Horner sees no rea­son for Ric­cia­rdo to go

Bangkok Post - - SPORTS -

SHANG­HAI: Red Bull hope they can con­vince Daniel Ric­cia­rdo to stay with them af­ter giv­ing the Aus­tralian a win­ning car in Sun­day’s Chi­nese Grand Prix.

The vic­tory, from sixth on the start­ing grid, was a morale-booster for the 28-yearold af­ter a frus­trat­ing start to the sea­son and comes as he is de­cid­ing his next ca­reer move.

Out of con­tract at the end of the year, Ric­cia­rdo has been linked in me­dia spec­u­la­tion to Fer­rari and For­mula One cham­pi­ons Mercedes.

“I think Daniel’s happy in the en­vi­ron­ment. If we can give him a car like we did to­day, why would he want to be any­where else?,” Red Bull team boss Chris­tian Horner said.

“He had the en­ergy store fail­ure in Bahrain, he had a turbo fail­ure here yes­ter­day, los­ing him im­por­tant track time,” recog­nised the Bri­ton.

“You get to a point where you think ‘what next?’. But it’s a great con­fi­dence booster for him, to get this re­sult now in this point in the year. Ev­ery­thing is wide open.”

Mercedes, the dom­i­nant team in For­mula One for the past four sea­sons, have yet to win in three races.

Fer­rari won in Aus­tralia and Bahrain with four-times cham­pion Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, who may not rel­ish the prospect of his for­mer Red Bull team­mate join­ing him at Maranello.

Red Bull’s fu­ture en­gine part­ner re­mains un­cer­tain, how­ever, with the team mulling whether to con­tinue with Re­nault or switch to the Honda units now be­ing used by the en­ergy drink com­pany’s Toro Rosso out­fit.

The Honda en­gine, while seem­ingly much im­proved this year af­ter three years of fail­ure in the back of a McLaren, re­mains be­hind ri­vals on power.

Red Bull have made clear since last year that they want Ric­cia­rdo to stay along­side 20-year-old Dutch driver Max Ver­stap­pen, a hot prospect whose race on Sun­day was marred by need­less over­tak­ing er­rors.

“He’s a very rounded driver now. He’s ab­so­lutely at the top of his game and I think he has been for the last cou­ple of years,” Horner said of the Aus­tralian.

“He’s hit that bal­ance of ex­pe­ri­ence and pace. He’s one of the best over­tak­ers in the busi­ness and his judge­ment is im­pec­ca­ble in terms of judg­ing a gap.

“I feel he’s in a dif­fer­ent part of his ca­reer to where Max is at the mo­ment, who is still very young and fresh and go­ing through that ex­pe­ri­ence.”

AFP

Red Bull’s Daniel Ric­cia­rdo drinks cham­pagne out of his shoe in Shang­hai.

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