Daniel Ricciardo ‘treading water’ on Red Bull dream as ‘best days’ behind him verdict cast

Jamie Woodhouse
RB driver Daniel Ricciardo looks serious in Saudi Arabia.

Daniel Ricciardo looks serious.

Formula 1 World Champion Alan Jones fears Daniel Ricciardo’s “best days” have been and gone, warning he must do a lot more if he is to return to Red Bull, or land any “more competitive” drive.

There was a great deal of intrigue and momentum surrounding Ricciardo heading into the F1 2024 campaign, as he embarked on a season with Red Bull’s rebranded junior team that is seen as an audition for a 2025 return to the senior squad, though said audition has not got off to a positive start.

Daniel Ricciardo ‘treading water’ with Red Bull return on the line

Ricciardo has been outqualified by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda at the opening rounds in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, while the latter race proved highly disappointing for Ricciardo who – albeit not helped by a 41-second pit stop – was outshone by Tsunoda and also suffered an unforced spin late in the race on his way to P16.

The Aussie has stressed that the situation can soon flip around, claiming RB has found some issues with their VCARB01 for which the fixes are known, though Jones, his compatriot and 1980 World Champion, fears the situation is growing increasingly precarious for Ricciardo.

Suggesting blaming the car is a recurring and not positive trend from Ricciardo, he warns that the 34-year-old needs to up his game heading into his home race at Albert Park, as those Red Bull return prospects are fading.

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Sergio Perez has started his bid to retain his Red Bull drive in fine fashion with back-to-back P2 finishes, following three-time World Champion team-mate Max Verstappen across the line on both occasions.

“I think [Ricciardo] would even agree with that,” Jones told the Herald Sun in regards to Ricciardo needing to improve. “Bad luck, or otherwise, I’m sure Daniel would like to have had better results than what he has had.

“At the end of the day, we can’t be blaming the car all the time, which has been a bit of a tendency in the past.

“I would love to see Daniel go extremely well in Melbourne, I would like to see Daniel go extremely well period.

“But I just think that his luck is going to have to change or he is going to have to lift his game if he has got any chance of getting back in that Red Bull team or getting back into a more competitive car.

“He is treading water. He really needs to have some very good results and put up a good show, he can’t be dwelling down where he is.

“I hate to say it, but I think we have seen the best days [from Ricciardo]. He has had his bum in a few decent cars, irrespective of what people say.

“The Alpine or the McLaren, the car that he is in right now… at the end of the day he has got to start beating his team-mate for a start.

“I would love him to become super competitive and be up there challenging in the points, but I just think that maybe a couple of things have got to change before we see that.”

Ricciardo and his RB team are still searching for their first point of the F1 2024 campaign.

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