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Daniel Ricciardo

F1 world champion tears into 'overrated' Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo drew the ire of 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo Miami
To news overview © XPBimages

Jacques Villeneuve has torn into Daniel Ricciardo's Formula 1 career, believing 'years of excuses' have been made for the Australian. 

Ricciardo graduated to the senior Red Bull team in 2014 as a replacement for Mark Webber, and was regarded as one of the best drivers on the grid before he left the team for Renault in 2019. 

Since then, Ricciardo has driven for Renault, McLaren and AlphaTauri/RB, falling off the grid at the end of 2022 after poor performances at McLaren, although was given a reprieve at what is now RB in mid-2023 when Nyck de Vries was axed.

However, Ricciardo has not been able to kick on at RB, and has been overshadowed by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda in 2024, with the Japanese racer scoring 19 points to Ricciardo's five - with the eight-time grand prix winner yet actually to score in a grand prix - his haul coming in the Miami sprint.

Ricciardo missed out on his target to return to Red Bull for 2025 with Sergio Perez staying on as 1997 world champion Villeneuve slammed the Perth-native.

"Why is he still in F1?" Villeneuve replied when asked for his thoughts on Ricciardo on Sky Sports F1, where he is serving as a pundit for the Canadian GP.

"We've been hearing the same thing now for the last four or five years: 'We have to make the car better for him,' poor him, sorry, no, you are in F1 and maybe you make that effort for a driver like Lewis Hamilton who has won multiple championships, but you don't for a driver that can't cut it.

"If you can't cut it, go home and there is someone else to take your place.

"That is how it has always been in racing, it is the pinnacle of the sport and there is no reason to keep going and to keep finding excuses."

Ricciardo's 'image' key

1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Villeneuve also claimed that Ricciardo, a popular driver with fans, especially through his prominent role in Drive to Survive, has only remained in F1 because of his "image" and not the results delivered on-track. 

"You talk about that first season [at Red Bull in 2014], he was beating a [Sebastian] Vettel that was burnt out, was trying to invent things to make the car win and was just making a mess of his weekend," he continued.

"Then he was beating [Max] Verstappen when he was 18 years old and just starting and that was it. He stopped beating anyone after that.

"His image has kept him in F1 more than his actual results."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

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