Is Ricciardo trying to ‘do a Lewis’ – or just get away from Max?

2018 F1 season

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What was behind Daniel Ricciardo’s shock decsion to quit Red Bull, the team he has been part of for 11 years, and throw his lot in with Renault?

Was it a creeping sense that in Max Verstappen, Red Bull has a new favourite son? Did Ricciardo see himself as becoming the Mark Webber to Verstappen’s Sebastian Vettel?

The relationship between the pair had been fairly harmonious until this year. Verstappen arrived in a blaze of potential and stunned Formula 1 by winning his first race for the team.

Ricciardo has consistently out-scored his team mate. Over the opening races of this season, when at times Verstappen couldn’t get through a weekend without getting caught up in some scrape or other, Ricciardo racked up the points and looked like a potential title contender until a string of technical problems did for him.

There was one other costly loss of points, of course: Baku, where Ricciardo went up the back of Verstappen’s car while trying to overtake him, taking both out. Red Bull were quick to tell the media they considered the pair equally responsible for the incident – pre-empting the stewards’ investigation which, unsurprisingly, stuck to the same interpretation.

But Ricciardo cannot have been happy with how hard Red Bull allowed Verstappen to race him in the laps leading up to the collision, including a wheel-banging incident which could have put both out of the race. At the time of the final collision he’d already passed Verstappen once and had good cause to feel frustrated the team were leaving him to do it again after an unfortunately timed pit stop had put Verstappen back in front of him.

Then there was the qualifying incident at the Red Bull Ring. This odd squabble over which driver should have the benefit of running in the slipstream of the other appeared to originate entirely with Ricciardo. But the fact he chose to make a point of it, and turn it into an issue on the track, suggested something was up.

By then Red Bull had already announced their impending switch to Honda power for next season. Ricciardo arrived at Red Bull in 2014 just in time to miss the team’s multiple world championship-winning Renault V8 and be lumbered with Renault’s far less competitive V6 hybrid turbo. Yet he clearly fancies sticking with that more than using a Honda which on its best days seems only as good as the Renault.

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There’s more to it than that, however. Renault is a factory-backed team, and drivers understand the value of that alignment in the current era of manufacturer dominance.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013
Hamilton timed his move to Mercedes perfectly
Ricciardo has been fielding questions about his coming decision for months. After the Honda deal was announced, he gave this insightful assessment of the merits of moving to a team such as Renault. He compared it to Lewis Hamilton’s 2012 decision to join Mercedes – a call which, in retrospect, was indisputably a masterstroke:

“McLaren and Renault aren’t there today but maybe they will be there in a year or three years’ time. You never really know. Lewis pulled the trigger pretty well, whether he fluked it… he says that he really knew what was going to happen, I don’t know.

“Whether he fluked it or not obviously he’s done well for himself with that move. Whether it’s just a fantasy for everyone else I don’t know but at least there’s a little bit of proof that something like that could potentially happen again.”

With doors closed at Mercedes and Ferrari deciding between Charles Leclerc and Kimi Raikkonen, for Ricciardo the decision boiled down to Renault versus Honda.

“I think it’s fair to say they’re both on the up,” he said. “It’s just who’s going to get there quicker, that’s the unknown.”

“Obviously Red Bull believe Honda’s the right ones.” And equally obviously, Ricciardo does not.

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Quotes: Dieter Rencken

2018 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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Posted on Categories 2018 F1 season, Daniel Ricciardo, Max VerstappenTags , ,

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  • 182 comments on “Is Ricciardo trying to ‘do a Lewis’ – or just get away from Max?”

    1. ColdFly (@)
      4th August 2018, 9:00

      Ricciardo arrived at Red Bull in 2014 just in time to miss the team’s multiple world championship-winning Renault V8

      I quite like Renault in F1 and they’ve had some deserved successes. But putting so much credit for the 2010-14 on Renault is too flattering. Those were the days of the equalisation rules; Renault received free lien every year to catch up with Mercedes and Ferrari who were constantly technically ahead.
      I’m glad those days are over. The PU is an important part of a F1 team; they are even pay of the official entry name. Success should be earned through good independent technical development; not through freebies from FIA.

      1. SO you’re just going to ignore the exhaust blown diffuser that Renault perfected and made it so no other team could touch the Red Bull?

        1. Quite the opposite @name! That is exactly what I mean.
          Where Ferrari/Mercedes were stronger (HP) Renault was allowed to equalise. But where renault was better/smarter (blown diffuser) the rest had to catch up on their own strengths, whereas Renault was allowed to develop further.

