Daniel Ricciardo has revealed that his confidence is at an all time high at the moment, and not because of his latest win in Malaysia.
The Australian benefited from an engine blow-out from Lewis Hamilton two weekends ago in Sepang, which resulted in him claiming his first victory of 2016, while his team-mate Max Verstappen crossed the chequered flag P2.
However, at the recently concluded Japan Grand Prix, Ricciardo failed join Verstappen on the podium, but insisted that he is feeling good going into the last four races of the season.
“I’ve definitely felt ‘on’ lately, and that’s not just because of Malaysia,” he told Red Bull’s official website.
“It’s sometimes hard to get a handle on a driver’s form in F1 – it’s not like, say, tennis, where if someone’s in a groove serving or nailing their passing shots, then that’s pretty obvious for the people watching.
“As a driver, you can feel like you’re in a good space and the car isn’t up to it, or the other way around is also true. All this year, I’ve felt pretty good, and that’s definitely ramped up lately. I’m in a good place out of the car, feel fit, and my confidence is up.
“The car has made some great progress, the momentum has risen and there’s been a good run of podiums lately. Max has given the team a push too, there’s no denying that.”
However, despite sitting on third on the Drivers’ Championship table behind the two Silver Arrow drivers, Ricciardo reckons that his feet remain firm on the ground and he will not get too carried away with his win in Malaysia.
“Winning again after a long drought didn’t change my confidence or self-belief – with both of those things, I think they’re at a level where they needed to be even before the win,” he said.
“You don’t want those things to go too crazy – I think you can end up getting a bit complacent if that happens. But the win felt good and in a way, was a bit of a relief.
“My confidence has been at a solid level for a while now and that’s helping me, so I won’t change my approach just because of a win.
“It felt different (and pretty cool) coming to Suzuka as the guy who’d won the most recent race, but as soon as I got in the car in Japan, it was straight back to business.”