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Mark Webber: "Daniel Ricciardo is faster than I ever was in Formula 1"

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Mark Webber: "Daniel Ricciardo is faster than I ever was in Formula 1"
Mar 14, 2016, 12:41 PM

Mark Webber has described Daniel Ricciardo as “faster than I ever was” and believes that his countryman is a future Formula 1 world champion.

Mark Webber has described Daniel Ricciardo as “faster than I ever was” and believes that his countryman is a future Formula 1 world champion.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, Webber told CNN that Ricciardo, his replacement at Red Bull, now has the F1 experience to seize any chance of an F1 world title.

He said: "He's incredibly quick. He's got now a lot of experience so he's now one of the most experienced guys at the front pushing for victories and pushing for championships.

Mark Webber Daniel Ricciardo

“He's definitely got championships in him in the future, and if he gets the right scenario on his doorstep, he'll capture that I'm sure."

“He's quicker and faster than I ever was. So he's in good shape there and has a good chance to do well and continue to fly the flag for more Aussies coming over."

Webber, who won nine F1 races during a 12-year F1 career that included stints with Minardi, Jaguar, Williams and Red Bull, described the difficulties he and other Australian drivers faced to compete in the category.

Mark Webber Daniel Ricciardo

He said: "For us to come through and get into Formula 1 as Australians, we know the strike rate is incredibly low. Even to get points and podiums was really, really hard. Even to arrive in Formula 1 and keep a long-term contract was difficult for Australians."

"To have such a quick turnover and have Daniel in my slipstream, if you like, now competing, we're in good hands."

After replacing Webber at Red Bull following two years racing for its junior squad, Toro Rosso, Ricciardo won three races during the 2014 season and finished third in the driver’s standings, two places above his then teammate Sebastian Vettel, before the four-times world champion departed for Ferrari.

Daniel Ricciardo Canada 2014

The challenges Red Bull faced with its Renault power unit, as well the highly publicised dispute between the two companies that occurred as a result, meant the squad did not win a race in 2015.

But Ricciardo believes the team is better prepared heading into the first race of the season than it was this time last year, and the Australian driver is looking forward to returning to action in front of his home crowd in Melbourne.

He said: “Testing’s been a lot better for us this year. You still don’t really know where you are until you get to Melbourne, but we’re better prepared than we were this time last year so we can use that as some confidence

“Me personally, I’m ready to go – I was ready in January and I’m still ready now. Just keen for those lights to go out and to get racing! I think everyone’s excited to get going, but even if the race was elsewhere I think there’s no one more excited than me to go racing, period.

Daniel Ricciardo

“The fact that it’s in Oz and I’m going to have more supporters than anyone else, hell yeah I’m excited. In fact, I’m going to have to control my adrenaline because there’s a long build up over the weekend.

“Sunday’s cool, it’s probably the quietest day of the week for us in terms of other obligations so it’s really time to just focus on the race.

“[But] when I’m on the grid on Sunday, it’ll just be full focus, full determination, knowing that I’ve got a battle on my hands the next hour and a half, a battle I’ll look forward to.”

Mark Webber

After leaving Red Bull and F1 at the end of the 2013 season, Webber has since gone on to win the World Endurance Championship with Porsche.

But when talking about his often-difficult relationship with Vettel during their own time as teammates at Red Bull, the 39-year-old reckons the German was simply slightly better at combining the strengths required to winning an F1 title.

He said: “[Vettel] was just that notch stronger than me when it came to pulling it all together. I think that first championship was very, very important, which I took right to that last race. But after that it was very hard for me to get going."

Mark Webber Sebastian Vettel

What do you make of Webber’s thoughts on Ricciardo? Do you see the Red Bull racer as a future F1 world champion? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Daniel Ricciardo Shop Now