Ricciardo prepared to risk suitor angst
DANIEL Ricciardo insists he doesn't need to sign a Red Bull contract "soon", indicating a decision on his future may not come until after the European summer break.
The Australian's current deal expires at the end of the season and he has been linked with Ferrari and Mercedes, but he is waiting to see who has the best 2019 car.
"I don't feel like I need to sign anything soon," Ricciardo told The Paddock Magazine.
"I also want to see what happens with the team and with the other teams as well.
"So we'll see how the year takes place… I know that at some point other teams will want to know my decision, but for me, for my mind, it does not matter right now.
"It could be after the summer as well… when I know what is going to happen next year I'll be happy to sign something."
The 28-year-old star said recently it was "disheartening" to see Red Bull struggle so much in qualifying at the Spanish Grand Prix in a disappointing debut performance for the new upgraded RB14 package.
The upgrade was expected to bring Red Bull closer to Ferrari and Mercedes - but both Ricciardo and teammate Max Verstappen qualified more than 0.6 seconds slower than reigning champion Lewis Hamilton in Spain.
Ricciardo's lonely race on his way to finishing fifth in Spain will not have given him any incentive to re-sign with Red Bull.
He even forecast Red Bull is likely to receive grid penalties before the end of the year as the team appears set to go over its allowed modifications and upgrades.
"I don't think we have the best car to qualify, to be honest," he said.
"But for sure I can be faster, and I should be able to get more out of the tyres. At times, Renault's engine has been good, however in some cases it's been difficult.
"We're going to get some penalties at some point, though… so it's clear we can still be a more efficient team. I would say it's all improving but it isn't perfect yet."
Meanwhile, the man Ricciardo has been linked with replacing at Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas, has made a public call for the reigning champions to offer him a two-year contract extension.
Bottas says he would like "at least" a new two-year contract with Mercedes, but insists he is in no rush to secure his future with the team.
Bottas signed a one-year deal with the world champions at the beginning of the 2017 season to replace the retired Nico Rosberg, and then earned a further 12-month extension.
Both Bottas and teammate Hamilton are out of contract at the end of 2018 and the Finn hopes he can do enough to earn a fresh multi-year deal.
"I would like to stay with this team, hopefully for a long time. That is my target. As long as I keep performing like I've been performing this year so far, naturally it should be OK, all good," Bottas said, according to motorsport.com.
"I always kind of had one-year deals, so I would naturally like to know at least for the next two years what I'm going to do."
Bottas said no discussions have started over an extension.
"[Toto Wolff and I] speak a lot. We are very open always about my performance, about the car performance. We haven't yet talked anything about next year, we think it's still a bit early," he added.