Brundle: Ricciardo never the same after ‘flawed decision’


Sky F1’s Martin Brundle has shared his perspective on where Daniel Ricciardo stands in his F1 career following Jacques Villeneuve’s scathing criticism of the RB driver.

Villeneuve ignited a firestorm last weekend in Montreal when he called into question the 34-year-old Australian’s continued presence on the grid, suggesting that he owed his seat with RB in F1 to his marketing appeal rather than to his merits.

Unsurprisingly, Ricciardo didn’t take the criticism laying down, accusing Villeneuve of “talking shit” and suggesting the 1997 F1 world champion had a few too many bumps on his head.

The war of words escalated further when Villeneuve took offense at Ricciardo's personal attack.

“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.”

In his post-Canadian Grand Prix column for Sky Sports, Brundle addressed the acrimonious exchange between Villeneuve and Riccardo, expressing his respect for both drivers and offering his view on the Aussie’s achievements.

“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 added.

“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.”

While Visa Cash App RB has confirmed Yuki Tsunoda for 2025, Ricciardo’s future remains uncertain, especially as Red Bull has kept talented Kiwi Liam Lawson on its books as a reserve driver.

Ricciardo fate will likely depend on his ability to raise his game in upcoming races as he did in Montreal where he qualified fifth, three positions ahead of Tsunoda, and finished a creditable P8.

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