Daniel Ricciardo will attend the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix held at the racetrack where he scored his maiden victory in Formula One back in 2014.
Ricciardo was in his first season driving for Red Bull alongside the four times world champion Sebastian Vettel. Yet the Aussie wasn’t phased by Vettel’s reputation and ended the season more than 70 posts clear of his German team mate.
Canada Ricciardo first F1 victory
Yet it was at the Canadian Grand Prix where the likeable Aussie claimed his first F1 race win. This broke the run of six successive Mercedes race wins over the first sic races of the season.
At this weekend’s race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal Ricciardo will partner team up with actor Will Arnett for the first of three ESPN alternate broadcasts of Formula 1 races this season.
Off the wall “mates” ESPN commentary gig
“This is going to be a hoot!” Ricciardo said of the venture.
“As you’d expect Will and I are going to have some fun with the show, but we’re hoping it just feels like you’re watching F1 with your mates.
“We will have some amazing guests, plenty of laughs and with some luck, bring fans another step closer to the sport I love so much. Buckle up America!”
However, the broadcast named “The Grandstand” may well be a permit fit with the character of the fun loving Aussie racer, but Ricciardo is serious about getting back on the F1 grid in a ‘competitive car’ for 2024.
Ricciardo secretly glad he’s out of McLaren
Yet exactly how Ricciardo will deliver this will depend on a plethora of ‘ifs and buts’ yet to come to pass.
Daniel’s old team McLaren are a shadow of their former selves. They languish with just 40 points down in sixth place in the constructors championship after just seven races.
Ricciardo may even be secretly glad he is not racing for the Papaya liveried team this year so poor has been the car.
Brown says right decision to sack Ricciardo
Team boss Zak Brown maintains that he made the right decision to ditch Ricciardo in favour of Piastri. And he is confident the Australian can help McLaren to compete at the top of the standings.
“What we want to have… is two drivers that are pushing each other. And I think early indications are that Oscar will be on the same pace as Lando, and the two of them will push each other hard.”
“And that’s what you want out of your two drivers, to know that it’s kind of down to you, as a team, to provide them with a car to get to the front.
“When you look down the list of things you need to have a winning team, having two Grand Prix drivers is critically important.”
Clutching at straws to compliment Piastri
Lando Norris has struggled with the 2023 McLaren challenger scoring just three top ten finishes in seven races. He sits two places ahead of his team mate Oscar Piastri in the driver world standings at present.
So how does Daniel Ricciardo who was so ruthlessly ditched by Zak Brown see his replacement and fellow Aussie’s journey to date in his rookie F1 season?
“It’s always tough when looking at a team, who are not performing where they want to be. Lando is the reference, and it’s hard to know whether 12th place is good or not,” mused Ricciardo.
“Although Lando touched the wall in Saudi, Oscar got through and did a good qualifying, and Saudi is not an easy track. So I think that was a good sign for him. Since then, sure, Lando’s had a bit of an edge.”
Too little evidence to know Piastri potential
Saudi Arabia was the second race of the year so it feels a bit of a stretch Ricciardo has to go so far back for evidence Piastri is doing well.
“But it’s still early in Oscars‘ career you can’t probably expect too much from him yet. So I think he’s hit the ground running. He had a good first lap in Miami. So I think he’s been carrying himself pretty well.”
Riccardo is not being sarcastic but is clearly struggling for any solid reference points whereby he can heap praise on his successor at McLaren.
Piastri 6-1 down in racing and qualifying
Piastri finished ahead of team mate Norris for the first time at the recent Spanish Grand Prix. Even then this was due to a first lap incident between Lando and Hamilton fighting for P2 on the opening lap and Norris front wing damage saw him pit immediately and fall to the pack of the pack and never recover.
Oscar is also 6-1 down in the qualifying head to head and like Nyck de Vries has found the first third of his rookie F1 season maybe a little tougher than he thought it would be.
Who could ever forget this iconic Sebastian Vettel moment in Canada?! 😂
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 13, 2023