Maybe it’s not a widely held belief, and to judge by looking at him, he might not think it himself, but Daniel Ricciardo is probably the unluckiest driver in the current F1 pantheon of drivers. His first season at Red Bull occurred at the dawn of the turbo-hybrid era and new regulations that Mercedes took advantage of more than any of its rivals.

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Before that, the Milton Keynes outfit was dominant, and their superstar driver Sebastian Vettel was the four-time world champion. Ricciardo wasn’t fazed. In his Red Bull debut season he clearly outperformed Vettel. If only the car had still been championship-winning material.

2018 competitiveness

Since then, Red Bull hasn’t been in the fight. However, Ricciardo’s 2017 Azeri Grand Prix win, along with numerous podium finishes, has germinated tentative optimism. Ricciardo thinks Red Bull is in a position to attack Formula 1 favourites Mercedes and Ferrari regularly in the new 2018 season.

“I feel there is a good intensity,” said the Australian, in a pre-season interview. Asked about any disparity between Red Bull and the two leading teams, Ricciardo said he believed that they were beatable as they were able to improve the car last year due to a lack of rule changes. He added that they should be able to “carry that over for this year and keep evolving.”

The team, so Ricciardo reports, is quietly confident and “not getting too excited”. With familiar modesty, he also plays down his personal prospects; his priority appears to be good preparation to get the most out of every race.

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A season highlight

A highlight of the coming season is surely Monaco – now of course a home Grand Prix for Daniel Ricciardo, who would count the Ermanno Palace as familiar landmark. It’s also a desirable location to watch the race – not an impossible dream when booking with the likes of But will anyone overlooking the streets of Monaco from the Ermanno Palace, or anywhere else, see a Daniel Ricciardo win?

One shouldn’t judge too much from the crash at a soaking wet Silverstone after the unveiling of the RB14. Red Bull said plans for Formula 1 pre-season testing remain on course.
The first race, of course, is Ricciardo’s other home Grand Prix, Australia; surely his luck will have changed by then.