Daniel Ricciardo sees his title hopes as a little more realistic after getting the better of Lewis Hamilton at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Hamilton was the championship leader heading into the race weekend, with Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel having matched Hamilton’s tally of two wins this season. Ricciardo’s latest victory was in Monaco, where Red Bull expected to be strong, and while he had to settle for fourth on Sunday in Montreal he finished one place ahead of Hamilton at a track where Mercedes has traditionally held a clear advantage.
Asked if he thinks he’s a title contender if Saturday performances improve, Ricciardo told Sky Sports: “Yeah I think that’s fair, and it’s still a reality.
“Especially if you look, I don’t know if Lewis had issues this weekend but this is normally a really strong track for him and it’s normally a strong track for Mercedes.
“So for us to take a few points away, I think that’s a little win and gives us a lot of encouragement coming in for the next few.”
And reflecting on the race itself, Ricciardo believes his rise from sixth on the grid to finish fourth was the best Red Bull could have hoped for in a race that saw little in the way of overtaking.
“I’m relatively content for a fourth place. I think we chose to qualify on the hypersoft, we knew it would be aggressive at the beginning but we knew we had to use that. So we got the jump on Kimi [Raikkonen] and then the overcut on Lewis so I actually think we did all we could with that strategy so I was pretty happy.”
Despite his optimism, Ricciardo admits he was not able to match teammate Max Verstappen at certain stages of the race, pointing to the settings on Renault’s power unit update as still needing refining.
“Yeah, to be honest we had the engine upgrade this weekend and my car struggled more with drivability, like calibration. So the whole weekend could have been better, let’s say that, and I was just struggling to keep the tires under control with that drivability stuff.
“So I would say it explained some of the inconsistency, but also Max was driving really well all weekend so I won’t take that away from him.”