Lewis Hamilton would be “very foolish to underestimate” Daniel Ricciardo in the F1 2018 world championship battle, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
Hamilton wrapped up the fourth World Drivers’ Championship of his career at Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in October.
But Horner thinks Ricciardo should also be on Hamilton’s list and feels the Australian will be firmly in the title mix if Red Bull can provide a championship-contending car.
“Lewis would be very foolish to underestimate Daniel,”Christian told to Sky Sports.
“He’s a phenomenal driver, he’s arguably the best overtaker in the business. He’s driven some great races this year and some great races in his time at Red Bull.
“He’s absolutely ready for a championship challenge if we can provide him with the tools to do the job.”
Ricciardo claimed one victory and eight more podium finishes in 2017 but his season was undermined by Red Bull’s slow start and unreliability as he suffered six retirements.
The former world champions had been predicted to be Mercedes’ closest rivals following this year’s regulation change but Red Bull were soundly beaten by the Silver Arrows and finished 154 points behind second-placed Ferrari.
Red Bull are understood to have brought forward development of their RB14 in a bid to hit the ground running in 2018, while Horner believes Ricciardo and Verstappen will push each other to new heights next season.
“I’m really excited that we’ve got the strongest driver pairing in Formula 1,” Horner added.
“Max and Daniel, they push each other to such high limits and that’s tremendously exciting for us.”