          IMO the PU equalisation period in F1 was not a ‘may the best win’ period; glad it’s gone.

        2. The exhaust blown diffuser is in the car. Not in the engine. The red bull chassis was the best using the exhaust gasses for downforce.

          1. True but it was the engine trickery that created the dense fuel-loaded exhaust to give the diffuser the effective oomph (technical term). Don’t you remember the machine gun rattle as the Redbulls entered a corner?

          2. Yeah but Renault had by far the best engine mapping to make it work.

          3. TeselOfSkylimits
            5th August 2018, 15:51

            Not quite.
            Blown diffuser is mainly aerodynamic, but in order to get most of it, you need to develop engine mapping as well. Renault was best in developing the “hot blowing”. Simplified, hot blowing means firing engine even on braking, but timing the spark in a way that it develops as little power as possible, while still exhaust pipe air flow.

      2. @coldfly, Mercedes and Ferrari were ahead in some ways, but in some other areas Renault was the one that was ahead of Ferrari and Mercedes – in terms of heat rejection and operating temperatures, there were components on Renault’s engine that could withstand slightly higher operating temperatures and therefore required slightly less cooling.

        Mercedes and Ferrari might have had a slight power edge – although considerably less than Horner falsely claimed – but that also came with a fuel consumption penalty, with Renault’s engine being slightly more fuel efficient. I believe that Newey was cited as saying that, when it came to his particular design philosophy, the Renault engine was his preferred package overall because there were advantages in terms of packaging, cooling requirements and so forth that lent themselves better to his philosophy.

        If anything, there is an argument that the Ferrari V8 was the weakest package overall in those years – there was a paper by the University of Cologne that suggested the Ferrari V8 only produced 5bhp more than the Renault V8 whilst having the highest fuel consumption in the field, with the increased fuel consumption outweighing the benefits of the slight power advantage.

        1. No, what you are saying is trollop I’m afraid. Even Newey says in his book that the Renault was consistently 5% down on HP in the V8 era.

      3. Hamilton said another team approached him whilst he was uncommited. I wonder if that team was Renault, and if Riccardo was their second choice? Just a thought, but if they believe they have new tech which can challenged for places it would make sense to seek out the best drivers to capitalise on that next big thing.

        1. He is loser and lier. He can cheat only his dog to be with him but tempory if course. Once he changes his voice again, put additiinal tattoes, neither dog would be able to recognize him.
          Future blondie…

          1. Such bile. Why so bitter?

          2. R.I.P English

          3. Incoherence and Bigotry. Two bitter tastes often found together.

    2. Michael Ward
      4th August 2018, 9:09

      “Is Ricciardo trying to ‘do a Lewis’ – or just get away from Max?” correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Daniel leading Max in the championship at the moment, and last season as well. With more wins and more points it seems he wouldn’t need to “get away” from Max, he seems to be at least a match for him so far.

      1. What is meant by “get away from Max” is that MV is the favoured one with Red Bull, not DR, and no matter what DR does, out qualifies, more points etc. won’t mean anything to the Helmut Marko. He loves Max!
        Also, which we don’t know, if DR wasn’t offered as good a contract as MV has, that effectively makes him the number 2 driver, even the he continues to outperform MV at every level.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          4th August 2018, 10:31

          @chrisr1718 yeah, Daniel’s new contract was probably lower than Max’s. Unfortunately he didn’t have as much negotiating power because there were no open spots at Ferrari and Mercedes.

          I can’t see Daniel wanting to race for less money than a 20 year old and that might have forced Daniel to go to another team.

          1. @freelittlebirds, I wonder if Red Bull took a harder negotiating stance because of what happened with Verstappen’s contract negotiations though.

            Lauda is said to have told Marko – seemingly with considerable glee – that Verstappen tricked him into heavily overpaying for him in the last contract negotiations because Verstappen fooled Marko into thinking that Mercedes were much more interested in signing Verstappen when it seems they had no interest in him.

            In turn, it was suggested that, having been fooled once, Marko was taking a much harder stance to show that he wouldn’t be fooled again – but it looks like he went too far the other way and seemed to underestimate how interested Renault really were in Ricciardo.

            If that is the case, then Red Bull have botched both sets of negotiations – overbidding for Verstappen’s services by falling for his deception and bidding against a team that weren’t interested in the first place, then going the other way and underestimating the interest in Ricciardo from other teams and overestimating how keen he’d be to stay with them.

