Martin Brundle’s ‘never same again’ Daniel Ricciardo verdict amid Jacques Villeneuve war of words

Jamie Woodhouse
RB driver Daniel Ricciardo ahead of the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix

RB driver Daniel Ricciardo

Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle weighed in on the spat between Daniel Ricciardo and Jacques Villeneuve across the Canadian Grand Prix, suggesting Ricciardo “never seemed the same driver again” after leaving Red Bull.

Ricciardo has found the F1 2024 campaign tough going at times, his first full season back on the grid since re-joining the Red Bull family. Ricciardo has largely struggled up against team-mate Yuki Tsunoda at second team RB leading up to the Canadian Grand Prix, a race carrying various storylines relating to his future.

Martin Brundle traces Daniel Ricciardo struggles back to Red Bull exit

Ahead of the Canadian GP, Red Bull announced a new two-year contract for Sergio Perez, closing the door for now on that dream return for Ricciardo, while during the race weekend, RB confirmed Tsunoda for the 2025 season.

Ricciardo also had some scathing criticism from 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve to contend with, which led to a verbal back and forth between the duo across the event, Villeneuve suggesting Ricciardo – who he told to “go home” – had made it “personal” with his fiery response.

Brundle was keen to stress his “respect” for both as he weighed in on the saga as part of his Sky Sports column, claiming that Ricciardo “never seemed to be quite the same driver again” after leaving Red Bull at the end of 2018, calling that a “flawed decision” as the better approach, in Brundle’s opinion, would have been for Ricciardo to stay and battle the rising star Max Verstappen.

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“For the record, as it’s become a hot topic due to my Sky Sports F1 colleague Jacques Villeneuve expressing his firm opinions, I have fundamental respect for all F1 drivers, not least for Daniel and Jacques, because I know how hard it is to drive such fearsome cars under that spotlight,” Brundle wrote.

“Daniel has won eight GPs including an outstanding Monaco victory, scored 32 podiums, and has regularly shown world-class talent. But those results were quite a while ago and I wish he’d not left Red Bull at the end of 2018.

“That was an emotional and flawed decision, he should have faced up to Max in the best car, then he’d have necessarily raised his game even further.

“Ricciardo never seemed to be quite the same driver again. He clearly still does have speed and race craft, as we witnessed also in the Miami Sprint, but something in his psyche or approach is holding that back and it’s costing him opportunity and longevity.”

Ricciardo went on to deliver arguably his strongest performance of the season in Canada, securing P5 on the grid and finishing the race P8, his first top 10 grand prix result of the season.

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