LONDON, Aug 2011 (AFP) - Impressive young Australian rookie Daniel Ricciardo has set himself the target of beating his Hispania team-mate Tonio Liuzzi and both Virgin drivers before the end of this year.
The 22-year-old new boy, who only made his mid-season debut last month at the British Grand Prix, is attempting to fast-track his way towards the top and land a future seat in the Red Bull team.
Many believe he has a good chance of succeeding 34-year-old compatriot Mark Webber at Red Bull - when his rising reputation commands a front-line team to give him a competitive seat.
But for now he is content to learn and improve after breaking into F1 as replacement for Indian veteran Narain Karthikeyan.
Ricciardo finished in 18th position in last Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix after coming home 19th in his previous two outings - a clear sign that he is moving in the right direction.
He said he needs to digest the lessons of his first few races and learn quickly as he prepares to make faster progress.
He said: "The target is to continue learning. I think that will come with time in the car. "If I could manage to sneak out a personal best result or edge out Tonio and the Virgins in a few races that would be a strong result.
"I have to aim high because it is only going to help me for the future. I think that for the last few races of the year I can really start to push and aim for it." He added that he felt it would not be easy for him to outperform Liuzzi, a wily campaigner, and even more difficult to overhaul the Italian's season-best result of 13th at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo said: "I think the result in Canada was really good, Tonio has proved he is a very capable driver and I think he will be tough to beat. "At Silverstone I was quite off his pace. I knew it would take a bit of time, but you always want a bit more.
"But it was very clear to me that I have a strong team-mate. It is going to take my best efforts to really try and get in front of him and to push for a personal best result for the team.
"I don't think it is going to come through luck; it's just going to be hard work for now. I really have to soak in as much information as I can to try and become the driver I want to be and, hopefully, the one who maybe gets a personal best result for HRT one day."