Ricciardo needs more than race wins to challenge

Date published: June 5 2018 - Editor

From being “still on the outside” to “chasing down the championship leaders”, even Daniel Ricciardo isn’t sure about his title credentials for 2018.

With two races wins in the bag, the Red Bull driver is equal on terms with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel – and yet he still trails Hamilton by 38 points in the race for the World title.

The reason for that is the grands prix they don’t win.

While Hamilton has finished three of those inside the top-three, Ricciardo has yet to stand on the rostrum in a grand prix that he hasn’t won.

A P4, a P5 and two retirements account for the Aussie’s deficit.

He was asked about his title chances after his Monaco win where he conceded he needs another race win before the summer break to even be considered a contender.

“We’ll try to get a few more podiums but we’ve got to probably prove on at least one other circuit before the summer break that we can win again,” he said.

“Then maybe we’re a nice little outside chance.”

But if those podiums are only coming through race wins, Ricciardo faces an uphill battle chasing down Hamilton.

A more reliable RB14 would also help.

Ricciardo is the only one of the top-three drivers in the standings to record a DNF, and he has two – one because of electrics and another because of a crash.

He is, however, already knocking on the door of grid penalties.

He is one change away from the limit on engines, turbochargers and MGU-Hs and is already there for the MGU-K, control electronics and the energy store.

This is causing a headache for Red Bull and engine supplier Renault as while they have an upgrade coming in Canada, if Ricciardo gets the full package, he will also get penalties.

In sharp contrast Hamilton is still using the same power unit elements that he started the season on while Vettel is also on his first for all the elements except the control electronics.

The stars it seems are once again aligning against Ricciardo and a first World title.

Michelle Foster