Jones: Dan a future title contender

Tuesday 29-July-2014 15:22

The praise continues to roll in for Daniel Ricciardo following another brilliant display at the Hungarian GP.

Despite being in his first season at Red Bull, Ricciardo has so far outperformed four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel and he once again proved in Budapest over the weekend that he can consistently mix it with the best as he came from fifth on the grid to win.

Two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso, who finished second in Hungary, believes the Australian is doing a "fantastic job this year" while Lewis Hamilton, who was third, said he's "not only one of the nicest guys in the paddock but also one of the best drivers".

Now 1980 World Champion Alan Jones, the last Australian to win the title, feels his compatriot can challenge for the Championship in future if he is handed the right machinery.

"He's a contender, there's no doubt about it," he told Reuters in a phone interview.

"He's not a contender this year obviously because Mercedes have got the jump on everyone. Get him a good car next year. If you put that (Mercedes engine) in that bloody Red Bull, he would be a contender.

"Or get him a Mercedes, because he's proven he can qualify consistently in the top four. He can run up there with the best of them. He doesn't pile up the road or have any accidents."

Ricciardo's Hungary success came on the back of brilliant overtaking moves on both Alonso and Hamilton during the final few laps.

"I think Daniel's drive was exemplary," Jones said. "He did a really super job in looking after his tyres, displayed a lot of maturity and I think he's well and truly cemented himself in the team now.

He added: "Daniel took a fantastic overtaking manoeuvre on [Alonso] to get the job done

"There was some speculation that in Canada that he got it handed to him to a certain degree but this one he well and truly earned. He just drove really well."

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