Infotainment Factory: The moment Ricciardo's Red Bull dream died

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Thursday, 22 November 2018

The moment Ricciardo's Red Bull dream died


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It was a move that promised so much, but when Daniel Ricciardo ends his five-season tenure at Red Bull this weekend it will be a case of what might have been for the Australian ace.

When Ricciardo was announced as Mark Webber’s replacement at Red Bull in September, 2013, he was joining the team that had won the last four world championships. In the hands of Webber and Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull had won 41 of the last 75 races.

“Next year I'll be with a championship-winning team, arguably the best team, and will be expected to deliver,” Ricciardo said at the time.

Unfortunately for Ricciardo, his arrival at Red Bull coincided with a change to Formula One’s engine regulations, and while he may have had the best handling car, he was saddled with a Renault power unit that was underpowered and unreliable.

https://twitter.com/danielricciardo/status/1064949394989039617

As Mercedes cleaned up, winning five consecutive world titles with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, Red Bull and Ferrari were left to fight over the scraps.

This weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix marks the 100th time Daniel Ricciardo will race a Red Bull Formula One car. Wide World of Sports looks back at the highs, and the lows, of the last five seasons.

HIGHS

2014 Canadian Grand Prix

When Ricciardo joined Red Bull at the start of the 2014 season, the consensus was he would be playing second fiddle to four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. But while Vettel made an art-form during his championship years of controlling races from the front, the dominance of Mercedes in 2014 saw Red Bull fighting for the minor placings.

It took both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to have engine problems in Montreal for that to change and Ricciardo was there to pounce, passing Rosberg with just two laps remaining and becoming just the fourth Australian to win a grand prix.

“I'm still in shock. This is ridiculous,” Ricciardo said.

“Amazing.”

 

2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

If Ricciardo’s first win in Canada was a shock, his second in Hungary came courtesy of an epic drive that saw him pass both Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages.

By running a long middle stint, Ricciardo was able to make a late switch to fresh rubber and scythe through the field in the closing stages, quickly earning him a reputation as someone who could get the job done when it counted. Having taken the lead with two laps remaining in Canada, he did likewise in Hungary, running in the lead for just the final three laps.

And while a lot of elite sports stars don’t let their hair down when they’re successful, Ricciardo proved he knew how to celebrate.

“I’ve been lucky to win two races in really good party towns and I intend to enjoy it.”

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

Tensions in the Mercedes garage finally boiled over onto the track, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg involved in an incident that left Hamilton with a puncture and Rosberg with a damaged front wing.

Unlike his two previous wins, Ricciardo didn’t have to make a late pass for the lead, controlling the race through the pit stops to give himself an outside chance of snatching the world title from either of the Mercedes drivers.

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

After two years without a victory, Ricciardo returned to the winner’s circle in Malaysia when Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes engine gave up the ghost 16 laps from the finish.

After frustration earlier in the season in both Spain and Monaco, it was a relieved Ricciardo who greeted the chequered flag, following an intense battle with Max Verstappen.

The ‘shoey’ was a little more tempered following this victory, which came almost two years to the day after an accident that claimed the life of close friend and fellow driver Jules Bianchi.

“It was definitely a life-changing moment – the loss of Jules – as competitor and a friend,” Ricciardo said.

“That was hard to take.”

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Another crazy race that saw Sebastian Vettel penalised for deliberately crashing into Lewis Hamilton during a safety car period, with Ricciardo coming through the field from 10th on the grid to claim another surprise win.

A crash in qualifying meant the Aussie started from the midfield, and an unscheduled early pitstop dropped him down to 17th at one point. But Ricciardo’s supreme overtaking skills once again came to the fore, and with Hamilton delayed by a loose headrest, and Vettel penalised 10 seconds for his safety car antics, the Red Bull driver found himself on the top step of the podium.

 

2018 Chinese Grand Prix

A tactical masterstroke from Red Bull gave Ricciardo his first win of 2018 at the Chinese Grand Prix. A safety car just over halfway through the race gave the Australian an opportunity to pit for fresh tyres, and despite lacking power compared to the leading cars, Ricciardo was able to pass Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and finally Valtteri Bottas to record a remarkable win.

“I don’t seem to win boring races,” said Ricciardo.

“That was unexpected. It was hectic.”

