The Australian could only manage fifth-place in last year’s championship, finishing 163 points behind the Mercedes driver.

Ricciardo and his Dutch co-star Max Verstappen have both been linked with moves that would see them partner Hamilton in 2019.

But for now, the Red Bull star is simply focusing on beating the Brit this season. 

When asked if his outfit can challenge for both world championships this year, Ricciardo said: “I believe so, [as there are] not so many rule changes.

“We improved the car a lot last year so I guess on principle we should just be able to carry that over for this year and keep evolving from there. 

“We should be able to fight more often. 

“Time will tell, but I’m confident.”

Ricciardo only managed one win last season after triumphing at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

But the 28-year-old insists the mood in the Red Bull camp is better ahead of next month’s opening race in Melbourne. 

“I feel there’s a good intensity, everyone’s not getting too excited,” he added.

“We know we’ve got some work to do if we really want to achieve what we want. 

“So we all know that we’ve got some desires that we want to attack this year.”

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