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Daniel Ricciardo uses Sebastian Vettel example as he cites consistency issue


Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo chat on the grid. Abu Dhabi, December 2021. Credit: Alamy

Daniel Ricciardo has compared his P7 Mexican Grand Prix to Sebastian Vettel’s recent “phenomenal races” who have asked pundits and fans if he is retiring too soon.

Neither Ricciardo nor Vettel will be on the 2023 Formula 1 grid, but for very different reasons.

As the German decided to retire from the sport his lackluster Austrian Grand Prix would have been the final straw, Ricciardo was left without a racing seat.

Amid a disappointing second season with McLaren, the Australian and his team bosses have agreed to end their partnership two years into his three-year deal.

The timing meant there were no seats available in the top teams, with Ricciardo not keen to join Haas at the bottom end of midfield.

He responded to those who suggested a year on the sidelines wouldn’t lead to a 2024 comeback with a “Driver of the Day” performance at the Mexican Grand Prix.

“I still know that I can [get the job done]”, he told Motorsport.com. “It’s difficult when you can’t do it week after week.

“It’s a bit like Vettel the last few races – he’s had phenomenal races and then people are like ‘is it time to retire?'”

During Vettel’s recent run of points from Singapore to the United States, pundits asked him if he decided to retire too soon. The German said no, he made his decision and he sticks to it.

“I think we can all still do it nowadays,” Ricciardo continued. “Obviously it’s just consistency for some reason.

“But I still love him. And I still want to go to the front.

Consistency, however, has been sorely lacking for the Honey Badger, who has just six top-10 results in 20 races.

Sitting on 35 points, he is 76 points behind his teammate Lando Norris.

“I guess it’s better late than never,” Ricciardo said of his performance in Mexico.

“I’m going to take it for what it is, I’m going to enjoy it and appreciate that we did our pace and it was great and whatever.

“I hope that means it will be like that for the next two races. Not to be negative, I don’t even want to look ahead, I just want to take it for what it is. And I hope that we have learned something from it.

“Even the finishes in the points, even probably last year, I feel like we were defending rather than attacking. So just to have an attacking race, and especially for me with this car to feel that I can attack a bit more with it, it’s just a nice feeling.

Can Daniel Ricciardo end his McLaren days in the points?

As the saying goes, “a swallow doesn’t make a summer”, and a performance worthy of a rider of the day doesn’t get a Honey Badger back in shape.

After all, one race before Mexico, at the United States Grand Prix, he failed – and failed miserably.

In a race where Ricciardo comes into its own, the Texas atmosphere suiting the driver’s personality, he couldn’t get out of Q1 and finished penultimate on Sunday.

Austin’s run was arguably the lowest point of what has already been an uninspiring season.

Worse still, it made him lose his smile as he said of his 2022 “when you think it can’t get any worse, it does”.

There is probably not a single person in the paddock, apart from the Alpine team, who does not want to see Ricciardo leave in style with points in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

However, such has been his lack of consistency and understanding of the McLaren, even a point in either would be a long shot.

Read more: McLaren not closing door on having Daniel Ricciardo as reserve driver

The Daniel Ricciardo article uses the example of Sebastian Vettel as he cites a consistency issue that first appeared on Planetf1.com.

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