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Jan 10, 2018/ 11:11

Ricciardo expects fair fight despite Verstappen's new deal

Ricciardo expects fair fight despite Verstappen's new deal

Daniel Ricciardo expects a fair fight with Max Verstappen in 2018 despite his Red Bull Formula 1 teammate having already committed to a new contract.

Verstappen penned a new deal to remain at the team until the end of 2020, with boss Christian Horner having previously called on him to stay long-term and build the team around him.

Ricciardo, whose current contract expires at the end of the 2018 F1 season, has said he will take time to make a decision on the future, with potential seats on offer at Mercedes and Ferrari in 2019.

Horner has said he wants to keep Ricciardo on board for the long-term, and the Australian revealed his team boss took him aside to explain the comments about Verstappen's Red Bull prospects.

When asked if he felt he would have everything around him to win the title in 2018 if Red Bull delivers a car capable of doing so, Ricciardo told "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 said he accepted the explanation provided by Horner and he is focused on doing the best job he can next season.

"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."