F1 is really a strange sport. Not often do we find among the most admired men on the grid, become the villain. But while calling someone like Daniel Ricciardo a villain may sound strange, that he did commit some villainy toward the end of the just-concluded French Grand Prix cannot be denied.
The 2019 French Grand Prix was obviously the home race for Renault. And it was pretty obvious that either of the Renault guys- Ricciardo and Hulkenberg- had to push a bit extra to extract something special at Circuit Paul Ricard.
And so it happened.
Seventh-placed Daniel Ricciardo, the only Renault driver who had been in some form in the past few Grands Prix- considering that post-Australia, Hulkenberg didn’t score until Canada- pushed hard and particularly so toward the closing stages.
From the onset of Lap 43, the list of troubles didn’t seem to end for McLaren driver Lando Norris. This would play into the hands of the smiling-Australian quite nicely. Given that his car was plagued with a sudden hydraulics issue, Norris, who was running in sixth until then, began seeing Ricciardo ever so closer in the mirrors.
To any driver, including Lewis Hamilton, being pursued by someone like the ever-capable Daniel Ricciardo can never make for an easy day. Think of being pursued by a shark in the seas!
And guess what? It wasn’t a happy race in the end for the rookie McLaren driver, all of 19.
Ricciardo, who ended his 2019 French Grand Prix at eleventh, after being penalized for suspect overtaking moves on both Raikkonen and Norris, began to put increased pressure on the McLaren in front.
This battle between the sixth and seventh-placed drivers would only intensify.
And in the last 7 laps, Ricciardo would begin to mount more pressure on the inexperienced Londoner, someone he’d pass eventually with only a handful of laps remaining, but not before copping up a grid penalty that would strip him off points gathered fightingly at Le Castellet.
Not the cleanest of overtakes, Ricciardo, who finally gathered an eleventh after having driven a committed race before the final-stage skirmish didn’t leave France a happy man. The candid smile was nowhere to be seen. And guess what? Someone can feel the Aussie. Someone who’s long been a familiar on-track adversary: Nico Rosberg.
Apparently, the former F1 world champion of 2016 has stepped in to support the Renault driver stating that he thinks that Daniel ‘deserves more!’
Here’s what the noted German driver had to say on the issue:
“I am a little bit surprised because I thought it was going to be more difficult for Daniel,” Rosberg said on Sky Sports.
“I rate Nico Hulkenberg quite highly, he’s a huge talent. We know that from all the categories leading up to Formula One where he won everything.
“Suddenly now Daniel is dominating him for the last four or five races.
“I think that’s really impressive and I think Daniel is doing an awesome job.
“Once again he’s showing that he deserves to be in a race-winning car and fighting for championships.”