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Formula 1

"With Red Bull, it was me who started to feel frustrated"

Daniel Ricciardo talked to AS ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix about the Formula 1 season ahead, time with Renault and rivalry between the drivers.

BakúUpdate:
Daniel Ricciardo, en Azerbaiyán.
Mark Thompson

Daniel Ricciardo delivers a warm smile as he responds to every question. The 29-year-old driver is well respected in the paddock and now looks forward to the 2019 Formula 1 season with French team Renault.

-Two years ago you won at Baku, last year you were involved in a crash...what do you have up your sleeve this year at the Azerbaijan circuit?

-Everything ! I've seen the highs and lows here, this is a circuit that generates tension with fast speeds and walls and there is always the possibility of an accident. Here, one feels plenty of energy, emotion and plenty of adrenaline but it's important to be intelligent. If I'm fast, it's key to select the right time to attack.

-Now you're a regular starter in the mid-point of the grid, how is that?

-It's pretty intense. I always want to be at the front but the margins are so small these days. You can be in pole with a perfect round or slip to the back if you make a small mistake.

-Is it more fun being there?

-Yes, possibly, but certainly more challenging.

-How much do you miss standing on the podium?

Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Renault Sport F1
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Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Renault Sport F1Mark ThompsonGetty Images

-Quite a lot as it's been almost a year since the last one. I need to be patient and I do feel that it's only a question of time for me to be back there again.

-Fourteen drivers want a winning car and you were prepared to sacrifice yours…

-When I joined Red Bull, it was a winning car, but in the space of five years, how many races did I win...maybe seven. It simply didn't happen. I felt it was the right time to change and start to try and build something. Despite Renault being a work in progress I see a great deal of potential. It was a short term sacrifice for a longer term objective.

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - APRIL 26: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Renault Sport Formula One Team RS19 on track during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - APRIL 26: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Renault Sport Formula One Team RS19 on track during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City CircuitClive MasonGetty Images

-Were things getting a little complicated with Red Bull?

-Put it this way, things were never bad and maybe I was the one who started to get frustrated. It was a five year spell where I felt that we were about to succeed and it eventually got to the point where I became the driver I didn't want to be.

-Do you feel Verstappen will win this year?

-He has a great chance and is both fast and with youth on his side. He can easily have another 15 years in this game and am sure in this time he'll get an opportunity. At the same time, one never knows, just look at Fernando Alonso. We were all convinced he'd secure more titles after his 2006 success.

-Can you be world champion with Renault?

-I really believe that this can happen. This year will not be the yard stick but next year will. If we all take a step forward and start to get on the podium then it's feasible. If we end up finishing in seventh and eight position always, then I'd say it will be a long road ahead.

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