Ricciardo eyes future world title for Renault
"Honestly, I think I can"
Daniel Ricciardo calls life in the midfield "very intense".
The Australian left Red Bull at the end of last year to join the works Renault team, but insists he can be "patient" for success.
"It is intense and in some ways more difficult because I want to be at the front, but in others ways it is still fun. It’s not easy but it’s challenging," he told AS newspaper.
Ricciardo admits he misses the taste of champagne, but insists he doesn’t regret his decision to quit a top team.
"When I joined Red Bull it was a winning car, but in five years I won - what - seven races? Then I saw the risk that with Honda it would be another few years.
"It wasn’t bad, but maybe I was starting to get a little frustrated. It wasn’t because of the situation with Max.
"As I said, it was five years of thinking the next one would be the one, but doing the same thing all the time could have affected my motivation," he said.
"It was time to change and try to build something new.
"Renault is not there now, but I see a lot of potential. It was a short term sacrifice with a long term benefit," Ricciardo said in Baku.
He agrees that Max Verstappen can now be world champion for Red Bull, but Ricciardo also has ambitions of winning a title — wearing yellow.
"Honestly, I think I can," he said.
"It won’t be this year, but if we can take a step forward and start doing podiums, I can do it. If we stay seventh and eighth, it will still be a long way to go."
But Ricciardo says being a F1 driver often consists of making risky decisions.
"You get these very important times that can change your career," he said.
"For Fernando, I don’t know if it was the timing or maybe not the best decisions, but when Lewis went to Mercedes, people said ’why would he leave McLaren’ but it was an incredible move.
"I don’t know if it’s just luck, or anticipating what will happen in the next few years. But I hope for me it will also be something incredible," said Ricciardo.