Ricciardo’s perfect on-track response to Villeneuve ‘talking s**t’

Daniel Ricciardo dismissed Jacques Villeneuve's harsh criticism during the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix that the 1997 world champion was “talking dirty” and said “all these people can understand that” after qualifying fifth in Montreal.

Ricciardo has had a disappointing season in the Red Bull II team, suffering a comprehensive defeat so far at the hands of teammate Yuki Tsunoda, whose place in the team for 2025 was confirmed ahead of qualifying in Canada.

Ricciardo's future is less certain, as he competes with reserve Liam Lawson for the right-back seat which he only secured midway through last year.

Early on the weekend in Montreal, Sky Sports Formula 1 analyst Villeneuve harshly criticized Ricciardo in multiple ways – accusing him of making “excuses”, claiming he should quit F1 if he “couldn't cut it”, and then belittling his achievements. Ricciardo has been at Red Bull for most of his career since becoming Max Verstappen's teammate in mid-2016.

After Ricciardo got his best result of the season in a major qualifying session, the eight-time Grand Prix winner refrained from responding much to Villeneuve – but while he admitted “I still don't know what he said”, Ricciardo said he had “heard he was talking “Dirty.”

“But he always does,” Ricardo said. “I think he hit his head a few times. I don't know if he was playing ice hockey or something.

“I wouldn't give him the time of day. But… all these people could suck it up.”

“I want to say more but that's okay. We'll leave them behind.”

This is not the first time Ricciardo has responded to criticism about his faltering form, but he has not had the opportunity to do so in a disappointing 2024 season.

Daniel Ricardo Yuki Tsunoda

Tsunoda's contract news just before qualifying, not to mention Ricciardo's future, was emblematic of how their years have passed and accurately reflects where they stand in Red Bull's eyes at the moment.

But when asked if he was “double motivated” to get a result in light of that announcement before qualifying, Ricciardo said he was “very motivated to do more than I did this year” and came to this race – where he claimed his first Formula One championship 1. He won on Saturday 10 years ago, pictured below – and feels “ready to do some good things.”

Ricciardo revealed that part of that was down to the process he went through after a disappointing previous race in Monaco, which he described as a kind of “self-therapy”.

He said he questioned “the things I'm doing wrong off the track, or maybe I'm giving too much of my time to people, and by the time I get to race day or whatever, I'm a little more settled.”

One explanation is that Ricciardo, who is a key commercial asset for Red Bull, and the Red Bull team and partners may feel overwhelmed by too much marketing activity – a sentiment he has expressed in the past.

He called on his team and close contacts to offer him “constructive criticism” after Monaco and asked him “what do you think is going wrong?”, which he said led to a “very open conversation”.

“I just went into the weekend feeling a bit lighter, hungry, happy and ready to say 'fuck you' to a few people,” Ricciardo said.

More misery for Perez

Sergio Perez Red Bull 2024 Canadian Grand Prix

While Ricciardo felt lively in Canada, the driver he wanted to take his seat at the start of the year – Sergio Perez – had a miserable first qualifying session since being handed a surprise new two-year contract with Red Bull.

Perez was eliminated from Q1 for the second race in a row, while his teammate Verstappen qualified second after setting a similar time to pole-sitter George Russell.

Canada were part of a major slump in Perez's form midway through last season as well, and that continues with poor performances of late – which he had no explanation for here.

“It's a huge disappointment,” he said. “Everything was set according to the weather and we couldn't get everything to work, especially the rear axle.

“There were some things we could have done better but we lacked some speed today.”


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