You thought Daniil Kvyat was the only one less than thrilled about Max Verstappen’s debut? Even Daniel Ricciardo thinks Verstappen has a distinction that rightfully belongs to him.
The Spanish Grand Prix seems to have been a nightmare for everyone but a certain young Red Bull racer. We don’t think either Hamilton or Rosberg will be forgetting why anytime soon. but Ricciardo is proof that disaster can also occur on a much smaller scale. He’d been in the lead after the Mercedes crash, but the three-stop strategy Red Bull employed for him held him back and landed him in fourth place. Verstappen, who was on a two-stop strategy, took his crown. Admittedly, such tough luck would bring out the sour grapes in us too.
“Part of me is happy that the team is winning again and everyone is super motivated and confidence is high. Obviously that’s a positive that I’m trying to draw myself to, but from a personal side it was massively frustrating.
It’s a tough one – sure, it’s a team sport but you know you are doing it for yourself as well. It’s as much an individual sport as a team sport and that balance is always a tricky one to try and manage. Obviously from the personal side it is still a tough one to take.”
His foiled victory was such a profound disappointment to him that he literally wakes up every morning replaying the depressing outcome endlessly.
“It’s been a few days since the race and I still wake up with it on my mind. I’m going to bed with it off my mind but I’m waking up with it on my mind – it will take a bit of time.”
This sounds not unlike the ordeal of a fellow racer in the MotoGP sector. Aleix Espargaro had a bit of a nightmarish 2015 Italian GP, crashing out of the race before he could make any real headway. Apparently, the Spaniard rediscovered his love for racing by making three top-six finishes. Could a run of good results be the antidote to Ricciardo’s tortured reminiscing? And perhaps, a revised strategy for Monaco? All would be good and well, but we think that having a clear threat in Verstappen is as good a motivator as any for Ricciardo to strive towards that top spot. There’s nothing like an obvious enemy to spark that fighting spirit.