Daniel Ricciardo’s career is one of those that leaves the question “what could’ve been?”, with the Australian now accustomed to battling for a points place, rather than a podium.
A points finish has been a rarity for the McLaren F1 Team driver this season, who has massively underperformed alongside the incredibly reliable Lando Norris.
Ricciardo’s ninth place finish at the French Grand Prix was just his fourth top-ten of the season, leaving the 33-year-old on an abysmal 19 points.
The Australian driver is 51 points behind Norris, with the Brit being a consistent points finisher.
Whilst Ricciardo looks set to remain at McLaren next season and see his contract out (it expires at the end of 2023), his options in F1 are looking bleak beyond next year.
It was only eight-years ago that Ricciardo finished above four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull Racing, a time when many had the Australian driver down as a future champion of the sport.
For a couple of seasons, Ricciardo was the number one at the Austrian team, until Max Verstappen came onto the scene at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.
Verstappen won his first race for Red Bull, almost instantly putting pressure on Ricciardo to perform.
The Australian dealt with the pressure from Verstappen well, where he managed to finish above the Dutchman in the Drivers’ Championship in 2016 and 2017.
2018 is where things began to go wrong for the Honey Badger, with the duo infamously colliding with each other at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that year, the beginning of the end of Ricciardo’s time at Red Bull.
Ultimately, he staggeringly left the team for Renault in 2019, where after a disappointing two years he made the jump to the Woking-based side.
Ricciardo proved at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix (his last victory) that he can still compete at the front; however, the days of him battling for podiums on a Grand Prix basis are over.
In a recent discussion with NOS, Ricciardo explained how he’s “learnt” to deal with the “disappointment” of never winning a World Championship.
“You learn to deal with disappointment,” Ricciardo revealed.
“But I realise that the older I get, the smaller the chance that I will succeed.”
“What keeps me going is that I can reset myself well. The only chance I get is the next one. That’s how I think. I’m never worried about the title anyway; I just focus on the next race.
“After all, if you win enough races, the title will come naturally.”