Focus on Verstappen not future, Webber urges Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo should focus on beating Max Verstappen this year rather than worrying about which team he'll drive for in 2019, according to former Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber.

Focus on Verstappen not future, Webber urges Ricciardo
 Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Mark Webber, TV Pundit, Channel 4 F1, interviews third place Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, on the podium
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing at the Red Bull Racing team photo
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, Helmut Markko, Consultant, Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing

Ricciardo is currently at a career crossroad of sorts, with his current RBR deal set to expire at the end of this season and potential openings at Mercedes and Ferrari for 2019.

While Ricciardo admits there's an element of pressure about getting his next move right, fellow Aussie Mark Webber reckons he should take his focus off which team he wants to sign for until the middle of the season.

Webber says Ricciardo should instead focus solely on beating Verstappen, and let that determine what's on the table for '19.

"I think the best thing he can do is beat Max," said Webber during a trip to the Bathurst 12 Hour with Porsche. "Which he knows, and he's going to do his best to do that.

"He wants to try and have a crack at that for five or six months, then look at the options. I don't think Mercedes will be rushing to make a decision either; they're going to keep a good eye on Valtteri [Bottas] and see how he's performing, probably until Canada. That's like dog's balls – everyone can see that coming.

"There's an obvious link – they're both out of contract, he's a top-flight driver, and there's a chance for a switch.

"But if he's beating Max and Red Bull are flying againn, why would he leave?

"At the end of the day, I don't think Dan's too bothered what colour the car is. He just wants to win. That's what he's aiming to do, and it's hard to win consistently. They don't hand them out.

"He's totally capable of it, but he's just got to find himself in a position where he can get that opportunity."

Ricciardo can rise above Red Bull politics

Having been caught in the middle of a bitter political feud with Sebastian Vettel during his own Red Bull career, Webber is confident that there's no danger of Ricciardo falling into a similar trap.

Webber says the fact that Ricciardo is a genuine product of the Red Bull system means he can be sure of full support from Helmut Marko, despite Verstappen's early recommitment to RBR.

"Red Bull will support the guy that's leading the championship and doing the business," added Webber.

"If that's Daniel, I reckon he's still in great shape there, to be honest. Because he is a Red Bull product.

"I don't think Helmut would be disappointed to see Daniel as World Champion, but he loves Max as well. They're both his favourite guys.

"And where does Carlos [Sainz] fit in all of that? He loves Carlos as well. That's a question for Helmut."

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