Affable Australian Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo was all smiles after claiming his maiden Formula One triumph at last season’s Canadian Grand Prix.
This year, his ambitions are a lot more limited: survival without a penalty.
The 25-year-old, who has taken over as team leader at Red Bull following Sebastian Vettel’s departure to Ferrari, is realistic about his prospects in Sunday’s race.
But he still hopes to “have some fun” despite having to nurse his machine through the event and try to avoid having to use a fifth new power unit of the year.
If he did that would automatically result in a 10-place grid penalty.
“The plan is to race the same engine as Monaco,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“We’re going to try and get through this race without any penalties.
“For this race, according to our calculations, the engine should survive. I don’t think we’re over-pushing it if we do a full weekend with it.
“Hopefully, there’ll be no penalties and in the race we can have some fun!
“And when we do eventually have to put in another engine – and take the penalty – we want to ensure that the engine is as updated as possible.”
The beaming Australian added that Red Bull’s result of fourth and fifth in Monaco was more due to the nature of the circuit than an improvement in the car.
“We had a few little bits and pieces in Monaco, but nothing that was a game-changer,” he said.
“We have some more bits and bobs here this weekend, but the track isn’t going to suit us much with the straights.
“Hopefully, we can at least hang in there and try to battle Williams.”
He said Red Bull were now back at the competitive levels of 2014 after a challenging period.
“I think we’re now back on a level where we were last year, but we’re six months into this year – so we should be ahead of where we were last year.”
He admitted that Mercedes and Ferrari remain beyond reach.