- Red Bull
Ricciardo aims to keep 'nose in the fight'
Daniel Ricciardo says he will be ready to pounce in the drivers' championship if Mercedes continue to slip up this season.
Conventional wisdom puts Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in a two-way fight for the championship, but after winning Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix Ricciardo is 71 points behind Rosberg. Mercedes' performance advantage should see its two drivers pull even further clear, but if Ricciardo can continue to take advantage of their mistakes and misfortune then he may arrive at the final round within the 50 points on offer for a win in Abu Dhabi.
"When maybe some of us say it's over, I think it's just purely looking at the performance of Mercedes," Ricciardo said. "On a normal weekend with normal conditions on pretty much all circuits, they've been dominant. I think days like today [Sunday], with some changing conditions, some safety cars, it helps us keep our nose in the fight.
"I think Seb [Vettel] is right in saying that until it's mathematically over it isn't. If you look at today, I closed in on the championship but realistically we're still a long way off.
"It doesn't really change the approach in any case. If we're in it or not, we still race for the highest position possible and obviously as we saw today, the win was there for grabs and we took it. In any case, I don't think it changes the approach for Sundays.
"I think with the Abu Dhabi system they've applied this year, it's still going to be pretty open until late on in the season. We'll just keep doing what we can."
Although Ricciardo's victory drive was built on a well-timed safety car in Hungary, he said the win gives him hope for when racing resumes at the end of August in Belgium.
"I think today obviously the mixed conditions and the safety cars maybe helped out this order in terms of having three different manufacturers up here but I would like to think that it can create something for the second half. I think that in pure dry conditions, Mercedes still have a pretty significant edge on everyone else.
"Spa, it's a pretty good place to start the second half of the year. Maybe the weather and the changes they have there could create something exciting but forgetting all the stats, obviously this is a great thing to see today: three teams, three manufacturers all up here. It's refreshing, for sure."