Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admits that he could never have foreseen Daniel Ricciardo recording three wins in his first season with the defending champions.
Horner’s comments follow Ricciardo’s third win of the season, after the Australian took advantage of an early clash between the two Mercedes team-mates to secure victory during Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo joined Red Bull from Toro Rosso as a replacement for his retiring countryman Mark Webber, and was expected to play a supporting role to four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel this season, but instead has starred, winning three times in Canada, Hungary and last weekend in Belgium.
“In all honesty, we never thought he [Ricciardo] was going to be as strong as he has been,” Horner revealed. “We knew he was fast, we knew he was a really good racing driver, but I don’t think any of us, and probably not even Daniel, knew just how good he was going to be.”
The Red Bull boss was full of praise for his star turn on Sunday, crediting the Australian’s ability to manage the race following the early collision between the Mercedes cars.
“It was quite an incredible performance,” he added. “I think the strategy, with the [low downforce] set-up that we elected to take, enabled us to be quick in sectors one and three, and extract the most out of the car.
“Sector two was always our weak point but, after the get-together between the two Mercedes, it was a question of getting Daniel’s head down and getting on with it.”
Image courtesy of Red Bull Media/Getty Images