Ricciardo's cheeky call cracks up F1 champs

Daniel Ricciardo's 2017 Formula One season hasn't gone to plan but he is looking on the bright side at the Abu Dhabi finale.

Ruing the deficiencies that have prevented him from meeting his expectations, the Australian Red Bull driver rates his year as good, not great, amid a career-best nine podiums and engine problems.

His humour remains intact, however.

Sitting alongside this year's champion Lewis Hamilton and four-time winner Sebastian Vettel, Ricciardo was quizzed on how he can impact the 2018 championship battle from the get-go in Melbourne.

"For me, it's just to assess the year once it's all settled and then just try to understand what I could have improved," he told reporters.

"I'm sure there's on-track stuff but also off track. Obviously I give every year a good crack, but give next year a proper crack.

"Between us all we've got eight world titles, so it's pretty good. Obviously we want nine, so, uh, yeah."

The two drivers did their best to hold in some laughter. Pic: F1

With Hamilton and Vettel enjoying the joke and many media members laughing out loud, Ricciardo cooled down to conclude his answer.

"No, it's cool. I've been pretty pleased with the year," he added.

"I've still got some improvements to make and I'm looking forward to extracting a bit more out of myself."

Ricciardo, whose sole race win came in Baku in June, is fighting to hang onto fourth in the drivers' championship and wants a win for confidence heading into the break.

His prospects for Abu Dhabi are shaky having received grid penalties in the last two races for his team replacing parts in his car's Renault engine.

He rates Yas Marina one of his favourite tracks but has never reached the podium there, with his best showing a fourth in 2014.

"When you have so much time away from the car in the off-season it helps to sign off with a strong result as it makes you feel like you really deserve a break," he told the Red Bull Racing website.

"I think we should have a strong car in Abu Dhabi.

"I want another win before the season is out and I think we have a decent chance of achieving that."

with AAP