It has now been a full year since Daniel Ricciardo has raced for the Renault F1 team in the 2019 season, since he left Red Bull. Sadly, his maiden season with the French outfit has been fairly underwhelming to say the least. To that end, two-time Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen recently opened up on the Australian’s plight.
He admitted that it was sad to see a driver of Ricciardo’s calibre, stuck in a non race-winning car, barring a miracle. Ricciardo took a massive gamble when he unexpectedly elected to Renault after moving from Aston Martin Red Bull Racing last winter. The Australian admitted at the start of the 2019 season that the target is wins and podiums in the near future.
Unfortunately though, they ended the 2019 season behind rivals, McLaren, who ended their near 5-year podium drought.
The highest position that Ricciardo reached, was an impressive P4 at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza earlier this year. It was a far cry from a year earlier, where he won the Monaco Grand Prix when he was racing for Red Bull. However, Mika Hakkinen rates Ricciardo’s talents very highly and was disappointed to see him fall so far down from grace.
“I think it’s a shame to see him (Ricciardo) in a place where he can’t win. If you come from a winning position and you start in a team that loses, that is frustrating. Ricciardo is a very positive boy but you have to avoid doubting yourself. That nothing is wrong with his qualities but that it is wrong with the car,” Hakkinen divulged in a Unibet podcast.
With teammate Nico Hulkenberg fairing no better, their on-track performances seriously dented Renault’s constructors’ championship hopes. While they were ahead of customer team McLaren, in 4th in 2018, they got leapfrogged by the Woking team.
Of course, Daniel Ricciardo did not help his own case when some of his trademark dive-bombs used to end up with bits and pieces of the car flying off. In his very first race itself, the Australian was out of contention at the race start when he ran over a drain and wrecked his front wing.