Brundle comments on row between Daniel Ricciardo and Jacques Villeneuve

Brundle comments on row between Daniel Ricciardo and Jacques Villeneuve

Martin Brundle says he wishes Daniel Ricciardo never parted ways with Red Bull as he responded to the slander directed towards the Australian over the weekend.

Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle has has weighed in on the bitter verbal exchange between Daniel Ricciardo and Jacques Villeneuve over the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, suggesting the RB driver “never seemed the same again” after leaving Red Bull.

While serving as a pundit for Sky Sports F1 in Montreal, the former Formula 1 driver and 1997 world champion questioned Ricciardo’s presence in the sport given his recent dismal performance, claiming that he believes the Australian’s “image” had kept him in the fold.

After leaving Red Bull in 2018, the ‘honey badger’ has struggled to secure a fitting team and delivering consistent results. He raced with Renault for two years before being let go by McLaren following his dismal tenure, though he did win his final race there.

The 2024 F1 campaign is no different as Ricciardo has strugged at times in his first full season back on the grid after reuniting with the Red Bull family. He has largely struggled against teammate Yuki Tsunoda at RB going into the Canadian Grand Prix, which raised a lot of attention on his future.

In the lead up to the race weekend, 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. Things later took a turn to the worst after facing criticism from Villeneuve.

Yet Ricciardo, after putting his RB car an impressive fifth on the grid in qualifying, responded firmly on Saturday, saying: “I heard he’s been talking s***. But he always does.”

Villeneuve then had his say again, accusing Ricciardo of getting “personal” and now Sky F1 commentator and former driver Brundle has weighed in on the row.

Brundle acknowledges that Ricciardo hasn’t been the same after he decided to leave the Austrian squad six years ago. He turned down the opportunity to go up against Max Verstappen, and the former driver turned analyst believes the Australian has never performed up to his previous level.

“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,” he said in his Sky F1 column.

“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 finished eighth in Sunday’s race, earning four valuable points for Red Bull’s sister team. This comes after the 34-year old secured his first of his nine wins in Formula 1 in Montreal 10 years ago.

Ricciardo has landed 32 podiums during his time in F1, but only three of those have come in the six years since he left Red Bull.

However, his seat for 2025 is yet to be confirmed.

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