The driver Daniel Ricciardo has said that he thinks Red Bull can challenge Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes for the two F1 titles in the upcoming season.

Red Bull had a disappointing 2015 but last year they re-established themselves as the sports second fastest team and they were the only team aside from Mercedes to win a race thanks to victories in Spain and Malaysia.

Mercedes was shocked by the departure of the world champion Nico Rosberg over the winter and Ricciardo is hoping that this will open up vulnerabilities which will give them more problems over the season.

Speaking to F1.com Ricciardo said, “I think we can challenge, yes. If we make the same improvements we did last year then he [Hamilton] won’t have anything easy, believe me.”

Ricciardo knows Rosberg fairly well having travelled to races with him on a number of occasions and he said that he can understand why the German decided to retire.

“At first it was a surprise, but once I went through it in my head and put myself in his shoes understood it a lot better,” the Australian added.

He explained that Rosberg has a family now and has been involved in the sport for an extremely long time as he was part of it even before he was racing himself as a result of his father Keke. Ricciardo said that the travel and commitments are extremely tiring so it makes complete sense for Rosberg to have retired after winning the title.

Ricciardo also said that it would be very tempting to drive the world championship car but he insisted that he is happy where he is and said that he is hoping this year will result in the Red Bull car winning the championship.