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Daniel Ricciardo

Exclusive: Why Ricciardo thinks Barcelona winner could be champion

In an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, Daniel Ricciardo has revealed the factors he believes will determine the outcome of the F1 2022 Drivers' Championship.

Leclerc Verstappen Imola
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To news overview © XPB

Daniel Ricciardo has given his assessment of the current battle for the Drivers' Championship, and revealed why he expects the Spanish Grand Prix to be crucial in deciding the outcome.

With the much-anticipated 2022 F1 season already five races old, Ferrari and Red Bull have emerged as the frontrunners and look set for a season-long duel for both titles.

Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen have thrived under the new regulations and are the early favourites for World Championship glory.

Leclerc's advantage at the top of the Drivers' standings is just 19 points, with a resurgent Verstappen hacking into his lead over the last two races.

Ricciardo predicts how title battle will play out

When asked about the current battle between Ferrari and Red Bull, Ricciardo suggested that a non-Mercedes contest was good for the sport and that he predicted the fastest car to change on a race-to-race basis.

"For the sport, I'm very glad there is a battle as opposed to one person running away with it," Ricciardo explained in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com.

"Obviously Mercedes has been dominating, so the fact that Ferrari has taken a little bit of that role this year is big for the sport. For the health of Formula 1, it's a good thing.

"It looks like it's going to be another good one. At the moment, it looks like both teams clearly have their [preferred] tracks.

"Ferrari in some places are probably going to have some easy victories, like they did in Melbourne, and Red Bull will probably have a few easy ones at other tracks."

Why Spanish GP is important in championship

When pressed on forecasting an eventual champion to the 2022 season, the Australian argued that the intensity of the development race would be a key factor.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya - venue of the forthcoming Spanish Grand Prix - is widely regarded as a good 'all-rounder' track and a strong indicator of car performance over the course of a season.

Ricciardo added that he believes the champion will be the driver who looks quicker at the upcoming event, providing they can also be consistent over the year.

"Prior to this weekend, I honestly say it's 50:50. I would say the winner of this weekend would be the person or the team that I'll put money on. It's going to be down to the updates," said Ricciardo.

"I think this weekend will probably determine [the frontrunner] for the next few races with updates. It could sway perhaps from this weekend onwards.

"In a year like this, it's probably down to consistency with reliability or driver errors. For example, Charles had his problem in Imola.

"At the moment it's [between] him or Max. So I don't think he or Max are going to be able to make too many of those errors given the way [the championship battle] is going."

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F1 2022 Spanish Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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