Monday, 16 july 2018, 09:05 , by Matthew Scott
Daniel Ricciardo believes Mercedes have become to appear "vulnerable", with Ferrari and Red Bull challenging their dominance over F1 like never before in the V6 hybrid era. Mercedes trail the Scuderia in both the constructors' and drivers' championships, with Sebastian Vettel ahead of Lewis Hamilton as 2018 ticks over the halfway point.
Mercedes have won just three of the 10 races so far this season, but perhaps most telling has been their inability to win at tracks where they had previously been dominant like Shanghai, Montreal and Spielberg.
Vettel ended Hamilton's four-year winning streak at his home race at Silverstone last time out and will look to press home the advantage at Hockenheim this week.
Although Ricciardo believes the Silver Arrows remain the team to beat, the added competition has seen them begin to creak under the pressure.
"They are not as dominant as they have been the last few years," Ricciardo said. "That was inevitably going to start to mellow out at some point.
"I still think they are the overall toughest package to beat on the grid but they've shown some signs of weaknesses in some areas.
"Compared to how they've been, yeah they look vulnerable, but still in the big scheme of things they are a strong team and difficult to beat."
Ricciardo has won in China and Monaco this year but is 65 points adrift of Vettel in fourth place in the drivers' standings.
Max Verstappen is further adrift, despite winning at the Red Bull Ring recently, and Ricciardo believes the increased competition inside the Red Bull team limits their title chances somewhat.
He added: "I guess Max and myself probably take too many points away from each other - Lewis and Seb are doing all the winning there [at Mercedes and Ferrari].
"We are good enough to win more races. We need to find a little bit to be there on more tracks.
"Hopefully the ones we expect to be quick on, we are. If we come fifth and sixth in Budapest, we're probably going to be pretty pissed off."