Daniel Ricciardo’s busiest race of the year is always Melbourne and the much-loved Aussie does not disappoint his fans…even if his performances on track do not always go to plan. Just last year he met with a young internet sensation who previously mistook Ricciardo as Daniel Avocado and as such the video went viral – so of course Ricciardo had to meet the boy and his Dad – at the 2019 Australian GP. However, not all racers are this open with their time and with the return of a Netherlands Grand Prix just two months away, Max Verstappen has made clear he will be there to race rather than for personal appearances:
An interview with RTL revealed that despite the Dutch GP being expected to be a sell-out with grandstands filled with Verstappen’s Orange Army as well as the infamous Lion, he has no plans on being as mentally and physically drained as he considers Daniel Ricciardo to be following all the pre-race build up at his home race in Melbourne:
“I definitely don’t want to be in that situation…Ultimately I’m there to perform, that’s the most important thing. It will be a great weekend, but [fans] must also understand what I have to do all weekend to have a great weekend.”
For some, a response like this, is why a different breed of fan follows Verstappen compared to Ricciardo but one thing all can agree on is that they are supreme racing drivers and World Championship material. In an exclusive interview for F1.com Daniel Ricciardo shared his thoughts on many matters with Will Buxton – one topic being his past World Championship opportunities:
“After my year in 2014, if I’d looked at 2020, I would have expected a world title or three…If anything I’m probably a little bit underwhelmed...”
For Max Verstappen though, he is only just starting out (though it feels like he has been racing for years) and he has the full might of Red Bull Racing behind him determined to make him the youngest ever World Champion. Had Daniel Ricciardo been provided such support and drive (pardon the pun) who knows what the outcome could have been - although, all at Red Bull Racing would say he did!
For now, Red Bull Racing appear to be the closest rivals to Mercedes and Daniel Ricciardo seems to be content…for the first half of the season at least…on aiming for a podium as the most realistic outcome.
However, who knows what extra drive the thousands in attendance at Albert Park in just over a weeks’ time will provide for Renault’s talisman. Maybe this year that will be the decisive factor…just avoid the grass at the start Daniel – and let’s see what happens.