Daniel Ricciardo needs to focus on beating Max Verstappen – Mark Webber

Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber insists Daniel Ricciardo must focus his efforts on beating team-mate Max Verstappen this season, rather than looking for a drive elsewhere despite being out of contract at the end of the year.

Although Verstappen has signed a multi-year deal to stay at Red Bull, Ricciardo has held off doing the same in the hope a seat might come up elsewhere as he seeks a winning car to realise his dream of winning the title – it’s expected Ferrari and Mercedes will have vacancies at the end of 2018.

Webber has urged Ricciardo to focus on his driving and if he can beat Verstappen, he will become a more attractive option for those teams.

“I think the best thing he can do is beat Max,” said the fellow Australian. “Which he knows, and he’s going to do his best to do that.

“He wants to try and have a crack at that for five or six months, then look at his options.”

Webber says it’s imperative Ricciardo performs from the very first race as 2019 driver line-up decisions will be made after just a handful of races.

“I don’t think Mercedes will be rushing but they’re going to keep a good eye on Valtteri [Bottas] and see how he’s performing, probably until Canada [before making their decision].

“They’re [Bottas and Ricciardo] both out of contract, he’s a top-flight driver, and there’s a chance for a switch.

“But if he’s beating Max and Red Bull are flying again, why would he leave?

“At the end of the day, I don’t think Dan’s too bothered what colour the car is. He just wants to win. That’s what he’s aiming to do, and it’s hard to win consistently but he’s totally capable of it.”