Formula One: Daniel Ricciardo savaged by former world champion Jacques Villeneuve

Headshot of Aaron Kirby
Aaron KirbyThe West Australian
Daniel Ricciardo has had a tough run in the last five years.
Camera IconDaniel Ricciardo has had a tough run in the last five years. Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

West Australian Formula One ace Daniel Ricciardo has been on the receiving end of a scathing spray from 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve.

The outspoken Canadian is one of Ricciardo’s staunchest critics, and after another lacklustre start to a season, he unleashed both barrels on the 34-year-old.

Villeneuve questioned why the Australian was still in the sport and said his team, RB, needed to stop making excuses for his poor performances, with Japanese teammate Yuki Tsunoda beating him comfortably.

“Why’s he still in F1? Why?” Villeneuve said as a guest expert on Sky Sports’ coverage of the Canadian Grand Prix.

“We are hearing the same thing now for the last four or five years. ‘We have to make the car better for him’. Sorry, it’s been five years of that. No, you are in F1.

“Maybe you make that effort for Lewis Hamilton whose won multiple championships. You don’t make that effort for a driver who can’t cut it.

“If you can’t cut it, go home; there’s someone else to take your place. That’s how it’s always been in racing; it’s the pinnacle of the sport.

“There’s no reason to keep going and to keep finding excuses, and you all talk about that first season or first two seasons, he was beating a Vettel that was burnt out, that was trying to invent things with the car to go win and just making a mess of his weekends.

“Then he was beating for half a season Verstappen when Verstappen was 18 years old, just starting, that was it, he stopped beating anyone after that.”

Villeneuve didn’t stop there, effectively calling Ricciardo’s career overrated.

“I think his image has kept him in F1 more than his actual results,” he added.

Outside of a fourth-place finish in the Miami sprint race, the Australian has struggled to finish higher than 12th.

Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01.
Camera IconDaniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01. Credit: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images

There have been persistent rumours that Kiwi Liam Lawson would replace Ricciardo, but the move is yet to happen, and the official line from RB and Red Bull has been that they are happy with the Australian’s improvements.

However, with Red Bull confirming Mexican Sergio Perez had resigned with the team to remain world champion Max Verstappen’s teammate, it leaves Ricciardo little options going forward, especially if he were to be released by RB.

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