Daniel Ricciardo rules out joining Ferrari only to be Sebastian Vettel's 'bridesmaid'

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Daniel Ricciardo is adamant he would not join Ferrari if it meant being the team's number two driver behind Sebastian Vettel.

The Australian's contract with Red Bull expires at the end of the next year and he has been tipped to succeed Kimi Raikkonen, who has just extended his deal with Ferrari for one more year, at Maranello in 2019.

However, that would see Ricciardo reunited with Vettel, with whom he shared the Red Bull garage during the 2014 season, before the four-time world champion moved onto the Scuderia the following year.

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In his first season at Red Bull, Ricciardo outperformed his teammate, winning three races and finishing on the podium a further five times, while Vettel could only muster four podiums. The Australian feels he has done enough since his first major breakthrough to deserve the chance of being the first driver in any team, rather than a "bridesmaid".

"I haven't thought that far ahead to be honest, in terms of what the quality would be like if I was there," the 28-year-old told Sky Sports.

"But if you were in that negotiation process with a team then that's the first thing you'd talk about. Equal equipment, no playing second fiddle.

"Obviously I'm in a position where I believe I should be fighting for the front. If a team said 'we'll sign you but you're going to play bridesmaid to this guy,' 100% I'm not signing there. It's something you'd talk about in early negotiations."

Ricciardo's comments come a week after Lewis Hamilton suggested Vettel would not join Mercedes, as he is unlikely to accept driving for a team where both drivers are granted equal status. This season, Ferrari have made it clear that Vettel is their number one driver ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, favouring the former over the latter at Monaco and in Hungary.

Last week the German signed a new-three year deal with Ferrari, while Mercedes are expected to extend Valtteri Bottas' deal to keep the Finn alongside Hamilton, meaning this season's top two teams will be unchanged next year.

However, the scenario could be very different by 2019 and Ricciardo, who clinched his sixth podium of the season at the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend, admitted he would think about his future to give himself the best possible chance of securing a maiden world title.

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"I'm definitely in this sport to be successful," he explained. "For me, success is now winning a world title. I've been fortunate to win some races and get the closest thing to it but the point now is to win enough in a season where it leads to a world title.

"It's something that we keep our eyes open for, and you want to put yourself in that position. Sometimes it's a bit of luck. When Lewis left McLaren [to join Mercedes] everyone thought he was crazy but look where it's put him now."

After picking up four consecutive constructors' world championships between 2010 and 2013, Red Bull have only won a combined three races over the last two seasons, with Ricciardo's success in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in June their only first place finish so far this year.

And the trend is unlikely to change this weekend in Monza, with Mercedes and Ferrari the clear favourites going into the Italian Grand Prix due to their superior engine packages.

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