Ricciardo urges strong start

04 December 2017 01:30:23 GMTPlus10

Daniel Ricciardo says that Red Bull have to start the 2018 season far stronger than this year if they are to compete for titles.

Ricciardo finished fifth in the drivers' standings with team-mate Max Verstappen sixth but both struggled in the opening races enabling Mercedes and Ferrari to establish a commanding lead.

At the beginning of the season, we were too far behind Mercedes and Ferrari.

Daniel Ricciardo

That continued throughout the season, Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes winning the title with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel second.

While they got off to a good start, by contrast, Ricciardo was forced to retire from the first and fourth races with Verstappen forced out of five of the first nine.

Red Bull improved throughout the year and both drivers won races; Ricciardo in Azerbaijan and Verstappen in Malaysia and Monaco.

However by then the title was already destined for either Mercedes or Ferrari so Ricciardo says it is so important to start strongly in 2018.

He said, at a media event in Baku: "What we need to do for next year to have a chance is that we need to start the season stronger. That's where we lost a lot of our momentum this year.

"At the beginning of the season, we were too far behind Mercedes and Ferrari. We made a lot of progress, which was really good, so we need to continue that momentum."

The Australian, who is out of contract with Red Bull at the end of next season, says the disappointment of how the year went is compounded by the fact he thought they had a real chance of competing with Mercedes.

"We thought this year would be a chance for us to really challenge them. We challenged them some races but not enough to fight for the title," he added.

"In the end myself and Max were fifth and sixth in the championship. We didn't come near to what we wanted."

Ricciardo is 201.00 to win the 2018 drivers' title with Hamilton 1.57 to win again and Vettel priced at 2.37.

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