Daniel Ricciardo

Coulthard – can Ricciardo cope with Kvyat defeat?

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Former Red Bull driver David Coulthard has admitted he will be keeping a keen eye on Daniel Ricciardo this year.

In 2014, Australian Ricciardo leapt from the low-profile Toro Rosso into Red Bull’s senior team, and was soon humbling the quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel against all odds.

Most insiders believe Ricciardo’s surprise performances contributed at least in part to Vettel’s decision to jump ship and join Ferrari.

He has been replaced for 2015 by the next impressive Toro Rosso youngster, the 20-year-old Russian Daniil Kvyat, who will now try to emulate Ricciardo’s feats by humbling the Red Bull team leader.

It is that challenge that Coulthard is interested in following this season.

“It will be interesting to see how Daniel takes the pressure of being the team leader,” the Scot told Australian news agency AAP.

“He would be expected to beat Daniil Kvyat, but if he gets beaten, how is he going to handle that?”

At the same time, however, Coulthard thinks Ricciardo – set to start his fifth season in F1 this year and at the age of 25 – already knows what de-facto team leadership feels like.

“He really was the team leader last year and a four-time world champion in Sebastian Vettel didn’t really seem to have an answer for him,” he acknowledged. (GMM)

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