Daniel Ricciardo given rev-up by former World Champion Damon Hill amid qualifying struggles

Jake Santa Maria
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Daniel Ricciardo has been urged to stop ‘fussing’ over the car.
Daniel Ricciardo has been urged to stop ‘fussing’ over the car. Credit: Peter Fox/Getty Images

It’s only round three of the Formula 1 season, but the pressure is piling on Daniel Ricciardo after a point-less start to his 2024 season.

The WA star has been out-qualified in every race by junior teammate Yuki Tsunoda, and while his race pace has been roughly equal, Tsuonda has six points to his name to Ricciardo’s zero.

After qualifying in 18th for his home Grand Prix, where he eventually finished 12th, reports emerged that Ricciardo had been given a two-race ultimatum to improve or be replaced by reserve driver New Zealand’s Liam Lawson.

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Ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, a home race for his Honda-powered team, Ricciardo denied any such action.

“In terms of the noise, people tell me like in the media, they’re like, ‘Oh, so-and-so said’ – it’s the first I’ve heard,” Ricciardo told Motorsport.com.

“It’s obviously no disrespect to (the media), but I know that I’m on this little process or journey at the moment and I just need to focus on myself.

“If I let any of the noise in, it’s going to kind of distract me from the path I’m on.”

1996 world champion Damon Hill believes Ricciardo needs to stop ‘fussing’ over the car if he is going to find his best again.

“At some point, you have to go to Daniel: ‘Listen, your career is about to evaporate. You just have to get over it and just drive this damned thing and not look for perfection. You’re never going to find it. It’s not coming. You’re going to have to find a way to drive this thing and wring its neck because you’re getting beaten’,” he told F1 Nation.

“Maybe he’s one of these drivers who’s matured too quickly, you get to the point where you become fussy about how you like your car.

“When they’re very young they don’t ask the question. Look at Ollie Bearman (in Saudi Arabia). They get one go. They don’t know anything else. They just drive.

“Once you’ve had lots of experience, sometimes the experience overwrites everything else and you’re looking for that good experience again in the set-up and feeling from the car when it’s not going to come because it’s a different car.”

Daniel Ricciardo’s career could ‘evaporate’
Daniel Ricciardo’s career could ‘evaporate’ Credit: Barnsiesphotos/RegionalHUB

Despite his poor start, Ricciardo remains a popular figure in his RB team, praising his technical input and feedback on the car.

Ricciardo is also at pains to insist he has not lost any confidence in himself or the car.

“I didn’t expect to start the season like this, I honestly thought that this year we would start a lot stronger.

“And just, unfortunately, the results haven’t made me feel awesome. But deep down behind the wheel, I do feel good and excited and just want to keep racing.

“And I’m sure I’ll find a bit more in myself, and I still believe maybe we’ll find a little something on the car.”

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