Ricciardo hopes to be ‘close to podium’ in Spain

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Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo hopes he can bounce back from a tough race in Russia by getting “close to the podium” at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The Australian opened his 2016 campaign with a strong trio of fourth-place finishes and looked set for an even better result in China where he led the first laps until he picked up a costly puncture.

With the European leg of the F1 season getting under way at a venue where all drivers have extensive experience, Ricciardo looks to utilise the strengths of his Renault-powered RB12 package to be in contention for a top-three performance.

“We usually go pretty well at the Circuit de Catalunya so I’m looking forward to it,” the 26-year-old said. “I know the track well as we spend quite a lot of time there but there’s always things to learn from the track though so I don’t want to say I know it all, but having had a few races in the car it’s about putting it all together and having a strong weekend.

“It’s a relatively high down force circuit so we can strap most of the things on the car that make it go faster. It’s quite hard on tyres so we are normally a bit stronger than some other teams in that area. It could provide a good opportunity for us to get close to the podium.”

Red Bull’s biggest storyline heading to Spain remains Ricciardo’s new team-mate Max Verstappen, with the Dutchman replacing Daniil Kvyat at the energy drinks giant’s main F1 outfit in a shock move that sends the Russian back to Toro Rosso.

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