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Daniel Ricciardo has this week staked a claim on a full-time role in formula one with an impressive test at the wheel of the title-winning Red Bull.
The energy drinks company's most promising development talent and Australian was well clear of the field over the two days of the young driver test session in Abu Dhabi, smashing Sebastian Vettel's pole position time for good measure (but we don't know for certain if the car was running light to impress potential sponsors).
21-year-old Ricciardo's performance stood out, amid reports Dr Helmut Marko has not decided where to place the Perth native in 2011.
"I'm not sure what this means for next year, but I know even more now that this is where I want to be," he is quoted by the Australian news agency AAP.
"Whether I might be in F1 next year or the following, I will do everything to make sure it happens -- and I think this test has probably helped me," added Ricciardo, who in 2010 was Red Bull's F1 reserve driver.
Even in the team's post-test press release, Ricciardo was quoted as saying "it would be fantastic to get the chance to drive in formula one full-time".
However, Red Bull's two F1 teams have already completed their 2011 lineups.
Austrian newspapers Kleine Zeitung and Salzburger Nachrichten are reporting that Lotus, set to use Red Bull gearboxes next year, could be an option for Ricciardo.
And La Gazzetta dello Sport claimed Australian Ricciardo as "an Italian" after the impressive Abu Dhabi outing, due his family's ancestry.
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