I want to win the big trophy

, SPECIAL

Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo is all set to compete in Bahrain next month. Here he talks about his sole victory in his last campaign in Baku, Azerbaijan and his plans for the new season of Formula 1

Daniel Ricciardo is often considered one of the most outgoing and effusive drivers on the Formula 1 grid. He could also prove to be one of Lewis Hamilton’s biggest threats – even if Red Bull’s reliability issues still need to be addressed if they have title hopes in 2018.

The 28-year old admitted during the off-season break that he was in no rush to solve his on-going contract dilemmas – with his current deal with Christian Horner’s team set to end later this year. But whilst he ponders his Red Bull future alongside his young teammate Max Verstappen, he reveals there’s one target that hasn’t changed.

“Next year I want to be sitting here with a big trophy, the biggest one we can get,” said Ricciardo.“That’s my target. I hope we can be in a position to finally fight. We’ve been in a position to win races but never enough to win the title so that’s what I want.”

A fine performance

The highlight of Ricciardo’s 2017 campaign came at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as he took the flag with a remarkable recovery drive, after a lowly grid position and having dropped to 17th at one point in the race. It might even be described as one of the most remarkable comebacks in recent Formula 1 history – and it’s not one Ricciardo will forget anytime soon.

“For me the race was even more chaotic because I thought it was over after five laps,” explained the Perth-born athlete.“We had a break problem so I came coasting into the pits and I was ready to take my gloves off because I thought it was over.

“We had a break problem a few races earlier in Russia so it wasn’t unfamiliar for us at that point in the season. Two hours later I won the race. Seb [Sebastian Vettel] and Lewis [Lewis Hamilton] had their altercation, Seb gets a penalty and Lewis’ head-rest comes loose. He added: “It was a fiction Formula 1 race. If you gave it to Hollywood and asked them to write a plot for a race, that’s more or less what they would have come up with.”

Bahrain Grand Prix

This year the 2018 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir will be held from April 6-8. The Azerbaijan Grand Prix has been switched to the slot previously held by the Russian Grand Prix on April 29.

Located at Sakhir, 30 km south-west of the island’s capital, Manama, the Hermann Tilke designed circuit contains no less than five track layouts within one complex.

The Sakhir event will mark the second of 21 rounds on the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, following the season-opening meeting in Australia. The 2017 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix saw a record crowd of 33,000 on race day and 93,000 over the weekend, with the Main Grandstand, Paddock Club and corporate boxes all sold out for the first time ever. Looking at the popularity of Formula 1 in the Middle East, it is expected that the 2018 edition would have a greater turnout.

After last season’s inspiring victory, an incident-filled race, road rage on the track and a war of words off it (between Hamilton and title rival Vettel) Ricciardo says he is particularly looking forward to the 2018 edition.

Words: Claire Bloomfield

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