Former F1 driver Mark Webber is confident that compatriot Daniel Ricciardo has what it takes to win the 2017 Formula 1 world championship, provided he has the right tools under his belt.
Ricciardo has emerged one of F1’s finest drivers in recent times, clinching four wins in an era completed dominated by rivals Mercedes.
Webber, who has spoken fondly of Ricciardo at a number of occasions, believes 2017 might be the year when the 27-year-old wins an elusive drivers crown - something he couldn’t achieve himself in an otherwise successful career.
"Daniel was probably the most consistent driver in the field this year and he's absolutely world class, in that top three drivers," Webber told The Age.
"He's in a position to go again next year and certainly vie for the championship if Red Bull can get the car together because Nico is virtually impossible to replace in the short term at Mercedes."
Although 14 Australian drivers have taken part in a Formula 1 race, none of them have been able to win their home event.
Webber feels Ricciardo might be the driver that brings the victory drought to an end, which stresses back to the very first Australian Grand Prix in 1985.
"Australians focus on Albert Park, but of course Daniel wants to win everywhere," Webber said.
"I was so proud to race in Melbourne because it is honestly a phenomenal event, I always did my absolute maximum there because I wanted to win.
"It's totally do-able for Daniel to win races and doing that in Australia would be an absolute bonus. But the next day you get on a plane and the F1 show goes on."
In another interview, Ricciardo said he can beat triple world-champion Lewis Hamilton if the two were driving for the same team.
by Rachit Thukral