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.”
UFC fighters underpaid – Robert Whittaker
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight title holder Robert Whittaker believes the series’ fighters are “sorely underpaid”.
The New Zealand-born Australian told the Sydney Morning Herald that the UFC, as the biggest name in mixed martial arts (MMA), effectively has a monopoly on the combat sport and they can therefore choose whatever they want to pay their athletes.
Whittaker insists that he and his fellow UFC fighters are “sorely underpaid for what we do”.
He added, “It’s just one of those things when UFC has monopolised the whole sport and if you want to make it in the field you have to fight with the UFC.
“When they’re the only ones that own the sport, they can pay you what they like.”
Despite being the reigning champion in his weight division, Whittaker is not one of the more popular figures with UFC fans, and his pay-per-view buys have not matched the numbers of more high-profile athletes such as Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor.
Whittaker has explained that popularity has a big impact on fighters’ earnings in the UFC, and one could almost argue that skills don’t matter as much as public perception.
“Every fighter has to negotiate his own contract with the UFC,” he said. “The more popular you are, the more leverage you have with them.”
Whittaker will be in action early tomorrow morning as he faces Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC 234, which will be held at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
OGS: I’m not doing anything special with Paul Pogba
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he has not done anything special to coax great form out of midfielder Paul Pogba, who netted twice in their 3-0 win at Fulham on Saturday.
The Frenchman opened the scoring early on with a left-footed drive from a tight angle and added the third from the penalty spot as the Red Devils cruised to another fine result under their caretaker manager.
In between, Anthony Martial scored a superb goal, with United claiming a 10th win from 11 matches across all competitions under ‘OGS’.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Solskjaer said: “I’ve not released those [abilities], he [Pogba] is playing to his potential, we are trying to put the team forward to put player in positions to where they can hurt teams. Paul can do that with his qualities.
“I speak to him like I do with the others, that’s management. He’s responding to the way we do things.
“I’ve always looked further ahead. I’ve followed United since I signed for them as a player. Who can produce and perform now, next year and in two years?
“It’s such a young squad, an exciting squad. At the moment I’m just concentrating on getting us up the table, let’s hope we can stay there and go higher.
“We have to do everything ourselves and not rely on anyone for help.”
Solskjaer made six changes to his side, but insisted that he never feared it would cost United the result.
“There is always an element of risk [with team changes] but if you don’t risk you don’t win,” he explained.
“I have to trust the players, I didn’t feel there was a problem playing any of them.
“They put us under pressure in the first 10 minutes but after we scored I thought we were excellent.
“The most pleasing thing was in the second half, the way we controlled it. We could have had four or five goals, it was different to what we did against Leicester so another improvement.
“We wanted Ander [Herrera] further down to control it more. We know about Paul’s quality going forward and what a strike it is. The second one with Anthony [Martial}, we know his qualities.”