Villeneuve Issues Ruthless Verdict On Daniel Ricciardo During Live Broadcast

Saturday, 08 June 2024 at 11:30
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The 1997 Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve issued a brutal verdict on Danial Ricciardo during the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix weekend.
F1 headed to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the ninth round of the season—the Canadian Grand Prix. Jacques Villeneuve is the son of Gilles, after whom the circuit is named.
For this weekend's special occasion, he joined Sky Sports commentators. The former F1 driver and World Champion obviously discussed multiple topics and will discuss many more during the weekend, and he is not afraid to express ruthless opinions, especially when it comes to F1 drivers.
Speaking about the RB driver, the fan-favorite Daniel Ricciardo, Villeneuve started by asking why he is still in F1. He told Sky Sports on a live broadcast:

"Why is he still in F1? We're hearing the same thing now for the last 4-5 years, 'We have to make the car better for him,' 'poor him.'"

"Sorry. It's been five years of that. No. You're in F1. Maybe you make that effort for a Lewis Hamilton, who's won multiple championships, you don't make that effort for a driver that can't cut it."

Perhaps the Canadian was also making the point that there is a long line of super-talented drivers waiting for their spot in F1 (like Liam Lawson), who might never get their chance if teams keep hanging on to their older drivers, even if they don't perform at their best.

"If you can't cut it, go home. There's someone else to take your place. That's how it's always been in racing, it's the pinnacle of the sport. There's no reason to keep going and to keep finding excuses."

The 53-year-old then also went on to suggest that Ricciardo's career wasn't special to begin with. The Honey Badger joined Red Bull in 2014.
Ricciardo beat Sebastian Vettel right in that first season, which the former F1 driver labels as Vettel not being at his best, and then he lost to Vettel in 2015.

"You all talk about that first season or first two seasons. He was beating a [Sebastian] Vettel that was burnt out, that was trying to invent things with the car to go win and just making a mess of his weekends."

In 2016, Ricciardo was joined by young super talent Max Verstappen. The Australian driver had the upper hand in 2016 and 2017, but when he lost in 2018, he left the team to Renault. Villeneuve added:

"Then he was beating, for half a season, [Max] Verstappen when Verstappen was 18 years old – just starting. That was it. He stopped beating anyone after that. I think his image has kept him in F1 more than his actual results."

It is worth pointing out that Villeneuve forgot to mention Ricciardo's two years in Renault, during which time he beat Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon (both of whom are on the grid this year as well).
Since then, the 34-year-old Australian driver hasn't managed to beat his teammate. In 2021 and 2022, Lando Norris had the upper hand. In 2023, Ricciardo raced only seven races.
In 2024, Ricciardo is losing a head-to-head battle with Yuki Tsunoda ahead of the ninth round of the season in Canada, 1- 6 in Grand Prix results and 1-7 in qualifications.