Daniel Ricciardo reveals regular Sebastian Vettel calls during 2022 struggles

Sam Cooper
Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo talk on the grid. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.

Former team-mates Sebastian Vettel, left, and Daniel Ricciardo, right, talk on the grid. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.

Daniel Ricciardo revealed that Sebastian Vettel frequently called him during his struggles in the 2022 season.

The German departed Formula 1 at the end of the season and did so with one of the best reputations as not just a driver, but also as a human being.

Many drivers highlighted the work he does off-track to bring more attention to causes he believes in while others have revealed some moments they shared with the four-time Champion.

Ricciardo is one of the latter and said that as his struggles with McLaren only got worse, despite being a rival driver, Vettel was one to check in on the Australian.

“He’s picked up the phone multiple times this year and just been a friend and just showing care and just checking in as a true friend will do,” Ricciardo said, as per Speedcafe.com.

“To have friends like that is so important, but it’s also not that common in terms of on the grid.

“We get on with drivers, and you do build friendships, but to have that deeper level of friendship… some gestures he made this year, and some of the kindness he showed towards me was, in a way, unexpected but just super since – super, super nice.”

Ricciardo’s traumatic year reached a low point during the summer break when rumours began to swirl that he was about to be replaced by fellow Australian Oscar Piastri.

That news was eventually confirmed and Ricciardo said he received frequent calls from the Aston Martin man.

“Obviously it had a bit more emphasis around the time of all the contract stuff happening when there was a lot of noise,” Ricciardo said.

“I don’t want to single him out because it was some other drivers, but he was the one that was certainly picking up the phone pretty often and checking in.

“On a personal level, some things that he’s done for me, yeah, just very, very appreciative of,” he said.

“I think he’s a very caring individual, cares about the sport as a whole, but also cares about us drivers.

“We’re all competitors, for sure, but I think he’s definitely able to separate that and just look out for us.

“And as a competitor, I think back to 2013 when he won every race in the second half of the season and it was just it was like a relentless approach.

“He just wasn’t satisfied, he just wanted to destroy the competition.

“And I felt like you could just see the raw competitor in him and that drive to not win, but to destroy, if you will.

“You had to admire and respect that.”

Ricciardo drove his last race for McLaren in Abu Dhabi and will now take up a role as third driver for his former team Red Bull.

Read more: Max Verstappen ‘felt’ for Lewis Hamilton but ‘hoped’ he’d understand after Brazil 2008