Daniel Ricciardo has responded to remarks made by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner about his departure from the team at the end of 2018.
The Australian decided to leave Red Bull after five seasons with the team. He won seven races with the team. The most memorable victory was at the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix, when he held back Lewis Hamilton despite suffering from a power unit issue for half of the race.
Ricciardo finished in third place in the Drivers’ Championship standings on two occasions, in 2014 and 2016.
Throughout his time at Red Bull, he was rated as one of the most consistent drivers in F1. In his debut season with the team, he got the better of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, recording 238 points to Vettel’s 167. He later spent three seasons as the team-mate of current reigning world champion Max Verstappen.
Throughout 2018, Ricciardo’s future at Red Bull came under question, with his contract due to expire. The Australian told reporters at that season’s British Grand Prix that it was “looking more and more likely” that he would remain with the team.
However, things can change fast in F1. He subsequently decided to join Renault for 2019. It was a decision that shocked the entire F1 paddock – including his then team principal.
How Ricciardo’s Red Bull departure panned out
At the time, Ricciardo stressed the need for a “fresh start” in F1. However, at least in terms of results, the decision did not work out well. Although Renault were, at times, the best of the rest behind Red Bull and Mercedes during Ricciardo’s two seasons there, they were not able to break the hegemony of the top two teams. His best results were a pair of third-placed finishes in 2020.
For 2021, Ricciardo moved to McLaren to replace Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz. Although he won the Italian Grand Prix, it was team-mate Lando Norris had the stronger season. He finished 45 points ahead of the Australian and lost the opportunity of a win at the Russian Grand Prix in the closing laps.
Red Bull, meanwhile, have clawed their way back to the top of F1. Verstappen won the Drivers’ Championship last season and is one of the leading contenders to win another title in 2022.
What has Christian Horner said about the exit of Daniel Ricciardo?
Speaking to News Corp earlier this week, Christian Horner hit out at Daniel Ricciardo over his timing and decision making in quitting Red Bull.
He said (quotes via Daily Mirror): “We put offers in front of him that were stratospheric. But Daniel could see Max [Verstappen] in the ascendency, and he didn’t want to become the second driver.
“His timing was spectacularly bad because obviously, he had doubts about the Honda engine. And then Honda went on to prove there it was a competitive unit and a race-winning package.”
Daniel Ricciardo clarifies the reasons behind Red Bull exit
Before this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, Ricciardo was asked about Horner’s comments.
He revealed to The Herald Sun: “Looking back, there’s nothing I regret or think I should have done differently. Right now, Red Bull are back on top and they’re fighting to be world champions again. I knew that would come around as well.
“There are also a lot of things internally with the team. It’s not just, ‘The car is fast, you should have stayed’.
“Obviously, I would love to win a world championship with McLaren and then say something like, ‘I told you’, or something like that. Of course, I appreciate until that happens then there will probably be that narrative with a lot of people. That’s okay, it doesn’t bother me.
“I also knew that it was going to come with the territory of leaving a big team. Obviously at the time, I felt like that was the right thing for me.”
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