Damon Hill highlights big Daniel Ricciardo mistake since returning to F1 grid

Mark Scott
Daniel Ricciardo checks out the view from the AlphaTauri garage in Zandvoort

Daniel Ricciardo: Back in the fold at Red Bull.

1996 World Champion Damon Hill believes Daniel Ricciardo has made a mistake putting all his eggs in the Red Bull basket after returning to F1.

The Aussie driver was supposed to be taking an initial one-year sabbatical from F1 after his time with the McLaren F1 team came to an end a year earlier than planned.

But, after Red Bull had seen enough of Nyck de Vries to dispense of his services after just 10 races into the F1 2023 season, Ricciardo was brought back into the fold at AlphaTauri following an eye-catching test at Silverstone.

Damon Hill: Daniel Ricciardo should have kept options open

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

Ricciardo’s F1 career is now back on hold again after he sustained a broken hand in a Friday practice crash at Zandvoort and was ruled out for the rest of the weekend and, although unconfirmed at this stage, possibly the next race or two on the calendar.

But, speaking more generally about Ricciardo’s return, Hill is of the opinion that the eight-time race winner should have kept all of his options open on the F1 grid rather than just commit himself to the Red Bull family.

“He’s got a chance and you’ve got to be in it to win it, he’s got a chance to show what he can do,” Hill said on Sky Sports F1.

“I would not personally have said ‘I’m just thinking Red Bull’, I would say “I’m here to compete, and I want every opportunity that can come my way,”’ said the Briton to Sky Sports.

“It’s fine, you can show that loyalty, you can say that ‘I’m extremely grateful to Red Bull for giving me another chance and I’m going to show them what I’m worth. You don’t have to say ‘I’m going to stay here for the rest of my life’.”

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Daniel Ricciardo makes his intentions clear

Six months ago, Ricciardo had no interest whatsoever in returning to F1 for the long term but, ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix weekend, he has performed a complete 180 on that mindset.

“I’m definitely taking it race-by-race but in terms of where I’m at, I’m not just saying ‘oh yeah, I’m just going to finish racing this season and then see what happens’,” Ricciardo told media, including PlanetF1.com, at the Dutch Grand Prix.

“I want to be racing for a few more years now. I think six months ago that was not my answer.

“I didn’t know what my answer was and that was something I was really trying to find out during this time off but coming back in, I’ve described it to some people like it feels like me ten years ago.

“I feel like I do have that young energy again and that motivation and ultimately that happiness and that love to be back on the grid and to be racing.

“So yeah, the plan in my head is a few more years – but as far as… performance-wise, I take it race by race.”

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