SINGAPORE: Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo said Thursday he had a “good chance” of payback for his Monaco disaster by registering a first victory of the season in the Singapore Grand Prix.
And the ebullient Australian promised he would celebrate by drinking champagne from his driving boot — a sweaty cocktail he calls a “shoey” – if he tops the podium on Sunday.
Ricciardo looked a certain winner in Monaco earlier this season after starting from pole, until a botched pit stop cost him dearly and handed Mercedes Lewis Hamilton victory.
But he believes he can make up for it around the similarly slow and twisty Singapore street circuit where Red Bull are again expected to be strong.
“It is the next closest track to Monaco so we look at it as a good chance to try to get a victory on our side,” Ricciardo told a press conference Thursday.
Singapore saw a Mercedes meltdown in the heat last year as they failed to get on the podium as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won with Ricciardo second.
“Deep down, we obviously want to win, and we are winners,” said Ricciardo. “Let’s see what happens, but I am definitely excited.”
Ricciardo performed a “shoey” after finishing on the podium in the last two races in Belgium and Italy, but said he’ll guzzle from his galoshes again only if he wins in Singapore.
Ricciardo’s drinking habit has caught on, with MotoGP multiple world champion Valentino Rossi doing a “shoey” on the podium in Italy last weekend.
“I think it’s just a bit of fun,” said Ricciardo who revealed it originated with some Australian surfers called the “Mad Hueys”. “I thought I’d just keep the tradition going.
“Honestly, if the sparkling wine is cold, then it tastes good. But if it’s warm then sure, you’d get the sweat and that through it. But the cold kills the bad stuff.”
Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, who is barely of legal age to drink champagne, is also bullish heading in the race.
“I think this track should suit us better,” said the 18-year-old of the Marina Bay circuit which has 23 mainly slow speed turns and few long straights, diminishing power and aerodynamic advantage of the championship-leading Mercedes.
“I think we will know how good we are tomorrow,” said Verstappen, looking ahead to Friday’s two practice sessions.
“It’s difficult to say we will be the number one team here because we haven’t driven yet.”
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are separated by just two points at the top of the drivers’ championship, with Ricciardo 89 points behind the triple world champion in third.
Verstappen is sixth a further 40 points behind, but is the only non-Mercedes driver to have won a grand prix this season.
That was in Spain, when Hamilton and Rosberg took each other out with a first-lap smash.