Ricciardo eyes one last hurrah with Red Bull in Abu Dhabi
Daniel Ricciardo is set for an emotional farewell at Red Bull when he competes at the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It will be the Australian's 100th race with the Milton Keynes-based side as next season he is shifting base to Renault.
And Ricciardo is hoping to sign-off in style.
Ricciardo had a promising start at China and Monaco but the season fell apart with as many as eight non classifications, mostly due to engine failures. Red Bull runs on Renault-powered engines but has now opted for new partnership with Honda. In past few races starting with Russia and Japan, Honda has shown improvement and come across as more reliable.
Red Bull drivers, especially Ricciardo's season got marred by engine failures. However frosty relations with teammate Max Verstappen has seen Ricciardo join Renault on a two-year deal.
Ricciardo's talent in unquestionable and his appetite to win races can be gauged by the determined and aggressive overtaking done to gain spots.
Acknowledging such facets, former racer David Coulthard has pegged Ricciardo in the league of world champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. However, Ricciardo told Khaleej Times that it's too early for the title dreams and it will not come at Renault next season.
"Not next year. Realistically it will take 12 months. It's not easy," he said during a community event held in Abu Dhabi.
Ricciardo is excited about this new chapter in his career with Renault where he will partner Nico Hulkenberg.
"But I have got work to do. This is what I needed at this point in my career. I need some fresh start and motivation. I am looking forward to it."
He wants to part ways with Red Bull with a victory and a smile.
"This is a big weekend. This is 100th race with Red Bull and sounds perfect for a win. That would be awesome. After the race, for sure, there will be some form of emotion while leaving Red Bull and moving on. It's another chapter in my career. I still got work to do and finish off with Red Bull. I am looking forward to this weekend."
And Ricciardo is happy that his last race with Red Bull is in Abu Dhabi.
"I always liked this circuit. I have always done well here and have good record. I love the last part when you go through the hotel; it's a bit of novelty."
Reflecting back at his stint with Red Bull, he ranked this year's second race win at Monaco as his cherished moment. "The biggest one came this year, I think, Monaco. Winning that race was something I wanted to do for so long. I had come close. Even this year as well it came under very difficult circumstances and race wasn't easy. So it was certainly a big one. And second one is Budapest 2014."
Ricciardo is determined to add another favourite moment to the list with a podium finish on Sunday.