Daniel Ricciardo insists being outshone by team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne rather than the vacant 2014 Red Bull seat played a major role in his turnaround in form.
The Australian has pulled off a string of impressive results since it was announced that he, Vergne and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen are on the shortlist to replace Mark Webber at Red Bull next year.
Vergne scored a combined 12 points in Monaco and Canada, but Ricciardo hit back strongly in the next two races, which coincided with Webber's announcement that he is to retire.
He qualified P5 at Silverstone and finished eighth and then followed it up with another P6 grid slot and a P12 finish in Germany while Vergne failed to make it into Q3 and retired in both races.
Ricciardo, though, says it was Vergne's form that spurred him on and not talk of a possible move to Red Bull.
"Before all the Red Bull talk, I had come off two poor races," he is quoted as saying by Autosport.
"We had three weeks off after Montreal and that was a good time to really reassess a few things and try and bring the boys together and myself and really try and understand how we can move forward.
"That alone, and the fact that JEV had two really strong races, which showed the car had potential, gave me a lot of fire."
He added: "I like to think I always work hard away from the cockpit, but maybe I worked even harder.
"That was the real motivation to make me step up, the Red Bull thing was just a bit of icing!"