Red Bull's Ricciardo has more and more admirers
Three-time world champion Stewart tips Red Bull ace to surprise
Daniel Ricciardo was leading for 31 laps in Monaco in May before a botched tyre change gave Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton the chance to snatch victory.
Outside the racing track, Daniel Ricciardo is a typical, affable laidback Aussie.
On it, the Australian is an uncompromising racing driver who takes no prisoners.
It has already earned him the moniker "baby-faced assassin" from compatriot and 1980 Formula 1 champion Alan Jones.
Red Bull's Ricciardo was mostly smooth in practice last night around the Marina Bay street circuit ahead of tonight's qualifying battle in this year's Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, showing why he lies third in the championship standings, behind Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
The Mercedes pair are in a league of their own, but Ricciardo has already stated his intention of pulling off a surprise win tomorrow.
Yesterday, triple world champion Jackie Stewart joined the growing list of admirers and he said the stars in Singapore are aligned for Ricciardo to take the chequered flag.
"This is a difficult race track for Mercedes than Monza, which was all about engine power," Stewart told The New Paper.
ADVANTAGE RED BULL
"Six drivers can win in Singapore, but Red Bull have the advantage and could win here.
"They can do a little better than Ferrari, who will also be more competitive than Mercedes.
"Daniel is fantastic. He is one of the best examples of a young driver entering Formula 1 and getting it right."
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso said at the start of the season that the 27-year-old Perth native is primed for a title.
Ricciardo's star has been on the rise since his debut with Toro Rosso in 2011.
Three years later, Red Bull signed him and he outperformed teammate and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel to finish the season third behind Hamilton and Rosberg.
Is there any weakness in Ricciardo's armoury?
"Daniel's only problem is that he is a little too tall," quipped Scotsman Stewart, with a laugh. "But I don't think we can do much about that."
Ricciardo stands at 1.8m, taller than Rosberg (1.78m) and Hamilton (1.74m).
"But, seriously, not only is he a very good driver, he is a very nice man. He is a happy man but he is also Australian.
"So sometimes he gets annoyed, perhaps a little too much, like in Monaco where the team bungled his pit stop and cost him a win."
Ricciardo started on pole at Monaco in May and led the race for 31 laps when he was called for a pit stop for a change of tyres, only to find out they were not ready when he arrived.
It eventually allowed Hamilton to claim the race from a fuming Ricciardo.
Added Stewart: "I believed he has learnt from that incident that mistakes do happen within a team and got out of it considerably more experience. He has a long future in Formula 1."
Stewart paid tribute to Red Bull's programme to develop racing talent and said it played a key role in developing Ricciardo.
"They have delivered a whole lot of racing drivers," said Stewart. "Vettel was one of them and so is Max Verstappen.
"If he stays with Red Bull, he will win the title because, while no one at the moment can compete with Mercedes, who have more money and expertise, they are not completely bullet-proof and the tide will change at some point soon."
BY THE NUMBERS
31 - Daniel Ricciardo was leading for 31 laps in Monaco in May before a botched tyre change gave Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton the chance to snatch victory.