Former F1 driver David Coulthard thinks that Daniel Ricciardo is in the same category of drivers as the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel, as the Scot thinks Ricciardo could cause some upsets at the French team.
The 29-year-old has had an incredible spell of bad luck this season, as he’s racked up eight DNF’s already in the first 20 races. The last one in Mexico, a day after his second pole position of the year, was particularly heart-breaking, with Ricciardo being visibly affected by it in front of the press.
During the summer, the Aussie decided to call it a day at Red Bull at the end of the year. He’s spent ten years in the program and five years at Red Bull Racing, but he’ll make the switch to Renault in 2019, partnering up with Nico Hülkenberg.
“You just saw that it was the right time for Daniel to switch teams,” Coulthard was quoted by Formule1.nl.
“The internal duel with Max Verstappen was becoming harder and harder for him.”
Even though many people think of Renault as a step down from Red Bull, Coulthard thinks that the French team could be on the rise. They all but secured the ‘best of the rest’ title this season and have big financial backing to keep growing.
“It’s a works team and they really invest,” the 13-time Grand Prix winner explained.
“The fact that they’ve signed Daniel proves that. That was no bargain and it’s a sign of what Renault’s intentions are.
“People write them off but something could happen.”
With Ricciardo, Renault have the right driver to build with, Coulthard thinks. The Scot believes the Honey Badger is right up there with the likes of Hamilton, Vettel and Verstappen in terms of driving ability.
“If you’re producing a movie, the key to success is picking the right actor for the right part.
“Here, you have Lewis Hamilton as the superstar, Max with his attacking driving style and Sebastian Vettel with his German winning mentality. Ricciardo belongs in that bracket.
“The fact that in years past someone like Fernando Alonso hasn’t been able to be the protagonist in a non-competitive car is bad for the sport, but it’ll be better for Daniel at Renault.”