Daniel Ricciardo hit by new blow after underwhelming display at Australian Grand Prix

Ricciardo's hopes of winning a seat at Red Bull appear to be slipping by the day.

Daniel Ricciardo's hopes of rejoining Red Bull appear to be getting slimmer by the day, following another underwhelming display at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. Ricciardo was forced to start in 18th place after being penalised for exceeding track limits in qualifying, and only managed to finish the race in 12th place out of the 16 cars to complete the GP.

The Aussie driver was again outpointed by his Visa CashApp RB teammate Yuki Tsunoda, who crossed the finish line in eighth (but was later promoted to seventh after a 20-second penalty for Fernando Alonso) and has now beaten Ricciardo in all three races so far this season. The Japanese driver is also 3-0 up in qualifying results against his teammate and Ricciardo admitted before the race at Albert Park that he couldn't understand why his car was so much slower.

Seen here is Daniel Ricciardo at the Australian Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo has plenty of questions to figure out after another disappointing display at the Australian Grand Prix. Pic: Getty

Compounding the situation for Ricciardo are comments from Red Bull's chief adviser Helmut Marko, who offered a glowing assessment of Tsunoda after the Australian GP. Marko praised the growing "maturity" of Ricciardo's teammate, who has been criticised in the past for being too hot-headed and not making the best decisions on track.

Red Bull's chief advisor drops Daniel Ricciardo reality check

"Yuki ran perfectly from the first lap on Friday and set very consistent and good times in today's race," Marko said after Sunday's race. "When (Nico) Hulkenberg attacked, he immediately countered... I think we have confirmed that Yuki is an absolutely mature driver."

Marko's Red Bull are the parent team of Tsunoda and Ricciardo's Visa CashApp RB outfit and the Austrian holds plenty of sway when it comes to who will partner Max Verstappen in 2025. Both Tsunoda and Ricciardo have designs on grabbing that seat at Red Bull next year but Marko admits the Aussie is well behind his teammate at the moment.

"He's struggling," Marko said about Ricciardo. "We'll have to see. There were some good signs in the Bahrain test, but the last few races haven't been going too well. I think Ricciardo needs a safe and confident car. I hope the team can give him that so he can at least be on par with Yuki."

Pictured left to right are Daniel Ricciardo and teammate Yuki Tsunoda.
Daniel Ricciardo's teammate Yuki Tsunoda has easily outpointed the Aussie F1 driver so far this season. Pic: Getty

Daniel Ricciardo searching for answers with F1 car

Ricciardo said he was "puzzled" as to why he couldn't extract the same speed out of his car as Tsunoda during qualifying, even taking away his elimination for exceeding track limits when all four tyres on his car left the track between turns 4 and 5. Ricciardo's speed looked better during Sunday's race but the Aussie concedes there is still plenty for he and the team to work on.


"It's probably a two-part process now," Ricciardo said. "There's obviously me diving into the data, seeing even with driving technique; why am I doing this? Is it because of what I feel? I'm then trying to respond or correlate that to the data and talk to the engineers why I'm doing something and then ask them questions...

"I wouldn't say there's any panic. I would have loved the season to have started better but we'll just keep digging. The car hasn't changed a lot since last year, it's an update, but its characteristics are very similar.

"I think there's some confidence in that. It's not that we've changed everything and all of a sudden this car suits Yuki and it doesn't suit me. I certainly don't feel it's anything like that. I do think we'll find something. I thought it would be this weekend, maybe it's next, and if it's not the next we'll keep going until it happens. It will happen."