Analysis of why Red Bull should and should not take Ricciardo

Ricciardo shows in Miami why Red Bull should and should not take him

5 May at 13:01
  • Ludo van Denderen

Daniel Ricciardo (VCARB) had a Saturday of extremes: at the end of the morning, there was euphoria over a fourth-place finish in the sprint race; a result with which the Australian showed Red Bull Racing he was still fast - and a serious candidate for a seat in '25. But later in the day, the same Ricciardo did not progress beyond spot 18 in qualifying for the Grand Prix, presenting himself as anything but Red Bull Racing material.

"Yes, that's frustrating," Ricciardo said after qualifying. Because no, his team and he had not suddenly changed the setup of his car, which, in hindsight, was the wrong choice. Rather, Ricciardo honestly admitted that he had simply failed to get his tyres in the right window in the second stint in Q1. "The lap time was there in the car, I simply just don't really know what happened with that set of tyres. It's kind of a s***** thing to say because it's like there are no facts behind it. Still, you feel like that when it doesn't give you what you want, so that's where the frustration lies."

Perez has edge over Ricciardo

That is precisely what Red Bull Racing looks for in a driver: to still get everything out of it, even when there are factors that mean the situation is not ideal. Max Verstappen is a master at that, Sergio Perez has a bit more trouble with it. In the hunt for a seat for '25, Perez currently has a number of advantages over Ricciardo. For instance, the Mexican is fully established at Red Bull, and why change something that is successful and producing decent results for now?

More so, Perez has been fairly consistent this season, at least more consistent than Ricciardo currently is. Coming fourth in the Sprint Shootout one day and keeping that place during the sprint race is admirable. But not getting beyond 18th place a few hours later (Ricciardo starting last because of an outstanding penalty from China, ed.), that difference is simply too great. Even if the tyres were not optimal, even if the car did not feel as good as it did earlier in the day.

Ricciardo enjoyed fourth place in the Sprint

"Still, I think going back, obviously today, this morning was great," Ricciardo told us. "I told the team let's enjoy this for 30 minutes and make sure that we don't forget about it because I did not expect this in quali. Still, the sport is very interesting, and it can obviously change very quickly, so I'm glad we soaked up a little bit this morning and enjoyed that moment. Still, it wasn't that we weren't focused or anything for quali, I think we were in a good place, simply just that set [of tyres] was a dud set."