Jacques Villeneuve hits back at ‘personal’ Daniel Ricciardo comments as war of words continues

Michelle Foster
Jacques Villeneuve and Daniel Ricciardo

Jacques Villeneuve v Daniel Ricciardo was the big battle in Canada

Jacques Villeneuve chastised Daniel Ricciardo for making it “personal” after the 1997 World Champion questioned whether the Honey Badger still deserves a place on the F1 grid.

Villeneuve, on the mic for Sky F1 at the Canadian Grand Prix, didn’t hold back in his criticism of Ricciardo who has struggled to match his RB team-mate Yuki Tsunoda this season.

Jacques Villeneuve ‘got under’ Daniel Ricciardo’s skin

Stating that too many “excuses” had been made for the driver, he added: “If you can’t cut it, go home, there’s someone else to take your place.”

Ricciardo fired back, telling the media: “I heard he’s been talking s**t. But he always does. I think he’s hit his head a few too many times. So I don’t know if he plays ice hockey or something.”

Whether it was coincidence or Ricciardo was motivated by the criticism, the RB driver put in his best weekend of this season as he qualified fifth, before crossing the line in eighth place to score his first Grand Prix points of the campaign.

Villeneuve though, wasn’t impressed that Ricciardo got personal with him and chastised the 34-year-old for failing to be a better role model.

“His reaction was a little bit personal and he’s a role model,” said the Canadian. “Like all these 20 [drivers], you’re at the top level, you have to be responsible in your answers, professional.

“Kids are listening to you. You cannot make it personal.

“I’m happy to have learned that I knocked myself out too often playing ice hockey.

“But ultimately you will get criticism, you need a thick skin and I got under his skin but it got better for his driving. But it’s not enough, he needs to do more of this.”

He continued: “The pressure is on him. A lot of pressure was put on his shoulders, and it worked out. He’s had one good Sprint race in Miami, one good qualifying, that’s not enough for a full season, he needs more of that.”

Asked if he was standing by his comments, Villeneuve replied: “Yes.

“He was quick, but you’re only as good as your last few results. We need the same thing for the next few race weekends.”

More on the Ricciardo/Villeneuve feud

👉Daniel Ricciardo fires back at ‘talking s**t’ Jacques Villeneuve after live TV roasting

👉 ‘A driver that can’t cut it’ – Daniel Ricciardo torn apart by Villeneuve on live TV

Daniel Ricciardo is at ‘a very challenging point in his career’

Villeneuve’s fellow pundit for the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, Danica Patrick, wasn’t as keen to throw Ricciardo under the bus but concedes he is going through some “challenges”.

“He’s at a very challenging point in his career, falling down from great teams and spending time outside of the car during seasons and having injuries,” said Patrick.

“He even said the other day, I’m not 20 years old with the same focus, I have to be very focused on what it is that you want to do and there are other things that can take away from it so to be really, really buckled down on that.

“I think that you can see it, you can really see it this weekend. I feel Yuki obviously re-signing is probably a little bit painful.”

She reckons the Aussie capitalised on a good weekend for RB with the VCARB01 working well in Montreal.

“Both RBs are good this weekend. I think that the cars are handling well for them and they’re able to push it and this is a car that requires a pretty good balance and they feel like they have that,” she said.

Scoring two points in the Grand Prix, Ricciardo is up to nine for the season with RB P6 in the Constructors’ Championship on 28.

Read next: Canadian GP conclusions: Villeneuve v Ricciardo and Russell’s new nickname