Optimism comes from winter testing in Barcelona, when Ricciardo consistently registered fast lap times.
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Daniel Ricciardo faces a pivotal year in his Formula One career with expectations of a much-improved Red Bull performance and mounting speculation over exactly where he will drive next season.Ricciardo retired from three races with engine-related problems – including the misery of failing to finish in last year's Melbourne competition – and he amassed 70 places worth of grid penalties stemming from the unreliability of the team's Renault engines.Red Bull had lifted four straight drivers' and constructors' world titles when the Australian was promoted from Toro Rosso in 2014, but have not claimed another since with Ricciardo winning five races for the senior team.Ricciardo will become a free agent in 2019, raising speculation about where he will be next season given the contracts of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes and Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari are also due to expire at the end of the year.
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