Despite losing out to Daniil Kvyat in last year’s points standings, Daniel Ricciardo believes if he is “on it” he will be the quicker of the team-mates.
Last season, their first together at Red Bull Racing, it was Ricciardo who held the advantage through the opening half of the season.
But as Kvyat found his feet within the team, he began to narrow the deficit until he eventually pulled ahead to outscore his team-mate by three points.
Despite the end result, Ricciardo is confident that if he is in top form he has what it takes to edge the Russian driver.
The Aussie told Autosport: “I’d say he’s obviously got natural speed.
“I’ve always really enjoyed high-speed corners and I’d like to say I’ve got a big ballsack. But he’s been pretty close in high-speed stuff.
“I’d like to think that when we’re really on it, I’m still the big dog.
“But if he sees me go quicker in a high-speed corner, in the next session he’ll pretty much match it.
“He’s been pushing me. In qualifying I’ve most of the time managed to find a little bit.
“But through the practice sessions, he’s not shy about getting up to speed quickly.
“It hasn’t been easy. But I always feel like if I’m on it and doing everything I need to do, I’ll be quicker.”
As for Kvyat’s recovery from a difficult start to the season, Ricciardo puts that down to the newcomer expecting too much.
He added: “He was typical of that young generation coming in after me – him, Carlos [Sainz Jr], all these guys – they’re just flat-out, super-keen.
“The first few races I’d say he was maybe a little bit too excited. He made too many mistakes in qualifying and all that.
“I was expecting too much in terms of results and he was expecting too much of the car.
“It was looking like it was probably going to be a hard season for him, but then he turned it around.”