            1. Lauda has since admitted that story is nonsense and that they did make a firm offer for Verstappen last year. Odd how that doesn’t fit your narrative though.

            2. @hahostolze, whilst Lauda has said that there were talks, he doesn’t mention that a firm offer was made to Verstappen – it’s the journalists who have reported on the story who seem to have then assumed that an offer was made, and hence how they reported it, rather than Lauda himself saying that.

            3. You seem to miss the point. The lauda story wad total nonsense and the base for your fantasy. So….

        2. VER has consistently shown more potential than RIC – and he knows it. Qualifying results and race pace statistics are clear on that.
          RIC has more points than VER, true, but that is down to reckless driving from VER (which he can learn from) and technical failures, both of which are ‘fixable’. Purely speedwise, I don’t think anyone really favours RIC except die hard VER haters.

          I think RIC fancies his changes of becoming WDC more with Renault for the simple reason that IF his team manages to produce a winning car, he can be confident of beating his teammate there. At RB, not so much.
          Either that or Renault simply outbid RB financially by such a considerable margin he couldnt say no. And who could blame him for that.

          1. Chris Lloyd…DR outperforms MV at every level…..Really? Which driver has won more races based on merit, rather than a leader dropout? I believe that Max wins that contest without a doubt.

        3. Chris Lloyd…..DR outperforms MV at every level……really? Which driver has won more races based on merit, rather than when a leader drops out. I believe that Max win’s that contest, without a doubt.

          1. Which driver has won more races based on merit, rather than when a leader drops out. – That would be Ric. MV only won when front runners retired or had to go to the pits bc of damage. You also had Mal ’17, in which Ham chose to let MV go in order to secure his 4th WDC. Now have a look at DR: HUN’14, CHN’18 and MON’18. Also don’t forget about MON’16 which was his until.. Sure, having lady luck at your side with SC’s helped him, but how else could one win ‘on merit’ with the RB in those years?

            I believe that Max win’s that contest, without a doubt. – Yes, I believe you when you say that you believe so. But bare in mind you don’t see the world as it is, bc you’re tainted with orange glasses.

          2. I hope this works out well for Dan, he does need to be in a factory team as a number one driver (as much as l like Nico) l hope he can also get few engs/ tech people to go with him and build a front row team.
            If he beats Max again this year which l believe he will, he will leave RB as their unbeaten driver in the current era..a huge achievement considering he was never treated as a number 1

          3. $$$$$You seem to miss the point. The lauda story wad total nonsense and the base for your fantasy. $$$$

            Stop submitting a nasty pieces of work an your imagination. Accept the truth.
            Listen and read carefully information given by higher ranking and more informed people.

      2. It doesn’t matter. Verstappen is obviously faster than him. And quite a bit younger too.

        1. And reckless and not a complete F1 driver

        2. He is about 0.15 faster in quali, yet slower in the race, when it matters more. You, are obviously orange dutch.

          1. Nope, look at the stats.. almost every race he is faster then RIC and in front of him to be truly honest. Like the last race, VER was way better till his engine gave up.
            There must be something wrong with your glasses… do you wear them down under perhaps?

      3. Riccardo must believe Renault will fair better than Red Bull, eg they can challenge for third position behind the current leaders.
        He must have an idea what’s on the horizon for Red Bull and fancies his chances with Renault for that reason.

      4. Redbull can look forward to 1 to 3 years in 3rd so WDC wouldn’t be in play for Dan in the medium term. So he’d racing for fluke or slow track podiums & against his teammate only. He has and would likely continue to lead Max in WDC tally – the premium measure – but he’s paired with a talented kamikaze who would likely continue to edge him in qually leaving room for argument in the head to head and of course a chance at a better seat next time one comes up (not soon).

        1. I’ve never understood why people put such emphasis on qualifying, I really don’t. You get points on Sunday, not Saturday and when you’re talking .1 or .2 seconds over ONE LAP, it really is quite irrelevant.

          Ricciardo has constantly shown that he’s a better bet than Verstappen and is STILL leading Verstappen in the points this year despite the HUGE number of technical retirements Ricciardo has suffered this year compared to his over rated team mate.

          RedBull’s loss, Renault and Ricciardo’s win as far as I’m concerned.

