Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo has confirmed that he is frustrated at having been snubbed both by Ferrari and Mercedes for the 2019 season.
The Australian entered the final year of his Red Bull contract in 2018 looking to assess his options, and a strong start to the season saw Ricciardo linked with both the Scuderia and the Silver Arrows.
However, nothing materialised on either front: Ferrari ended up replacing Kimi Raikkonen with youngster Charles Leclerc, while Mercedes opted to keep Valtteri Bottas as Lewis Hamilton’s teammate.
Ricciardo ended up surprising the paddock by switching from Red Bull to the factory Renault team.
“Yes – to answer it bluntly,” Ricciardo said when asked by Sky F1’s Natalie Pinkham on her In the Pink podcast if he was frustrated.
“At the end of the day in the next 12 months I still think, and everybody would say this, that Mercedes and Ferrari are going to be the teams to beat.
“Maybe other teams could take a win here or there, but I think they’re still the teams to be with short term.”
He added, “Especially after the first six races [of the 2018 season]. I won two out of six, so it was Seb [Vettel], Lewis and me who had won two each. At that stage no one else was really touching us.
“I felt like my pull, so to speak, couldn’t have been any higher. In a way, I did expect probably more out of that, and at the time I think rightly so.”
Ricciardo went on to say that he understood Ferrari’s eventual decision to sign Leclerc, but believes Mercedes were “conservative” in keeping Bottas
“He’s [Leclerc] a young up and coming prospect, and maybe that was part of their plan all along, regardless of what my results were and what his results were,” he explained.
“With what Ferrari have done, I see it and I respect that because I’ve seen Red Bull do it, bringing the young kids through the programme. In a way, I think it’s about time.
“I guess the Mercedes one is probably a bit of a different situation. It’s a slightly different dynamic with the path they’ve chosen.
“I guess for them it’s more conservative, but I can’t argue because it’s worked.
“Lewis has won Drivers’ Championships and the team has won Constructors’ Championships, so in a way they’ve ticked all the boxes they need.”