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Ricciardo was keen to halt Hulkenberg's early-season confidence

  • Published on 20 Dec 2019 09:55
  • comments 3
  • By: Dieter Rencken & Fergal Walsh

Daniel Ricciardo says he eager to stop Nico Hulkenberg gaining too much confidence in their intra-team battle early on in the 2019 season.

The two formed Renault's driver line-up this year, with Ricciardo joining the team after spending five years at Red Bull, where he picked up seven race wins.

The Australian made the surprising call to switch to the Enstone squad in search of a new challenge, pairing up with Hulkenberg, who was at Renault since 2017.

MOREOcon not disappointed to miss out on 2020 Mercedes seat

Despite the difficult year for the French manufacturer, which saw it end the constructors' championship in fifth place, Ricciardo affirms that he never stooped to a point where he regretted his decision to leave Red Bull. 

"I never actually got to the point where I thought 'what have I done?'. At the start of the year, after Bahrain, I was a bit down," Ricciardo admitted. 

"Albeit, it was only the second race of the year, but I was more down on my performance. It's not that easy to bring this car up. 

"I think the reality of me reaching my potential in a car that was difficult, at times I was like 'this isn't going to be as easy as I thought'."

However, Ricciardo soon picked up confidence as he eased himself into his new team, stating that he wanted to stop the more experienced midfield driver of Hulkenberg gaining too much momentum.

"But then a couple of weeks later in Shanghai, that was a good weekend, it was a best of the rest weekend. So it quickly turned around. 

"After Bahrain, it didn't get to a point where I was questioning it, but more myself," Ricciardo said. "With Nico alongside me, he's experienced, he's been in the midfield pack for a long time. 

"I could already see that and I thought 'I can't let him build too much confidence early' because it's just going to get harder for me. So I was aware I had to figure it out quickly."

MOREGPToday.net's 2019 F1 driver rankings - #9 - Daniel Ricciardo | GPToday.net's 2019 F1 driver rankings - #12 - Nico Hulkenberg

Replies (3)

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  • Dert38

    Posts: 357

    Le coq sportif...

    • + 0
    • Dec 20 2019 - 12:50
  • Ricciardo didn't get enough credit for his performance this year. I understand why though..
    Renault tends to do that to drivers. But people seem to forget how often Ricciardo beat the McLaren or at least one of them. For the midfield it's like when Max beat a Ferrari or a Mercedes. Ricciardo is as good as ever. I like that Daniel left Red Bull, but I honestly don't think Renault will get back to performing at the top any time soon

    • + 0
    • Dec 21 2019 - 05:44
    • But man, Red Bull this year with Ricciardo though! I really agree that the chance of them getting P2 was pretty high, had Ric stayed, and I kinda think he is a wasted talent at Renault.

      • + 0
      • Dec 22 2019 - 07:49

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Driver profile

  • Team McLaren
  • Points 1,006
  • Podiums 24
  • Grand Prix 141
  • Country AU
  • Date of b. Jul 1 1989 (32)
  • Place of b. Perth, AU
  • Weight 64 kg
  • Length 1.75 m
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