2018 Monaco Grand Prix

After the disappointment of Monaco 2016, Ricciardo had a point to prove in 2018, topping the timesheets in every practice and qualifying session to claim a dominant pole position.

Despite leading in the early stages of the race, it appeared the Australian’s Monaco curse had struck again when the Renault engine started to lose power just a third of the way through the race.

But there was to be no denying Ricciardo, who drove faultlessly to join Mark Webber and Jack Brabham as the only Australians to win in Monaco.

“Two years in the making and I finally feel redemption has arrived,” Ricciardo said.

LOWS

2014 Australian Grand Prix

What should have been a triumphant debut for Red Bull turned sour, and at Ricciardo’s home grand prix no less.

The first race of the 1.6 litre turbo engines was bound to be marked by unreliability, and with both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel sidelined after just a handful of laps the race was wide open.

Ricciardo finished second, and became the first Australian to stand on the podium at home since the race gained world championship status in 1985. But a few hours after the race came the news that Ricciardo had been disqualified for a fuel-flow irregularity, and stripped of the second place finish. He's still seeking that elusive 'official' home podium.

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

The race where Ricciardo lost his status as the number one driver within Red Bull. A driver switch between Red Bull and Toro Rosso saw the underperforming Daniil Kvyat moved to the junior team, with 18-year-old Max Verstappen promoted alongside Ricciardo. The Red Bull drivers qualified third and fourth, and when Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were eliminated after colliding on the opening lap, Ricciardo found himself in the lead.

But in a controversial move, Red Bull chose to pit Ricciardo three times for fresh tyres, against two for Verstappen. The Dutchman went on to become the youngest ever winner of a grand prix, while Ricciardo limped home in fourth after a late puncture added insult to injury.

With Verstappen established as the new star of F1, Ricciardo faced the prospect of no longer having the full support of his team.

“I'm a bit devastated. A big part of me is happy the team are on winning form but it's hard to celebrate,” he said after the race.

2016 Monaco Grand Prix

On the face of it, a second place finish in Monaco looks out of place on a list such as this. But just a fortnight after Max Verstappen announced his arrived at Red Bull with a win in Spain, Ricciardo was looking to re-assert his dominance within the team. And it was the team that let him down. Badly.

After taking the first pole position of his career, Ricciardo was called into the pits midway through the race, only to find the tyres weren’t ready for him. As he sat fuming, he was passed by Lewis Hamilton, and on the tight streets of the principality that was the ball game.

“Just save it. Nothing you could say could make it any better,” a furious Ricciardo told the team on the radio immediately after the race.

“Two weekends in a row I've been screwed now. It sucks. It hurts,” he said when interviewed on the podium.

2017 Australian Grand Prix

Ricciardo’s home curse continued in 2017, when he endured a nightmare weekend at Albert Park.

A crash in qualifying left him on the back foot, followed by a grid penalty for a gearbox change, and finally engine failure midway through the race.

“Sorry mate. Car is done. Let’s get the f--- out of here,” he said over the radio, clearly well and truly fed up with Melbourne.

2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

The first rule of motorsport is to avoid crashing into your teammate, but the fractious relationship between Ricciardo and Verstappen deteriorated even further in Azerbaijan, when the two collided during the closing stages of the race.

Having already banged wheels twice during the race, Ricciardo attempted to pass Verstappen into turn one, and with Verstappen aggressively defending his position, the two Red Bull drivers made contact, eliminating both from the race.

Team boss Christian Horner was decidedly unimpressed, with both drivers forced to formally apologise to the whole team at the Milton Keynes factory prior to the next race.

2018 Mexican Grand Prix

It was seen as a golden opportunity for Red Bull to steal a win off the all-conquering Mercedes outfit, with the altitude of Mexico meaning the under-powered Renault engines wouldn’t be such a disadvantage.

And that’s exactly how it worked out, with Ricciardo and Verstappen locking out the front row, and Verstappen winning the race.

For Ricciardo, it brought nothing but disappointment, a mechanical issue causing his eighth retirement of the season while fighting Vettel for second place.

“I don't think frustration is the word anymore,” he said afterwards.

“Everything feels hopeless.

“Honestly, now where I am, I don't see the point of coming on Sunday, I don't see the point of doing the next two races.

