Horner laments Ricciardo’s ‘spectacularly bad’ timing

Daniel Ricciardo has not been in a truly competitive car since he left Red Bull at the end of 2018.

Christian Horner has revealed that a lucrative offer was put in front of Daniel Ricciardo in 2018, and cited one of the Australian’s reasons for leaving as being a fear of lack of performance from Honda.

Ricciardo won seven races in five seasons with Red Bull, finishing on the podium at his home race in Australia on debut for the team before being disqualified for a fuel infringement.

The arrival of Max Verstappen would then make for a challenging situation for the 32-year-old, as he found himself out-qualified 34 times in the nearly three years he had together with the Dutchman.

READ: Verstappen and Norris joke about ‘Air Max’ after Saudi Arabian GP

As the now 24-year-old became the evident rising star at the Milton Keynes side, Ricciardo began to become disenfranchised by his position within the team, and took the decision in 2018 to leave and join Renault in what looked an ambitious move at the time.

There was promise in the fact that Sir Lewis Hamilton had made the switch to midfield team Mercedes from McLaren in 2013, and he has since claimed six championships with the Silver Arrows.

It turned out nothing like the Briton’s success though and, after 22 points finishes and two podiums in 38 races with the Enstone side, he moved to McLaren last year.

However, he struggled alongside Lando Norris as he finished eighth in the Drivers’ Standings while the Woking team were pipped to third in the constructors’ battle by Ferrari.

Horner revealed in the first season of Drive to Survive that he thought the Australian was “running a little bit from a fight [with Verstappen],” and he now divulges that the 32-year-old had concerns over the effectiveness of the Honda power unit despite its promising season powering junior team Toro Rosso.

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“We put offers in front of him that were stratospheric,” Horner said.

“Daniel could see Max in the ascendancy and he didn’t want to become the second driver. His timing was spectacularly bad because he had doubts about Honda’s engine.

“And then [Honda] went on to prove there it was a competitive power unit and a race winning package.”

READ: Verstappen and Norris joke about ‘Air Max’ after Saudi Arabian GP

Verstappen went on to claim the championship with Red Bull with Honda power last season, and they are at the front of the pecking order again this season while Ricciardo’s McLaren languish on the fringes of the points.

The former Red Bull driver, however, insisted last year that he has “no regrets” over his decision to leave.