Ricciardo: Mercedes opening tempting but Red Bull a better future

Daniel Ricciardo remains confident that his decision to stay with Red Bull for the long term will pay off, despite the opening at the Mercedes F1 team after Nico Rosberg's retirement.

Ricciardo: Mercedes opening tempting but Red Bull a better future
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing at a team photograph
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12
Press conference: third position Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing testing the new 2017 Pirelli tyres
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
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The Australian joined Toro Rosso team back in 2012 before moving up to Red Bull Racing in 2014, when he took three victories.

After a difficult 2015, Ricciardo was a front-running contender again this year, taking one win in Malaysia on his way to third in the standings.

Ricciardo has a contract with Red Bull until the end of 2018, and says he still has confidence that the team will help him secure his first title.

The Australian concedes, however, that the Mercedes seat was tempting for every driver.

"I wouldn't be surprised if nearly everyone had been in contact with them [Mercedes]," Ricciardo told Motorsport.com.

"And like I said from the start, whoever ends up getting that seat, I think they should appreciate it very much because it's not every day someone gets that kind of opportunity.

"But I extended my contract with Red Bull having the confidence in them that I have. We'll see how it plays out.

"I've been asked who'll get the drive and I'm still not sure; I notice Bottas is emerging as a bit of a favorite, but we'll see.

"Whatever happens, I hope we'll be up there fighting with them and that Max [Verstappen] and I will be smiling that we've got long deals with Red Bull."

While Ricciardo has already established himself as one of the sport's leading drivers, he insists that the next couple of years will be crucial in determining how successful he will be.

"In a way, every year's important, but sure, the further your career goes on – and especially when I will be approaching my late 20s – it's an important period in my career," Ricciardo said.

"I feel I have already established myself, but to really dictate the next five years after that, I think it's a crucial time for me.

"I really want to get that world title, and if it happens with Red Bull, that's the ideal scenario; and if not, then this time is about trying to prepare for the next phase of your career after that."

Interview by David Malsher

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