“I haven't had a clean race or weekend in so long. I'm not superstitious or any of this bull----, but the car's cursed. I don't have any more words.”

It was a move that promised so much, but when Daniel Ricciardo ends his five-season tenure at Red Bull this weekend it will be a case of what might have been for the Australian ace.

When Ricciardo was announced as Mark Webber’s replacement at Red Bull in September, 2013, he was joining the team that had won the last four world championships. In the hands of Webber and Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull had won 41 of the last 75 races.

“Next year I'll be with a championship-winning team, arguably the best team, and will be expected to deliver,” Ricciardo said at the time.

Unfortunately for Ricciardo, his arrival at Red Bull coincided with a change to Formula One’s engine regulations, and while he may have had the best handling car, he was saddled with a Renault power unit that was underpowered and unreliable.

https://twitter.com/danielricciardo/status/1064949394989039617

As Mercedes cleaned up, winning five consecutive world titles with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, Red Bull and Ferrari were left to fight over the scraps.

This weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix marks the 100th time Daniel Ricciardo will race a Red Bull Formula One car. Wide World of Sports looks back at the highs, and the lows, of the last five seasons.

HIGHS

2014 Canadian Grand Prix

When Ricciardo joined Red Bull at the start of the 2014 season, the consensus was he would be playing second fiddle to four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. But while Vettel made an art-form during his championship years of controlling races from the front, the dominance of Mercedes in 2014 saw Red Bull fighting for the minor placings.

It took both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to have engine problems in Montreal for that to change and Ricciardo was there to pounce, passing Rosberg with just two laps remaining and becoming just the fourth Australian to win a grand prix.

“I'm still in shock. This is ridiculous,” Ricciardo said.

“Amazing.”

 

2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

If Ricciardo’s first win in Canada was a shock, his second in Hungary came courtesy of an epic drive that saw him pass both Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages.

By running a long middle stint, Ricciardo was able to make a late switch to fresh rubber and scythe through the field in the closing stages, quickly earning him a reputation as someone who could get the job done when it counted. Having taken the lead with two laps remaining in Canada, he did likewise in Hungary, running in the lead for just the final three laps.

And while a lot of elite sports stars don’t let their hair down when they’re successful, Ricciardo proved he knew how to celebrate.

“I’ve been lucky to win two races in really good party towns and I intend to enjoy it.”

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

Tensions in the Mercedes garage finally boiled over onto the track, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg involved in an incident that left Hamilton with a puncture and Rosberg with a damaged front wing.

Unlike his two previous wins, Ricciardo didn’t have to make a late pass for the lead, controlling the race through the pit stops to give himself an outside chance of snatching the world title from either of the Mercedes drivers.

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

After two years without a victory, Ricciardo returned to the winner’s circle in Malaysia when Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes engine gave up the ghost 16 laps from the finish.

After frustration earlier in the season in both Spain and Monaco, it was a relieved Ricciardo who greeted the chequered flag, following an intense battle with Max Verstappen.

The ‘shoey’ was a little more tempered following this victory, which came almost two years to the day after an accident that claimed the life of close friend and fellow driver Jules Bianchi.

“It was definitely a life-changing moment – the loss of Jules – as competitor and a friend,” Ricciardo said.

“That was hard to take.”

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Another crazy race that saw Sebastian Vettel penalised for deliberately crashing into Lewis Hamilton during a safety car period, with Ricciardo coming through the field from 10th on the grid to claim another surprise win.

A crash in qualifying meant the Aussie started from the midfield, and an unscheduled early pitstop dropped him down to 17th at one point. But Ricciardo’s supreme overtaking skills once again came to the fore, and with Hamilton delayed by a loose headrest, and Vettel penalised 10 seconds for his safety car antics, the Red Bull driver found himself on the top step of the podium.

 

2018 Chinese Grand Prix

A tactical masterstroke from Red Bull gave Ricciardo his first win of 2018 at the Chinese Grand Prix. A safety car just over halfway through the race gave the Australian an opportunity to pit for fresh tyres, and despite lacking power compared to the leading cars, Ricciardo was able to pass Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and finally Valtteri Bottas to record a remarkable win.

“I don’t seem to win boring races,” said Ricciardo.

“That was unexpected. It was hectic.”

