Australian Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo says he’s ready to win in Singapore this weekend, with the made-for-Instagram Marina Bay Street Circuit presenting his best chance to win in the final seven races of the season.
The Red Bull racer has pulled out all the stops to ensure that he’s prepared, taking a 25-place grid penalty in Monza for an unforced gearbox change, a fifth engine and turbocharger and sixth MGU-H.
He finished the Italian Grand Prix fourth, after a storming drive through the field from 16th. His bold move on Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen into Turn 1 on Lap 41 was one to remember, the Australian diving down the inside from a long way back.
“At Singapore, I genuinely think we can certainly fight for the podium again, hopefully I get my first win there,” Ricciardo said.
“I’ve been knocking on the door for a few years there so yeah we’ll have a few more updates there as well. If they work as they should, then it should put us in a good position.”
Ricciardo came close to winning in Singapore last year, closing down Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg for the lead in the closing stages – but was unable to get past, finishing runner-up, just 0.488 seconds adrift, for his best-ever result there.
“Last year was cool to at least obviously keep the race going until the end and give everyone hope, that maybe I’ll get him,” Ricciardo said.
“But that was rewarding for me to be able to push that hard until the end and show that I wasn’t fading or anything. That was a bit of a testament to the work I put in before the race.”
Should Ricciardo take victory at the milestone 10th edition of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix later this month, he will become just the fifth driver to do so after Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Rosberg.
He’ll also have no shortage of ways to celebrate, with the event’s entertainment line-up featuring global DJ sensation Calvin Harris and The Chainsmokers among a host of international stars.
“I’ve seen Calvin Harris a few times in Las Vegas, actually, that’s been good fun. He normally does well,” Ricciardo said.
“The Chainsmokers have obviously blown up in popularity the last year to 18 months. I haven’t seen them yet, though.”
The Australian is focused on a much stronger second half of the season, despite a win in Azerbaijan and five additional podiums from the first 13 races – and says the team must not carry its slow start into 2018.
This year, despite the new technical regulations suiting its strength in aerodynamics, the squad suffered from a wind tunnel calibration error that held it back – hampering development of the car until June.
“I think our biggest thing the last few years has been we haven’t started strong enough, for whatever reason.
“So that will play a big role into our overall performance next year and, if we’ve got a chance for a championship, is where can we need to be in February and March.
“Hopefully we keep learning the rest of this year and put that to good use for next year’s car, because that’s where we’ve lost out a lot this year. We’re going to try and get on top of that.”