After two years, Daniel Ricciardo experienced his last Grand Prix with McLaren last weekend in Abu Dhabi. The Australian will be replaced by compatriot Oscar Piastri in 2023 and will return to Red Bull as a reserve driver for next season. But after recent tensions between Sergio Pérez and Max Verstappen, Damon Hill and Ralf Schumacher believe Daniel Ricciardo could take the Mexican’s place.
The starting grid of the Formula 1 will change a lot next season. Daniel Ricciardo will notably be one of the big losers, replaced by Oscar Piastri at the house of McLaren. But the Australian was quick to bounce back, since Red Bull formalized his return to the team on Wednesday, as a reservist. The end of the year was rather tense for the team led by Christian Hornerin particular because of the relationship between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
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“Daniel Ricciardo could be in first position”
In these conditions, Damon Hill believes that it would not be impossible to see Daniel Ricciardo replace the Mexican as titular pilot. “It could be quite interesting when you know the problems that apparently exist between Max and Sergio. If something were to happen, Daniel Ricciardo could be in first position. It’s his home and he owes a lot to Red Bull, so he’ll be very keen to drive for the team. Could it be the return of the prodigal son? He might find himself in a position to come back after learning a lot elsewhere. You may very well improve by returning to where you started after being elsewhere.“, declared the 1996 world champion, in remarks relayed by Nextgen-Auto.
‘I’m not 100% sure that Perez will still be Verstappen’s teammate’
Damon Hill has followed : “I’m sure Sergio’s contract is rock solid and he’ll be there for a long time, but the relationship could also go downhill and Max is believed to have quite a bit of power in the team..” Ralf Schumacher meanwhile goes even further. “I’m not 100% sure that Perez will still be Verstappen’s teammate next year. So I think Ricciardo has his chances. He’s probably determined behind the scenes and I think Max wants a new teammate.“, he confided.