2018 Monaco Grand Prix

After the disappointment of Monaco 2016, Ricciardo had a point to prove in 2018, topping the timesheets in every practice and qualifying session to claim a dominant pole position.

Despite leading in the early stages of the race, it appeared the Australian’s Monaco curse had struck again when the Renault engine started to lose power just a third of the way through the race.

But there was to be no denying Ricciardo, who drove faultlessly to join Mark Webber and Jack Brabham as the only Australians to win in Monaco.

“Two years in the making and I finally feel redemption has arrived,” Ricciardo said.

LOWS

2014 Australian Grand Prix

What should have been a triumphant debut for Red Bull turned sour, and at Ricciardo’s home grand prix no less.

The first race of the 1.6 litre turbo engines was bound to be marked by unreliability, and with both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel sidelined after just a handful of laps the race was wide open.

Ricciardo finished second, and became the first Australian to stand on the podium at home since the race gained world championship status in 1985. But a few hours after the race came the news that Ricciardo had been disqualified for a fuel-flow irregularity, and stripped of the second place finish. He's still seeking that elusive 'official' home podium.

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

The race where Ricciardo lost his status as the number one driver within Red Bull. A driver switch between Red Bull and Toro Rosso saw the underperforming Daniil Kvyat moved to the junior team, with 18-year-old Max Verstappen promoted alongside Ricciardo. The Red Bull drivers qualified third and fourth, and when Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were eliminated after colliding on the opening lap, Ricciardo found himself in the lead.

But in a controversial move, Red Bull chose to pit Ricciardo three times for fresh tyres, against two for Verstappen. The Dutchman went on to become the youngest ever winner of a grand prix, while Ricciardo limped home in fourth after a late puncture added insult to injury.

With Verstappen established as the new star of F1, Ricciardo faced the prospect of no longer having the full support of his team.

“I'm a bit devastated. A big part of me is happy the team are on winning form but it's hard to celebrate,” he said after the race.

2016 Monaco Grand Prix

On the face of it, a second place finish in Monaco looks out of place on a list such as this. But just a fortnight after Max Verstappen announced his arrived at Red Bull with a win in Spain, Ricciardo was looking to re-assert his dominance within the team. And it was the team that let him down. Badly.

After taking the first pole position of his career, Ricciardo was called into the pits midway through the race, only to find the tyres weren’t ready for him. As he sat fuming, he was passed by Lewis Hamilton, and on the tight streets of the principality that was the ball game.

“Just save it. Nothing you could say could make it any better,” a furious Ricciardo told the team on the radio immediately after the race.

“Two weekends in a row I've been screwed now. It sucks. It hurts,” he said when interviewed on the podium.

2017 Australian Grand Prix

Ricciardo’s home curse continued in 2017, when he endured a nightmare weekend at Albert Park.

A crash in qualifying left him on the back foot, followed by a grid penalty for a gearbox change, and finally engine failure midway through the race.

“Sorry mate. Car is done. Let’s get the f--- out of here,” he said over the radio, clearly well and truly fed up with Melbourne.

2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

The first rule of motorsport is to avoid crashing into your teammate, but the fractious relationship between Ricciardo and Verstappen deteriorated even further in Azerbaijan, when the two collided during the closing stages of the race.

Having already banged wheels twice during the race, Ricciardo attempted to pass Verstappen into turn one, and with Verstappen aggressively defending his position, the two Red Bull drivers made contact, eliminating both from the race.

Team boss Christian Horner was decidedly unimpressed, with both drivers forced to formally apologise to the whole team at the Milton Keynes factory prior to the next race.

2018 Mexican Grand Prix

It was seen as a golden opportunity for Red Bull to steal a win off the all-conquering Mercedes outfit, with the altitude of Mexico meaning the under-powered Renault engines wouldn’t be such a disadvantage.

And that’s exactly how it worked out, with Ricciardo and Verstappen locking out the front row, and Verstappen winning the race.

For Ricciardo, it brought nothing but disappointment, a mechanical issue causing his eighth retirement of the season while fighting Vettel for second place.

“I don't think frustration is the word anymore,” he said afterwards.

“Everything feels hopeless.

“Honestly, now where I am, I don't see the point of coming on Sunday, I don't see the point of doing the next two races.

“I haven't had a clean race or weekend in so long. I'm not superstitious or any of this bull----, but the car's cursed. I don't have any more words.”

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