Ricciardo motivated by Vergne, not Red Bull

Sunday 14th July 2013, 15:53 by TF1T Staff 

Getty Images, Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo insists his recent upturn in performance is motivated by team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne's strong form, rather than the available seat at Red Bull.

The Australian is on a shortlist of three drivers to replace Mark Webber at the championship winning team next season - a list which includes his team-mate and Kimi Raikkonen according to team principal Christian Horner.

Despite being outperformed in the opening races, Ricciardo has turned the tables and beaten Vergne in the last two, taking sixth in qualifying for the British Grand Prix where he finished eighth, followed by another sixth placed start in Germany and 12th in the race. The Frenchman meanwhile qualified 13th and 15th respectively and failed to finish both.

Whilst the announcement that Webber would retire coincided with Ricciardo's upturn, he insists it isn't the biggest factor motivating him to do better.

"Before all the Red Bull talk, I had come off two poor races," said the 24-year-old Toro Rosso driver.

"We had three weeks off after Montreal and that was a good time to really reassess a few things and try and bring the boys together and myself and really try and understand how we can move forward.

"That alone, and the fact that JEV (Vergne) had two really strong races, which showed the car had potential, gave me a lot of fire," he explained.

"I like to think I always work hard away from the cockpit, but maybe I worked even harder.

"That was the real motivation to make me step up, the Red Bull thing was just a bit of icing!"

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