Daniel Ricciardo recently claimed what was his 8th race victory in Formula 1 at Monza after having literally led the race from lap 1. And this particular result arrived in a season where he certainly wasn’t the fastest driver on the track amidst much bigger competitors like Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Hence, one might wonder, does Ricciardo deserve a world championship title? Well, Ricciardo reckoned that he had what it takes to be a world champion in 2014 when he was driving for Red Bull Racing. Lewis Hamilton ultimately won the title but, Ricciardo ended up securing P3 in the championship.
What did Daniel Ricciardo say?
During a podcast, Ricciardo opened up that he could have won the title in 2014 had he possessed a car as dominant as Mercedes.
“That’s a good question. I’d say yes. But, I don’t wanna come from a bitter standpoint where, you know, ‘damn it! I should have had this… Like, why don’t I have the big trophy?’,” Ricciardo said while featuring in the ‘Beyond the Grid‘ podcast.
Race winner Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and McLaren F1 and McLaren Chief Executive Officer Zak Brown celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
“I don’t come at it from that angle. But, I’d go back to 2014. In my head, my belief is that, yeah, I could have won the world title that year if we had the means to do so. I think for me to win three races when Mercedes were so quick, I’m like, Ok, I believe in equal equipment. I was the guy to beat that year.”
Ricciardo expresses discomfort with his previous statement
The Honey Badger reckoned that he wouldn’t want to be the driver who relied on ifs and buts rather than sticking with reality. Hence he did ultimately reveal that he wasn’t better than Lewis Hamilton in 2014, yet personally one of his strongest F1 seasons.
MPole position qualifier Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
“So, there are years that have gone where I’m like, if everyone had equal equipment this year, I believe I was on a level that would have gotten me a world title. But, I don’t look at that. I mean, even talking about it, I don’t actually feel good about it because I don’t wanna come at it like well, yeah, better than Lewis,” he said.
Overall, Ricciardo is still a driver who is capable of challenging the top runners for the title. Of course, impossible as of now, but, 2022 and the following years could well mix things up, and considering McLaren’s evident resurgence in recent years, the former champions could find themselves at the top of the table soon.
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