• Daniel Ricciardo Q&A

'I'm just a beast waiting to be let out of the cage'

ESPN Staff
June 29, 2013
Daniel Ricciardo: "I think I've attacked and defended now on a few occasions and shown that, given the equipment, I'm the man" © Getty Images
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On Friday night at Silverstone, Daniel Ricciardo talked to the media about why he should be a Red Bull driver, the threat from Kimi Raikkonen and his relationship with Helmut Marko

Daniel, you tell me why you think you should have Mark's drive rather than Jean-Eric Vergne.
I'm just a beast! I'm just an animal! And I'm just waiting to be let out of that cage! [laughs] Mate, unfortunately the last two races don't support my stance too well, but it's not like I've forgotten how to drive. Unfortunately racing circumstances take a part and things need to go well along with the driving. I've tested a few times with them [Red Bull] and I think they know I'm fast and have got some talent. I've proven I can race as well. Last year I had a few shakier moments that maybe raised some concerns for some of the guys that were watching me but maybe I wasn't really able to step up in terms of racing. But I think I've attacked and defended now on a few occasions and shown that, given the equipment, I'm the man.

So give us a forecast, world champion in 2015 or 2016?
What about 2014?

Good answer.

Christian Horner has said that realistically the Red Bull seat is between you, Jean-Eric and Kimi Raikkonen, does that put any extra pressure on proceedings this weekend?
Not really, to be honest. I guess I said to myself that if I was to have a really strong year and produce some really heavy performances, which unfortunately I haven't done to my expectations yet, then it should hopefully line me up well. Let's say that if I was to win the race this weekend I'd probably sign the contract on Sunday night so I think it's in my hands. It's nice to know there's not a long list of drivers, but we've all got the power to try and do it and that's why I've got to step up as well.

It would be quite timely to have a good weekend because you made your debut here...
It would be a nice two year anniversary, it would be sweet. We generally had pace in the dry [during Friday practice] and in the wet I'm sure we were pretty good, but I think the rest of the weekend's looking dry now. The long runs we have still got some work to do on, but a podium might not be as far-fetched as it seemed. We'll see on Sunday.

Have you spoken to Mark?
Briefly on the way to the drivers' briefing, but not about his decision or anything. What do I say, obviously I would compliment him on the career he has had but I don't know what else to say beyond that. I'm not going to tell him he shouldn't reply or that it's the right time; that's his decision. All I can do is congratulate him on the career he's had.

Daniel Ricciardo gets on well with Dietrich Mateschitz's advisor Helmut Marko © Getty Images

Helmet Marko is a pretty influential guy in these decisions, what's your relationship with him like? How do you relate to him, because it seems that not everybody does relate to him that well...
A lot of people see him as an intimidating man and he was when I first signed up on the Red Bull junior programme and I was young as well. Yeah, it was intimidating when the phone would ring and his name would pop up ... put it this way, you felt a bit more at ease if it said your mum or your dad and not Dr. Marko! Over time you understand how he works and that's just how he is. He's hungry and he wants the success because he's a bit past that [in his own driving career]! We're in there and he's trying to give us the best opportunity we can have, and with that he expects results. As the years have gone on our relationship is easier from my side. I'm happy to talk to him now and I don't feel so intimidated.

Do you feel like he's in your corner?
In terms of that sort of stuff I have no idea. He's kept me for a while so I don't think he has anything against me. But you've always got to be on your toes and get the results to make sure he's happy. I don't think he has anything in for me in a negative way, no.

If Red Bull chooses Kimi, does that defeat the purpose of having Toro Rosso as a team?
I don't think it defeats the purpose. If they were to choose Kimi it would be because he's the guy that deserves the seat the most. It would probably be because maybe Jean-Eric and I were there or there abouts but not really showing something to a world champion class. Maybe then they would go with Kimi. But I think ideally they want to see one of us step up and really show that we can take charge. I think they want to choose someone from Toro Rosso, it's just whether we provide them with that reason, otherwise they will probably resort to Kimi. Although when I say resort, I'm not putting him down on any level, he's a class driver, but ideally they'd like the programme to continue as it is.

It is your two-year anniversary in Formula One at this race, that's not a huge amount of time to seriously think about stepping up to a world championship team...
It's not that much time, but then again I tested a Red Bull F1 car back in 2009 so I've been around the environment now for much longer than two years. It's similar to what Seb [Vettel] did in a way. He was reserve driver for a bit, did some testing and then raced for Toro Rosso and stepped up to Red Bull. He was winning races soon after he got into F1 so it's not something that no-one has done before. I wouldn't see it as a hindrance.