F1 commentator Ted Kravitz summed up the feelings of the motorsport world on Sunday when he told Daniel Ricciardo it was "sad to see" him without a drive. Ricciardo was conspicuously absent from the grid at the Australian Grand Prix, with the Aussie driver in a reserve role for Red Bull this year.
Ricciardo was axed by McLaren in 2022 despite having one year remaining on his contract, with compatriot Oscar Piastri replacing him. Ricciardo has since returned to Red Bull in a reserve driver role behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, but revealed last week that he hopes to back on the grid in 2024.
'ABSOLUTE JOKE': Uproar over chaos at Australian Grand Prix
Nevertheless, Kravitz was still saddened to see Ricciardo mingling around the Red Bull garage and sitting on the team's pit wall throughout the Australian Grand Prix, rather than actually driving. Kravitz ran into Ricciardo during a roaming TV segment and said to the Aussie: “Just a tip. I’m not sure you look good on the pit wall."
Ricciardo replied: “I look good in these colours though right?” Kravitz then said: “You do (look good), but don’t go on the pit wall. It wasn’t a good look. It made me sad.”
Ricciardo then dropped a telling comment, saying: “Did I look a bit lonely? It’s alright. I can do it for a year. It’s alright. It’s not forever.” Kravitz described Ricciardo's line as somewhat of a 'bombshell' after it gave another clear indication that he wants to be back in a full-time drive in 2024.
“I just get the sense that he’s starting to feel it a little bit,” Kravitz said. “He’s starting to feel the pain of not being a Formula 1 driver.
“I saw 'Danny Ricc' on the Red Bull pit wall watching the sessions and he looked to be in pain and he looked to be hating it. You don’t want to be there Danny Ricc. You don’t want to be there watching everyone go around doing what you used to love.
“It’s not a good place. Don’t do it. Don’t be on the pit wall. It’s much better for Danny Ricc to be in with the engineers which is where he’s been for all the other times, not on the pit wall.”
Daniel Ricciardo won't be coming back for a non-contender
Ricciardo also posed for a photo with retired tennis champion Ash Barty on Saturday. The photo showed two of Australia's greatest athletes who aren't exactly doing what they love anymore.
Speaking on Saturday, Ricciardo reiterated that he sees himself returning to the grid in 2024, but won't settle for a team who can't contend. “One thing I want to get out of this year is, yes, I want to know what I want, but I also know what I don't want,” he said. “And I think I can already answer that.
“I don’t want to go back to ground zero. I don’t want to just be on the grid to be on the grid and struggle in 18th place. I don’t want to be on the grid at all costs or at any cost.
“I also know myself that yes, it’s harder to then just jump straight into a top team in terms of availability, but I know that that’s where I want to be. I thrive in those situations when there is more on the line and I think at this point in my career, that real hunger and motivation to race at the front, that’s all I really want. I know it probably makes it even a little harder to get to, but that’s where I’m looking."
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