Mercedes 'too far' ahead in F1, reckons Daniel Ricciardo

Mercedes could be "too far" ahead to catch during the 2016 Formula 1 season, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo fears

Mercedes 'too far' ahead in F1, reckons Daniel Ricciardo

World champion Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg have enjoyed a largely private battle at the front of the field since F1's V6 turbo hybrid regulations were introduced in 2014.

While Ricciardo won three races in 2014, Red Bull's power unit supplier Renault fell away this year, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel the only non-Mercedes driver to win a race.

The Australian does not see the situation changing dramatically next year.

When asked during the Perth Speed Fest event in his hometown how far ahead Mercedes was, Ricciardo said: "Too far. I honestly think they increased the gap this year.

"Ferrari caught up a little bit, but I think in general when [Mercedes] wanted to turn it on they could.

"They're definitely still going to be the team to beat next year, and they will be hard to beat.

"Hopefully it doesn't go on too much longer."

2016 'SHOULD BE BETTER'

Red Bull failed with its efforts to secure Mercedes or Ferrari power for 2016, and the team will continue to be supplied by Renault, which made negligible performance gains throughout the year.

The team did, though, make progress with its chassis and with Renault increasing its working relationship with Illmor, Ricciardo is hopeful of a year more like his 2014 campaign.

"The target for 2016 is to get more podiums, and to get a win at least," he said.

"I missed that win this year, so to at least get one next year would be a good start.

"2015 was obviously not as nice as we expected, so you'd think '16 we can start to turn it around again.

"I'm not going to get too excited, obviously I probably set too high expectations for the start of this year.

"The chassis was good, the team developed it really well as the year went on, the car got better and better.

"If you took the straights out of the track, if the track was just made up of corners, I think we would have probably had a few pole positions."

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