it is polite, but I would also agree with that.”
Next year Ricciardo will go up against Sebastian Vettel, who has taken 40 poles in the last four years. He acknowledged that the four-time world champion would be a tough benchmark in qualifying.
“We both, particularly last year, have been very strong in qualifying in comparison to our teammates, so it could be a nice battle,” said Ricciardo. “I think if I show the speed, particularly early on, then that is going to go down well.
“The races will come but I think they have come on anyway in the last six months to a year.”