Motor racing: Ricciardo gets into top gear for F1 title battle

Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:07am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

MILTON KEYNES, England (Reuters) - Daniel Ricciardo reckons he can take one title off Lewis Hamilton this year -- and mount a proper crack at the Briton's Formula One crown as well -- after being best of the rest to Mercedes in 2014.

The smiling Australian is set to appear on the popular Top Gear television program's 'star in a reasonably priced car' competition next month, with double world champion Hamilton setting the lap record two years ago in a Suzuki Liana.

"It's been a while since I've heard people say 'When are you going to go on Top Gear?", the Red Bull driver told reporters on Tuesday after taking part in a team event on an indoor ski slope.

"So the time has come...I believe Lewis has got the crown at the moment so it would be nice to take at least one title off him," he grinned.

Whether he can take the more meaningful one remains to be seen, with Mercedes winning 16 of 19 races last year and again the team to beat, but Ricciardo will try his best.

The only driver other than Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to win in 2014, and now the main man at the former champions following Sebastian Vettel's departure to Ferrari, the Perth-born driver hoped Red Bull could close the gap.

Asked for his main aim in the season starting in Melbourne on March 15, he replied: "Win more races and hopefully more results in a title fight, a proper one.

"I was hanging on by a string last year for a bit, but a realistic one this year would be good."   Continued...

Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia sits in the car at the pit during the first practice session of the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi November 21, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah