Ricciardo’s clear Red Bull threat
DANIEL Ricciardo has warned his sensational Chinese GP win will not in isolation be enough for him to sign a new contract at Red Bull.
The Australian, out of contract at the end of the season, did his negotiating position no harm by claiming Red Bull's first win of the season after taking advantage of their change of strategy under the Safety Car to overtake five drivers in the space of nine laps.
Red Bull chief Christian Horner said after his driver's victory: "If we can give him a car like we did today, why would he want to be anywhere else?"
But Ricciardo, who turns 29 in July and has said on several occasions he feels ready to win a world championship, said he needs the Shanghai result to be the rule rather than the exception.
"I want to be with the best car because I think the weekend proved that if I got the opportunity I can pull it off, I can handle that pressure and that intensity," Ricciardo told Channel 10.
"If we can win a few more now with Red Bull, then that looks very attractive. If not, then I guess there's probably other options.
"Obviously the win helps but if we were finishing sixth every race this year, then that's not the most attractive option to me."
Ricciardo is the only driver in history to win the first six grands prix of his career when starting outside the top three on the grid, but has only once claimed more than one win in a single season (2014) in his five years at Red Bull.
However, Red Bull's previous opening victories in the current hybrid turbo engine era have never before been achieved before the fifth round.
With teammate Max Verstappen last year extending his Red Bull contract to 2020, Red Bull already have one race-winning driver on their books for next season but have made clear their determination to hold on to Ricciardo too.
Team adviser Helmut Marko told Sky Sports News during winter testing that they had "agreed with him a deadline" to decide on whether or not Ricciardo would sign a deal for 2019.
With the futures of Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen at Mercedes and Ferrari respectively uncertain beyond the end of this season, Ricciardo's situation is likely to be monitored by both of Red Bull's biggest rivals.
Speaking after Sunday's race, Horner questioned Ferrari's use of Raikkonen after they extended the Finn's first stint in an apparent attempt to help teammate Sebastian Vettel's race.
"If you look at Kimi's race, I didn't understand that strategy," added Horner. "I think Daniel's happy in the environment."
MAX NEEDS TO KEEP THE FAITH
Max Verstappen should not shed his attacking style despite incidents in all three races so far in 2018, according to some F1 experts.
The Red Bull driver has endured a torrid start to the season with a costly spin in Australia followed by a clash with Lewis Hamilton at the start in Bahrain, and then a collision with Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages of last Sunday's Chinese GP.
But speaking on the latest edition of the Sky Sports F1 Report, guests Marc Priestley and Red Bull junior driver Dan Ticktum cautioned against harsh criticism of the Dutchman.
"You've got to look back at the season at the end and say did it happen all season or was it just two races that happened to be next to each other?" said Priestley, a former McLaren mechanic.
"I don't want him calming down. He's a bit wild, he's a bit aggressive, but that's why we love Max.
"If you look back at all the incidents that went well for him in the last three years since he came into the sport, he's been the highlight of F1.
"He and Lewis Hamilton you could argue have been the two standout characters and the most exciting drivers and we don't want to temper that. I don't want them to go away from China with the whole world pointing fingers saying 'you need to back off' because he'll have it in his mind."
Verstappen accepted fault for the late-race incident with Vettel and described it as "life lesson", although said he does not believe he necessary has to "calm down" his driving.
"I agree with him, I don't think he should," said Ticktum, who is currently on the same Red Bull junior program which Verstappen joined in 2014 before almost immediately being promoted to F1 aged 17.
"What's very good to see is how quick he was to get out of the car and go and apologise to Sebastian.
"The professionalism is definitely there, I just think maybe he sometimes needs to be slightly less desperate."