'F*** you guys': The moment Daniel Ricciardo knew he had to leave Red Bull

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

Formula One is a harsh and brutal sport - nobody knows this more than Daniel Ricciardo.

The loveable Australian’s bombshell move from championship contenders Red Bull to midfield hopefuls Renault at the end of the 2018 season shocked most in F1 at the time.

It was a gamble that, in it’s first season, didn’t pay off.

Renault fell short of their goal to compete with the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes fell short, worsened by the fact they were clearly out-raced by customer team McLaren.

At the conclusion of a frustrating first year with the French manufacturer, Ricciardo was a guest on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, where he opened up about what spurred his shock defection in the first place.

His answer? The infamous crash with then teammate Max Verstappen at the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Ricciardo had battled past Verstappen in the early stages of that race, but pit stop strategy left him behind his young rival, irking the usually affable Aussie.

After it was confirmed by the team that he’d had to pass his teammate a second time, Ricciardo said that was when he began asking himself questions.

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen and Renault's Daniel Ricciardo attend the drivers parade ahead of the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix race at the Yas Marina Circuit. (Photo by Jure Makovec/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“I was in the moment and you’re battling and yes it’s a teammate but you also see everyone as a competitor. Teammate or not we’re going to race hard and it is what it is,” Ricciardo said.

“I pitted first and then Max had come back out in front of me, so then I was furious because I’d put all the hard work in and now he’s back in front of me.

“So now I was like surely you’re going to let me go this time because we’re going to have the same result.

“I came on the radio and did say something and my engineer just said ‘you’re racing Max’, which means no team orders, you’ve got to do it again.

“I still believe, I mean I’ve let it go, I sold him the dummy so there was enough room originally on the inside and then he closed it and then we crashed.

“At the time of impact I’ll be honest I was like ‘who cares, they deserve this’. That was my honest feeling, I wasn’t sad I just lost points it was more just anger and I’ll say it now but I was like ‘f*** you guys’.

Red Bull exit ‘nothing personal’: Ricciardo

Despite his feelings after the crash at Baku, Ricciardo found himself feeling conflicted after a fairytale victory at the Monaco GP several weeks later.

Ricciardo admitted on the podcast that he wondered if he was overreacting to Baku after the Monaco win, but once his emotions settled he realised switching teams was the correct decision.

“Certainly the week after that yeah, I decided in my mind that I need to move on,” Ricciardo said.

“But then you go Monaco a month later and I have the highest of highs and I’m like ‘I was just emotional in Baku’.

“I felt like I gave it enough time and there wasn’t enough progress in the five years to show that we would get back to the front, I mean like winning like Mercedes are doing.

“So I felt like the ability to become more frustrated was higher in an environment which I saw was a little bit of a stalemate as opposed to Renault which was on the end and gave me a chance to clear my head as well.

“It was nothing personal to Red Bull or even the personnel, I built some amazing relationships in that team but it was just the picture as a whole seemed less appealing.”