Toto Wolff suggests Red Bull made a mistake signing Daniel Ricciardo

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has suggested that Red Bull were wrong to bring back Daniel Ricciardo.

Toto Wolff has insinuated that Red Bull were too quick to drop Nyck de Vries, who he believes could have taken Sergio Perez’s seat with more time.

The Dutchman had only 10 races at AlphaTauri before he was axed in favour of the more experienced driver Daniel Ricciardo.

De Vries first caught Red Bull’s attention last season when he was racing for Williams at the Italian Grand Prix.

2023 was to be the Dutchman’s rookie season in F1, but it was cut unceremoniously short after the British GP.

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De Vries had failed to impress, constantly being dominated by his AlphaTauri teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

The 28-year-old has had an eclectic career – he signed onto McLaren’s Young Driver programme from 2010 to 2019.

He then became embedded with Mercedes, winning a World Championship with its Formula E squad in 2021.

De Vries also acted as a reserve driver for the Silver Arrows and had a pair of FP1 outings last year.

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Wolff clearly saw plenty of potential from the Dutchman when he was with the Brackley-based team.

There has been debate over whether the 28-year-old Dutchman can be considered a ‘rookie’ – Helmut Marko believes the answer is no.

However, Wolff thinks that De Vries needed more time to adjust to F1.

He said: “Maybe he needed more time. If he had been given the season, who knows?

“Maybe he would have been a really good candidate for the Red Bull seat, too?

“They wanted, I think, to do some benchmarking with Ricciardo. To see if Daniel might be able to take [Sergio Perez’s] seat.

“Once you’ve made that decision, then of course [De Vries will] fall through the cracks.

“I’m a fan of [De Vries] because he’s incredibly intelligent for vehicle development and has always contributed a lot.”

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Wolff is not alone in being surprised at the timing of De Vries’s dismissal – his teammate Tsunoda also expressed surprise at the decision.

De Vries has not yet announced his next racing plans, and it is unclear if he will get another chance on the F1 grid.

However, he will make an appearance in Formula 2 later this month, as part of a demo run.