Daniel Ricciardo thinks he has shown he deserves his new seat at Red Bull.

Daniel_Ricciard-Chinese_GP-2014-F02The Australian had driven at backmarker HRT and Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso, but this year he stepped up to the big league to replace his retired countryman Mark Webber.

Some think Ricciardo currently has a better grip on the reigning world champions’ new RB10 even than quadruple title winner and teammate Sebastian Vettel. “The team have been a bit surprised,” the always-smiling Ricciardo grinned to the Telegraph. The 24-year-old has had a quite luckless 2014 season so far: disqualified in Melbourne and caught up in trouble in Malaysia, but he finished a solid fourth two weeks ago in Bahrain.

Ricciardo suggests he has exceeded even his own expectations. “I don’t know how to say it – I don’t want to sound arrogant – but I believe a lot in myself, and I believed if I had the right equipment and the right opportunity then I would be able to show what I’m capable of, and that’s been shown now,” he said. “I haven’t surprised myself but it’s been nice to confirm it to myself that I can do this. I believe I can keep doing it,” Ricciardo added.