Daniel Ricciardo is hoping Red Bull will do all they can to help his unlikely bid for this year’s Formula One world championship.
But, right now, team boss Christian Horner sees no reason to lean their efforts towards him – and away from Sebastian Vettel – for the season’s last six races.
Ricciardo produced another standout drive at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday, recovering from a poor qualifying and start to cross the line in fifth.
Mercedes’ duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg dominated for a one-two finish, with Williams pair Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas third and fourth respectively.
The result keeps the Australian in third on the overall standings, 72 points behind title leader Rosberg.
“It was good fun,” said Ricciardo, who won the last two grands prix in Hungary and Belgium.
“The start was not planned, but we recovered well and kept a cool head.
“The race really came to life at the end and the overtaking kept me smiling in the car.”
Differing strategies had Ricciardo on fresher tyres than Vettel in the closing stages, allowing him to pass the four-time world champion and relegate him to sixth place.
It was the 10th time in this year’s 13 grands prix Ricciardo has outperformed his teammate.
“My lead is around 60 points over Seb,” he said.
“I would love to be quicker on merit and not need team orders, but the next couple of tracks are perfect for us – so if we need to make any decisions, and if we can challenge Mercedes for the title, then I am sure they will be made.”
Horner acknowledged Vettel had endured a difficult season and that Ricciardo was driving “incredibly well”, but favouring one over the other with the view of stealing the championship from rivals Mercedes was not on his mind.
“We’ll let them race as we trust them,” Horner told Formula1.com.
“They race each other hard but extremely fairly.
“The points difference between Daniel and the two Mercedes is enormous, so it does not make any sense for us to interfere.”
The next stop is Singapore.