          1. Red bull’s loss without a doubt, ricciardo is one of the top current drivers, they will never get a driver as good as him as replacement this year, renault’s win without a doubt, but I’m gonna say ricciardo’s loss, he’s going to a team 1,4 sec slower, that’s a lot, even if they improve, and will they?

    3. I do think Danny made the right decision. Bit of a gamble, yes, but Renault were always ambitious as a works team and they are going to get to a title eventually, the question is how fast. They’re in for the long run and they don’t threaten every other Thursday to abandon F1. Red Bull are in a weird situation right now. With this Aston Martin rubbish making the rounds (what Aston Martin, is there really such a brand?) they don’t have a clear strategy for the future, although Honda is def going to get better (and I’m pretty sure they’ll have a works team really soon, maybe by buying out someone small or just start from scratch). So yes, Renault is a wise choice. I can only feel for Nico Hulkenberg though, whom no-one writes about surprisingly in connection to that transfer. It means he’s going to end his career as a nr.2 driver and probably won’t have a chance to taste the sweet bubbly. If I were him, I’d go to Haas.

      1. I think the opposite regarding Hulkenberg. Like you say he’s at a works team (the reason Ricciardo has gone there) going to Haas would make no sense, and there is nothing to suggest that Ricciardo is going to come in a beat him.

        Hulkenberg has a very good record against his team mates, plus the weight limit change next year will benefit him. Think it’s going to be an exciting battle between them, possibly the best driver partnership on the grid next year

        1. Yeah I’m excited to see how the hulk compares. I believe that he’s an underrated driver, but if he keeps Danny on his toes, his stock will go up massively.

          As a Aussie, I’m naturally a Ric fan – but have always liked Hulkenberg. Pretty keen to see how it plays out.

          1. I’m a Hamilton fan, but I really like both Ricciardo and Hulkenberg. Both guys are pleasant, courteous and funny. They are also both amazingly talented. I have everything crossed for this to work for Dan :), and with this driver pairing I can see no reason why Renault can’t be a force to be reckoned with in a year or two.

        2. @burden93 Agreed. I’ve seen a few sources claim that DR is the de-facto #1 at Renault. I’m not so sure. Hulk has a very positive record against all of his team mates, with the exception of Perez who he had a similar pace to.
          However, this perfectly coincided with the 2014 regs, which as we know, led to most of the drivers effectively starving themselves to reduce their weight. Nico is one of the heaviest (ie. normal) racing drivers, so this period was particularly difficult for him.
          The new separated car/driver weights for next season will finally reduce the penalty of a heavy driver some more. It’s still a disadvantage, but a much smaller one.

          I think Nico could spring a surprise.

          1. I REALLY like the Hulk, but let’s be honest, Dan is probably going to give him a hiding. I really hope not, but I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going to happen. But the good think is that if the car improves and Dan really starts pushing them, it will drag the Hulk along too and I’m sure this will mean that we’ll see the Hulk finally get that podium!

            I love this pairing and hope that bringing Dan on board pushes both the team and the Hulk!

    4. Let’s face it. Even this year, if he was driving for Renault, Dan would more often than not be just 1 place behind where he is now at most tracks (Monaco & Singapore excepted)

      If Renault can improve their chassis for next year (and you never know they might actually do something about their PU now RBR has gone), he’s likely to be racing closer to where the RBR cars are, if not in front of them.

      There’s very little downside, he’s been perfectly clear that he wants to be racing for a WDC . The current two teams with contenders are a closed shop and unless Honda do something they haven’t done for decades, I’d suggest that Renault is the only team that is likely to be able to close that gap over the next few years.

      The pressure is now on Renault, his signing can’t have been cheap. Now they have to justify that to their accountants to get sign off on an even bigger budget to move forward. I’m sure some of that “future planning” has been discussed with Dan during negotiations – I’m expecting more Renault news as this season progresses.l

    5. From my observation, Verstappen seems to be generally faster than Ricciardo, but Ricciardo is more complete, I’d say the most complete driver in F1 currently. Who knows if that will change for Verstappen as he ages and becomes more experienced.

      Consider that Alonso is thought by many to have been his best in 2012, age 31 – Ricciardo is 29 now. In that sense, this move is similar to Alonso’s move to Ferrari in 2010 (except Alonso left Renault, and had 2 championships).

      If this doesn’t work out for Ricciardo then does his career risk ending in the same way Alonso’s is ending now? This has happened to many top drivers over the years.

