Daniel Ricciardo snubbed by F1 bosses in troubling review

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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  • Daniel Ricciardo
    Australian F1 racing driver
  • Lewis Hamilton
    Lewis Hamilton
    British racing driver
  • Max Verstappen
    Max Verstappen
    Dutch-Belgian racing driver
  • George Russell
    George Russell
    British racing driver
Daniel Ricciardo was overlooked in the rankings of the top 10 drivers for the 2021 season, as voted by the 10 F1 team bosses. (Photo by Andrea Diodato/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Daniel Ricciardo was overlooked in the rankings of the top 10 drivers for the 2021 season, as voted by the 10 F1 team bosses. (Photo by Andrea Diodato/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Despite breaking a near decade long winning drought for McLaren this F1 season, Daniel Ricciardo's difficult first year at his new team has undoubtedly affected his reputation.

After a hectic year of F1 which saw Red Bull star Max Verstappen beat Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton to the world championship on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi season finale, the 10 F1 team principals were asked to rank the drivers on the grid.

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Verstappen and Hamilton topping the list came as no surprise, nor necessarily the third rank being given to Ricciardo's young teammate Lando Norris.

Though he only finished sixth in the standings, Norris' suite of podium finishes and reputation as a potential champion-in-waiting saw his season rated highly by the team bosses.

Ricciardo was eighth in the standings, thanks in part to his breakthrough victory in the Italian GP, but his season spent coming to grips with the highly sensitive 2021 McLaren saw him noticeably lose some of his trademark pace, particularly in the early rounds of the season.

That loss of pace also saw him lose favour with F1's shot-callers, with the Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc and Alpine duo Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon all rated more highly.

Outgoing Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, Williams rising star George Russell and Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10, with Russell to replace Bottas at Mercedes for 2022.

The realities of his first season with McLaren weren't lost on Ricciardo, who said he was keen to apply the lessons learned this season next campaign.

The 2022 F1 season will see the introduction of a new generation of cars thanks to a rules revolution being implemented for the upcoming competition.

“Started not great, got better, but still with some dips,” Ricciardo said in an interview with Autosport

“Definitely happier with the second half. But there’s still some things to work on, so I’m not, like, overwhelmed with it.

“Let’s say I made a step, but clearly I still need to make another one next year to get where I want to be, and probably more (in qualifying) just to give me that track position for Sunday and keep me out of a little bit more of a mess. So that’s what I’ll work on.”

Ecclestone tips Lewis Hamilton to quit F1

Former Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone believes Lewis Hamilton will retire from the competition due to the disappointment of losing the world title in a dramatic season finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton was denied a record eighth world title in agonising fashion after Max Verstappen passed him on the last lap to collect his maiden F1 championship.

The victory was a controversial one, though, after FIA race director Michael Masi came under fire for his interpretation of rules relating to lapped cars under safety car conditions in the closing stages.

The decision to allow the lapped cars that separated Hamilton and Verstappen to pass the safety car before it returned to the pits was a contentious one and Mercedes launched two appeals before electing to drop their case.

Ecclestone does not believe Hamilton will return for the 2022 season, which starts in Bahrain in March.

Lewis Hamilton is 'disillusioned' with Formula One after the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says.. (Photo by Irwen Song ATPImages/Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton is 'disillusioned' with Formula One after the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says. (Photo by Irwen Song ATPImages/Getty Images)

"I don't think he is coming back, I think he will not race next year," Ecclestone told Blick.

"His disappointment in Abu Dhabi was too big and I understand him. Now, tied for seven titles with Michael Schumacher, it is the perfect time for him to fulfil his dream and be a fashion entrepreneur."

If Hamilton does return to the track to attempt to reclaim the world title, Ecclestone thinks the Briton may struggle to continue his recent domination of the sport.

"Lewis could only lose in 2022," said Ecclestone. "Who knows how the new cars will reposition the field? With George Russell he would have an ambitious team-mate, of whom I am not as convinced as many experts, by the way.

"And then we don't forget about Verstappen. With him, Hamilton has finally found an equal opponent after many years."

With AAP

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