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Ricciardo on a mission

Australian eyes good start to the 2012 season

Last Updated: 14/03/12 11:21am

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Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo is determined to prove he has a long-term future in Formula One when he lines up for the 2012 Australian Grand Prix.

The Perth-born 22-year-old has been highlighted as a potential successor to his compatriot Mark Webber at Red Bull.

However Ricciardo, who drove in 11 GPs for Hispania Racing last year, knows that he could easily be dumped if he doesn't live up to the hype.

"It could be my one and only (year) if it's not good enough so I've definitely got to step up and do as good as I can," Ricciardo told AAP.

"I plan on staying in Formula One and competing at a very high level for many years to come and it's a good start if I have a good year this year."

A good start for Ricciardo would be to get one over on his Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne in Melbourne.

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And he is hoping his experiences from his half-a-season with HRT - where he recorded best-placed finishes of 18th - will be vital.

Important

"I guess I expect myself to have a bit of an edge," he said.

"I've done more races than Jean-Eric, who hasn't done any so of course if he's going to be in front of me this weekend, I won't be happy with myself.

"We've raced against each other for a few years now and he's quick and I know he's capable.

"For me I've got to make sure I finish in front of him but I think we're definitely going to get the most out of the car and from the team's point of view that's very important."

Despite racing in front of his home fans for the first time, Ricciardo insists he doesn't feel under any extra pressure.

"As intense as this all looks I'm pretty relaxed actually," said Ricciardo.

"I've been here since the weekend and had some time off - just some time to chill out. Being back in Australia is just great.

"I'm relaxed and once today and tomorrow is over I'm in the car and that's where I'll probably feel most at home."

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