McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo expressed some controversial opinions regarding Lewis Hamilton’s supremacy in Formula One over the years.
Ricciardo also acknowledged the impressive nature of Hamilton’s seemingly unstoppable Mercedes.
While the quality of Hamilton’s rides is well know, Ricciardo took it a step further and implied that numerous drivers could perform to the same level if handed the keys:
“To answer it diplomatically, Lewis isn’t the only one that could win races in that car," he said during a recent interview with Square Mile.
“George Russell, in a way, showed the possibility of that by pretty much beating Valterri (Bottas) in his first race. So you could argue that just maybe Lewis doesn’t have the strongest competition.”
Ricciardo was quick to acknowledge the level of pressure and stress Hamilton likely goes through as the odds-on favourite for the races he competes in:
“Where we can’t be too aggressive or disrespectful to Lewis, is that, do a few of us believe we could beat him? Yes. I’m quite sure of that.
“But none of us have ever been in the hunt for a title. None of us have dealt with that pressure. None of us have had that year after year.
“Pretty much every weekend he rocks up to a race. Yes, he has the best car, but he’s also expected to win all the time. And if he doesn’t, it’s, ‘OK, what happened to Lewis?’”
Max Verstappen is expected to be a major rival for Hamilton to contend with at this year’s world championship. They are set to do battle at Imola this weekend having already gone neck-and-neck in Bahrain.
Verstappen and Ricciardo have a long history together as old Red Bull teammates.
On the topic of Verstappen, Ricciardo said:
“It’s easier now for me and Max to be friends for two reasons. One is that obviously we’re not in direct competition - we’re not trying to basically end each other’s careers.
“The second point is that… I won races with him as a teammate and got pole position so I think he always knew I was quick and respected me.
“But now, since I’ve left, the other drivers have come through and him having different teammates, it’s probably increased his respect for me even more.
“I mean we never hated each other, we just wanted to end each other’s careers! It’s as simple as that.”
Some would say that’s a little hateful…News Now - Sport News