Daniel Ricciardo makes brutal assessment of former driver’s F1 career – “He was the happiest guy six months earlier”

AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo has spoken out about Nyck de Vries for the first time since replacing the Dutchman midway through the season, claiming that he’s no sure Nyck has it in him to compete in the top level of motorsport.

The 28-year-old de Vries had a forgettable tenure in F1 and was promptly replaced by Ricciardo midway through the season and although some drivers choose to be cautious with their words, Ricciardo was pretty blunt in his assessment.

Daniel Ricciardo. Credit: therace.com
Daniel Ricciardo. Credit: therace.com

Speaking on the Beyond The Grid Podcast, Ricciardo spoke about the manner in which he returned to the grid following a fruitless run with McLaren.

It goes without saying that F1 is a ruthless sport and with the potential of only 20 drivers competing in it, it is imperative that everyone is on the top of their games and also has the right skillset.

As far as Ricciardo is concerned, he saw an absence of that in Nyck, who unfortunately wasn’t even given the privilege of completing a full season in the pinnacle of motorsport, with his tenure cut short after just 10 races.

While Ricciardo does harbour sympathy for Nyck, he said AlphaTauri’s decision made complete sense to him.

“Yes, because I’d been through it less than a year earlier. I understood it, you know, but it’s all very subjective. Did he have enough time? Maybe not.

“Were his results good enough? Maybe not.

“But, maybe it’s just what I’ve been through, and I’m in my mid-thirties now, we’ve all put so much into this and I know Nyck has put so much into his career.

“Obviously, he finally got a chance and it didn’t work out. Six months earlier, he’s probably the most excited he’s ever been to start a race season.

“Six months later, he doesn’t have a race seat. So I feel for him and anyone in that position, because your dream can start and ultimately kind of finish or be derailed in a short amount of time.”

Although Ricciardo was more than happy to get an entry into F1 after his spell at McLaren, his ambitions are greater than simply seeing out his days at AlphaTauri.

The Honey Badger knows that the seat alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull will soon be vacant.

Given that the duo enjoyed a healthy partnership back in the day, it is noted to be Ricciardo’s immediate goal to ensure that he puts himself in the best position to assume control of playing wingman to Verstappen once again.

Of the two drivers who could potentially land the role, Ricciardo is perhaps better placed than Yuki Tsunoda, and this is largely to do with his already established relationship with Max coupled with the added experience he will bring to the team owing to his long career in F1.

Read more: “When I got there”: Former F1 boss recalls ridiculous setup at Alpine where team was void of certain pivotal divisions

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