Daniel Ricciardo seemed to be in a mood to boast about his driving prowess recently. As it turns out, Ricciardo believes that if he was in Mercedes, he would have put up a better fight to Lewis Hamilton than any other team-mate.
The Australian parted ways with Red Bull at the end of 2018, in favour of a Renault seat in 2019. Admittedly, the French outfit were not expecting to challenge the top three this season. Unfortunately, the team fell way below it’s targets, taking until the United States GP to record back-to-back double-points finishes.
In the meantime, Lewis Hamilton stormed to his sixth World Championship, ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas. Daniel Ricciardo was convinced that if he was in the other Mercedes W10, he could have made Hamilton sweat even more than Bottas.
“I won’t sugar coat it: I’ll say yes,” Daniel Ricciardo told Sky Sports F1. “That’s because I have that belief in myself. It’s not targeted at Valtteri or anyone else in that car who didn’t win.”
In his repertoire, he can be proud of the fact that he has one high-profile scalp, namely Sebastian Vettel. The Perth-born driver had the measure of the German in his maiden season with Red Bull in 2014.
Ricciardo spoke quite highly of Max Verstappen recently, in the wake of criticism by Hamilton and Vettel. However, he did confess that the Dutchman often moved under braking, which could be problematic.
Next season Ricciardo have a new teammate at Renault, in the form of Esteban Ocon. He admitted that it is deja vu for him, back when the young and hungry Verstappen arrived in the team.
“He’s a slim boy, the slimmest driver I’ve ever seen in my life,” Ricciardo said. “I’ll be kind of going back to the scenario I had with Max. I’m now the old guy in the team but I’m not coming into it with my guard up [against him].
“I’m coming in knowing if we both do what we’ve got to do, we’ve got a chance to bring this team forward to where we both want it.”