Keeping Track #38: Ricciardo itching to race in Melbourne

P-20150201-00105_HiRes JPEG 24bit RGBAustralian Formula One ace Daniel Ricciardo can’t wait to kick off his second year with Red Bull Racing at Albert Park, with the 2015 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix set to open the new season in 32 days’ time.

Ricciardo, 25, finished second in Melbourne 12 months ago before being disqualified after the race for a technical infringement, but used the standout showing in his home race as a springboard to a superb year that featured three victories and a third-place finish in the world championship.

Speaking to the ‘Keeping Track’ podcast, Ricciardo is itching to get back behind the wheel to make amends for last year’s disappointment at home.

“I’m hanging out to race – four weeks can’t come soon enough,” he said.

“Last year, coming into it, there was less expectation after our pre-season; this year it’s a bit more exciting knowing that if we’ve got the car on Sunday, then I believe I can get it far up the grid.”

Ricciardo and Red Bull began their pre-season preparations last week with a four-day test at Jerez in the south of Spain, where his former teammate Sebastian Vettel caught the eye with a strong showing for Ferrari, and Mercedes showed ominous pace after dominating the sport last year.

The Australian says Mercedes’ form came as no surprise, but was less certain of Ferrari’s potential off the back of its worst season in two decades last year.

“At the first test you worry about yourself, but of course we’re aware of the laps Mercedes did and the lap time Ferrari put down,” he said.

“We expect nothing less of Mercedes to be honest, but Ferrari look like they came out pretty strong. For now they look good, but it’s still early, and are they going to be the same once we’re racing in race conditions?

“For us, it was a lot better than last year, but we’re still trying to find our feet. But we know we have time on our side, and we’re pretty quick at turning it around.”

Ricciardo also spoke about Red Bull’s striking camouflage livery at Jerez, his respect for two-time world champion and new McLaren signing Fernando Alonso, and his recent appearance on TV show Top Gear in the UK.

Listen here – and leave your feedback.

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