After a bad race, Helmut Marko always demonstrates his frustrations with either Daniel Ricciardo or Max Verstappen. Ricciardo claims this is what he’ll miss the least as he moves from Red Bull to Renault next season.
When the Dutchman crashed in Monaco, the camera turned to Marko’s face in the garage. His look spoke volumes as to what he’s like when a mistake is made.
“The calls from Helmut Marko after having a bad race. That’s what I’m going to miss the least. That and all the activities of the team in the cold,” the Australian said on ‘the Red Bull sofa’.
After spending five seasons with Red Bull, and a further three with Toro Rosso, Ricciardo’s departure will hit hard. He confirms he is going to miss the environment as he moves into a new chapter.
“Red Bull is, of course, a worldwide phenomenon and with the necessary contacts. Now you can go somewhere and you know that you will get in and that everything will be arranged for you. I think I will miss that,” Ricciardo added.
A part of Daniel Ricciardo’s mind is still not entirely sure he’s done the right thing in leaving Red Bull for Renault.
It would be an immense achievement if it could make up a lap’s-worth of performance on Red Bull from one year to the next. But on the other hand it gets Daniel out of further direct comparison with Max Verstappen. The Dutchman is only going to improve his all-round game further and will be further embedded within the team.
It was always going to be difficult to counter that and retain his number one credentials rather than fall into a support driver role.
But Ricciardo’s new frame of reference, Nico Hülkenberg, is hardly going to be a pushover. Hulk’s fresh off a season in which he emerged ahead – in both qualifying and race – of Carlos Sainz. These comparisons shouldn’t be given absolute authority regarding the respective levels of team-mates because there are so many variables.
It was telling, for example, not long after Sainz first joined Renault at the tail end of 2017 that Hülkenberg, having had a chance to study the telemetry, was saying privately that he was confident he would prevail over Sainz because the Spaniard’s driving style, which was very different to his own, would not be suited to the traits of the cars that Enstone was producing and developing.
Sainz was saying much the same in Abu Dhabi a couple of weeks ago prior to his final race for the team – that there was a trait in the car that gave it an inherent imbalance when he tried driving it the way he naturally wanted to, that its rear instability often prevented him squeezing the last couple of tenths from himself.