Daniel Ricciardo says securing a podium finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix would be among the best results of his career as he prepares for his final race as a Red Bull driver. Ricciardo will depart his current employers after five years for Renault in 2019.
Red Bull have ended the season in superb form – Max Verstappen has been on the podium in each of the last four races, with victory in Mexico ought to have been followed by another win in Brazil, only to be undone by a collision with Esteban Ocon.
Ricciardo has not enjoyed the same vein, mixing a pair of fourth-place finishes with two DNFs – including one from second place in Mexico.
The Australian has only taken to the rostrum twice all season, for victories in China and Monaco, and his determination to bring out a final 'shoey' in Red Bull colours is strong.
"It would be as big as any podium I've got," he said.
"For two reasons: because it's my ending with this team for now but also this year when I've only stood there twice and that was for a win. I haven't had any seconds or thirds.
"Just as it's been such a long time between drinks, so to speak, so that in itself would be a big moment for me. But to close the book with Red Bull on the podium and see them all down there [in the pit lane] celebrating and spray some fake champagne, rosewater I think it is here, would be cool."
Ricciardo was in jovial mood on Thursday, posing for pictures with his pit crew, who he says have arrived at Yas Marina with a winning attitude.
"I'm actually excited. Not excited because it's the last one, but more to the thought of finishing off in style - I don't want to say with a bang as that sounds bad! - with high spirits," he added.
"Everyone's been pretty cool. Normally Thursdays are pretty slow but everyone in the team has had a lot of energy today. At the moment it's 'let's have one last crack together, it's been an awesome ride the last five years so let's use every last bit of what we've got together to make it a successful weekend'."