      Hülkenberg is 31 in August. It’s a similar problem for him, except he’s never been able to get into a top team. Theoretically he should be able to benefit from a winning Renault too, but is stuck with little other options.

      1. Ricciardo is some way from being the most complete driver on the grid, in fact his recent record suggests the opposite – he lacks a smidgen of one lap pace vs the very fastest drivers and this would be true vs Vettel and especially Hamilton, both of whom have put together multiple title winning performances over multiple seasons. The likely reality for Ricciardo is once Verstappen has this season behind him, the expectation is Max would capitalise on his one lap pace advantage, when combined with improved reliability that would translate to him consistently beating Ricciardo because he will more often than not start races ahead. I think this is as much a reason for Ricciardo to change teams, as anything else it’s a brave move and I hope it pays off to 2020 and beyond.

        I find it remarkable that people can make these assertions when the evidence is in front of our eyes!

        1. Ju88sy (@ju88sy)
          Just to be absolutely sure, I double checked the driver standings for 2017 & this year. Riccardio finished ahead of Vesthappen in the point total last year, and is also ahead this year. So the idea that Vesthappen is the better driver, at least, when it comes to delivering point (which is what matters) is simply not true. Granted, Vesthappen is the more aggressive driver, is younger, so has more room to mature and grow, but Ricciardo is the more complete package right now. Is his move to Renault a risk, of course, but will Red Bull Honda to be so far ahead of Renault next year? I see no evidence of that. Maybe because of their chasis and aero, by 1 or 2 places on the grid but not more than that. If that is the case it is risk I feel he can take.

          1. Max is fast but not always gets the job done
            Ricciardo is not so fast (according to some), but consistent, steady and always gets the job done.

            If F1 was a woman i know which one she would choose

          2. @bon-bonjai My comment was focussed on the future and not what has happened to date. I am not disputing the current situation we are all aware of Ricciardo’s consistency vs Verstappen over the last 18months. This move is about creating a future as a team’s lead driver for Ricciardo, at Red Bull Verstappen is the faster driver by a touch, as consistency builds in Max that will translate to results and a foothold over Ricciardo, again for clarity, forget what has happened so far and think about the future over the next 2-3 seasons.

            1. Do you really think Ricciardo can’t take any single corner or a series of them or an entire lap at exactly the same speed as Verstappen? He doesn’t always because his butt tells him it’s too risky. The only way for Verstappen to “mature” is for him to (get sick of binning it and) slow down.
              To clear my own head on this – I don’t mind that he chooses this, I just hate his dangerous defensive tactics when someone else is faster than him. It’s not good driving and it isn’t even good entertainment.

        2. the expectation is Max would capitalise on his one lap pace advantage, when combined with improved reliability that would translate to him consistently beating Ricciardo because he will more often than not start races ahead

          @ju88sy That’s my assessment too and indeed already seems to be happening since Monaco, excluding the mechanical issues. Verstappen and Hamilton are more or less in the same bracket as aggressive, talented racers and fast. Verstappen has also learned to dial down the aggression to put in solid races when need be too. Ricciardo is almost as fast and certainly is a brilliant overtaker, most of the time. But that little bit of speed deficit to Verstappen means exactly that: more often qualifying second and being less and less able to count on Verstappen making mistakes for him to finish higher in the race. That’s tough given Ricciardo is probably in the top six proven drivers at present, maybe as high as third. So moving to another team makes a lot of sense. Obviously the unknown is whether Renault can deliver and equal or better car over the next couple of years.

          1. @david-br Thanks, that is nicely put and my thought exactly, not sure it came across in my original post!

        3. I find it remarkable that people can make these assertions when the evidence is in front of our eyes! – Hahahah. The evidence shows Ric has beaten Max soundly in the 3 years together. Problem is with you lot, the evidence tends to deform through your orange glasses, hahahahah.
          kanan, moi, erikje, hahostolze, anunaki, davidnotcoulthard, just to name a few, are all part of the orange propaganda machine that never seizes to amaze the very fabric of reality, hahahaha.

        4. @ju88sy, I have noticed that many of those faster qualifying laps put in by MV have been only a few thousandths of a second quicker than DRs lap, which to me shows more of a determination to beat his team mate, and take risks to do so, than an actual display of superior skill although the record will no doubt be taken to show superiority. For Red Bull marketing purposes a young (very) champion is the most effective as it is the teenagers they want to start buying their product, 1st Vettel could do no wrong and now it’s Max, although he has come close.