Currently leading the championship in British F3 in his rookie season, the ever smiling Daniel Ricciardo has high hopes as the 2009 season enters its final stages. Here the young Australian talks about his season so far and emulating fellow Red Bull driver and F3 champion Jaime Alguersuari…

Are you happy with the way the season has gone so far?

Yes, so far! The season started well with two wins at the first race weekend at Oulton Park. I think that weekend shaped the season and how it developed. Both myself and the team realised that we could challenge for the championship and not just dream about it.

You started the season off with three wins from four races, but although you’ve been amongst the front runners, you didn’t win again until Spa. Why is that?

It’s been a very competitive year and after the first few rounds I think the other teams realised that they were going to have to catch up quickly. Its not that we haven’t been working as hard, but I think a couple of teams made a really big push.

I don’t think there were any key factors that led to us not winning a race between Silverstone and Spa. I made a mistake a Rockingham which took away a possible win and killed the momentum that weekend. Then we had a tough weekend at Hockenheim were it took as while to get up to pace. I think those two weekends took the momentum away from us a bit. I think we’re still seen as the ones to beat which shows how competitive we are. You can’t always win – although we always try!

You won at Silverstone on your last visit, do you have equally high hopes this weekend?

The Grand Prix circuit at Silverstone is great and is probably more enjoyable than the circuit we will be racing on this weekend, but the short circuit is still good. We had a good weekend last time at Silverstone and I’ll be going with the same expectations this weekend.

There have been some accusations of team orders this season in British F3. Does that affect you at all?

No it doesn’t. I know that there has been some talk around the paddock about that, but it doesn’t affect me as a driver. Every time I get in the car I’m just focused on being the fastest, trying to win the race, trying to get pole. My approach hasn’t changed. Who can say if some of the results have been affected by team orders this year? I don’t think about it, I just try and get the most out of myself and the car at every race.

After Silverstone there are only two rounds left; Portimao and Brands Hatch. Do you think you’ll be strong?

Yeah, they’re tracks I like. I raced in Portimao in Formula Renault 3.5 a few weeks ago and it was a lot of fun, although obviously I haven’t been there in an F3 car. I know which way the circuit goes, which will be a slight advantage early on in the weekend. It seems to be my kind of circuit.

We did a day’s testing at Brands earlier this year, although that was compromised quite a lot by bad weather, but it was my first time there and I was quickest in the dry. If I had to pick two tracks to end the season on, they’d be among my favourites.

You saw your fellow Red Bull Junior team mate Jaime Alguersuari crowned British F3 champion last year and now he’s racing in F1 for Toro Rosso. How does that make you feel?

It’s exciting to see him go up there. At first it was a bit of a shock to see him going from what I’m doing this season to F1, but he’s done a really good job in F1 so far. In a way it makes things seem very real, and a dream a possible reality. To be with Carlin, working with the same people he did last year and also in the Red Bull Junior Team is giving me an opportunity to follow his example; if I can win the British F3 championship this year it won’t necessary lead straight to an F1 drive as it has for Jaime, but it will create more opportunities for me. I think it’s proved that Red Bull want to push us, and believe in its young drivers and can help us reach our dream goal. To see it visibly happen in front of you – see a young driver get a chance in F1 – I think it gives all the young Red Bull drivers more motivation.