Australian Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo admitted his success in the first part of the Formula One season has come as a surprise.
After moving from Toro Rosso, Ricciardo has taken the F1 world by storm in his first campaign with Red Bull, winning three races thus far to sit third in the drivers' standings.
The 25-year-old took out the Canadian Grand Prix in June, before claiming back-to-back wins in Hungary and Belgium.
Ricciardo has also earned three other podiums finishes in Spain, Monaco and Great Britain, but his success has come as a surprise after Red Bull's documented mechanical issues.
"After winter testing, I knew that wasn't our season," said Ricciardo, who will be back in action once F1 resumes at the Singapore GP on September 21.
"I knew it was going to get better, but to come out in Melbourne and fight for a podium already was a massive surprise and to grab not only one win but three in the first part of the season has been surprising."
Ricciardo added: "I've been pretty grateful this year, I think I've had a lot of races where I've had lots of fun, enjoyed myself.
"We've still had some wins which has been awesome but when we're not, or the races I haven't finished on the podium I've still had some really good battles - Bahrain, Hockenheim, Monza - it's been good racing.
"I think for the whole spectacle of Formula One this year, it's visually been really good to watch."
Ricciardo is 72 points adrift of championship leader and Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg (238) with six races remaining.
And he has not given up hope of topping the drivers' standings.
"If I can snatch it earlier I will, but if we can come into Abu Dhabi within 50 points and mathematically have a chance then I think that will be a huge achievement," Ricciardo said.
"No matter what happens, to even get to the last race and be in with a shot would be awesome. That's the aim, but it's still the approach of race by race."