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2019 F1

Ricciardo refused to be no.2 to Verstappen – Hill

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1996 world champion Damon Hill has backed Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull exit.

Ricciardo’s Australian countryman Mark Webber said Ricciardo deciding to join Renault for 2019 was “weird”, but Hill says it actually reflects a deep desire to succeed.

“He always has a massive grin on but deep down there is a burning desire to win and he knows that his clock is running,” he told The Age.

“He is 29 years old and, if you like, he might have felt the emphasis, the backing, has all gone to the younger guy in Max Verstappen — and he is not having it,” Hill added.

“I think he is thinking ‘I am not going to be parked up and I have one more chance at it’. You have got to keep putting yourself forward and giving yourself the option of being number 1.

“You don’t want to be marginalised in this sport and be happy at number 2. Daniel would hate himself forever if he accepted that.”

Ricciardo’s former Red Bull boss Christian Horner thinks the Australian left the team because he was afraid of being beaten by Verstappen.

But Hill said: “He still believes he can beat Max Verstappen. He went to Renault because it helps if you have a team looking at you and you can then draw in all the talent that they have in the team around you.”

He doesn’t even think Renault’s budget – which is smaller than Mercedes, Ferrari’s and Red Bull’s – will be a problem for the French works team.

“They have huge resources if they want to,” said Hill. “If the car is going well, they will then pour in money and they have a got a history in the sport — it’s not like they haven’t done it before.”

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