Wednesday, 10 january 2018, 06:38 , by Matthew Scott
Daniel Ricciardo has insisted that he fully expects to receive the same level of treatment to Max Verstappen in the 2018 campaign despite the fact he has not signed a new contract with Red Bull yet, while the Dutchman has already committed his immediate future to the team.
Verstappen has penned a new contract to extend his stay with Red Bull to the end of the 2020 season, but Ricciardo is keeping his options open as he wishes to see how the vehicle of the drinks manufacturer performs in 2018.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner recently mentioned to the press that the team could build around Verstappen for the future, leading to many fans to comment that he would receive preferential treatment to Ricciardo, but the Australian revealed that Horner explained his statement and that everything was fine between him and his boss.
When asked by the media if he felt he would have complete support from Red Bull this upcoming season, Ricciardo responded positively.
"I do. That's 100 percent honest.
"That [comment] is not what you want to hear. I didn't see it in the press but afterwards I found out about Christian's comment.
"It was because he actually came up to me and cleared it up. He said 'look, if you've seen the comments, it's not out of context but I didn't want it to come across that way'.
"He said 'please, I don't want you to think anything like that. We're fighting for both of you'.
"Max got the updated engine in the last few races, that was the only thing that has ever been different. But I don't have any concern with it. If I did, I would have spoken up about it already."
Ricciardo went on to admit that he will have to be 'perfect' next season if he is to get the better of Verstappen and fight for the title.
"Even if the engine is a tenth quicker, I've just got to drive two tenths better," he said.
"If I'm good enough, I'll beat him anyway! I'm confident.
"I acknowledge that I have to be perfect more often than not if I want to stay in front. My Sundays this year were as good as they've ever been for the most part. The racer in me is very confident and determined."