Daniel Ricciardo has revealed his frustration after failing to land a Formula 1 seat with title favourites Mercedes or Ferrari for the forthcoming season.
The Australian driver made the shock decision to bring his 10-year association with Red Bull to an end last year, and this season he’ll begin a new era with a Renault team who are still finding their feet after returning to the sport in 2016.
But before his 2019 seat was confirmed, Ricciardo was reportedly attracting the interest of Mercedes and Ferrari, though a move failed to materialise and he instead opted to join the French team.
However, when asked by Sky F1’s Natalie Pinkham on her In the Pink podcast if he was frustrated by the snubs, he responded: “Yes – to answer it bluntly.
“At the end of the day in the next 12 months I still think, and everybody would say this, that Mercedes and Ferrari are going to be the teams to beat.
“Maybe other teams could take a win here or there, but I think they’re still the teams to be with short term.”
Ricciardo’s decision to join Renault came as somewhat of a surprise, given his impressive start to the 2018 season which saw him win two of the opening six races – in China and Monaco respectively.
And he admitted it was a blow that a big move didn’t come his way, with Ferrari opting to promote Charles Leclerc as Sebastian Vettel’s partner and Mercedes renewing their partnership of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
“Especially after the first six races,” he added.
“I won two out of six, so it was Seb [Vettel], Lewis and me who had won two each. At that stage no one else was really touching us.
“I felt like my pull, so to speak, couldn’t have been any higher. In a way, I did expect probably more out of that, and at the time I think rightly so.
“With what Ferrari have done, I see it and I respect that because I’ve seen Red Bull do it, bringing the young kids through the programme. In a way, I think it’s about time.
“I guess the Mercedes one is probably a bit of a different situation. It’s a slightly different dynamic with the path they’ve chosen.
“I guess for them it’s more conservative, but I can’t argue because it’s worked.”