If Daniel Ricciardo is going to win this year’s Formula One world championship, something good needs to come of the next two races.
Perhaps it is fortuitous then, according to the Australian, that Singapore and Suzuka are the two tracks which suit his Red Bull best.
The 25-year-old sits third in the overall drivers’ standings – 72 points adrift of Mercedes’ runaway leader Nico Rosberg and 50 behind Lewis Hamilton.
While Ricciardo said he expects Mercedes to be strong at every circuit for the rest of the year, the question is: can he be as quick as them?
“I think Singapore and Suzuka are our two best shots at that,” he said ahead of Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix. “Maybe we can actually get a pole and win at one of those.”
With double points on offer at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Ricciardo believes a differential of less than 50 points would keep him within reach of the championship.
“But the approach is still race-by-race,” he said.
“I’m aware the title is distant.
“All it takes is a couple of wins and a couple of bad races for the championship leader, and all of a sudden everything’s possible again. So let’s see what happens.”
Ricciardo’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel has won the last three grands prix at Singapore, but remains winless this season.
Ricciardo, who scored victories in Canada, Hungary and Belgium, is relishing the chance to navigate the “grit and grime” that comes with driving on a public road in what is the only race on the calendar run completely at night.
“It means you’re in for a slithery, bumpy weekend – which I love,” he said.
“The important thing in Singapore is to not get caught chasing the set-up on a Friday (during practice).
“The track is going to evolve – you’ve just got to be patient and let it happen without constantly tweaking your car, trying to hit a moving target.
“It’s one of those races where you’re never completely satisfied with the amount of preparation that you do.”