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Re: Ricciardo masterstroke
Posted by: SydneyF1Fan
Date: 01/04/2019 03:49
I think it was a bold move for Dan, but I wouldn't call it a mistake. Yet.

He's definitely got his work cut out to match and surpass Nico. If he can't do that during this season, it will be an unmitigated disaster, as Nico will then become favourite for any top drives that become vacant and Dan's stocks will plummet.

He's still in his probation period and he needs to prove himself up to the job in the next few races.

There are clearly balance issues with the car and Nico is handling those much better at the moment. I'm surprised that Dan hasn't adapted quicker, as he seems like a driver that can work around car limitations, but perhaps he's been too spoilt with Red Bull/Toro Rosso in his F1 career and Nico has been forced to overcome car weaknesses. Sounds like other teams have similar issues with the new regs, eg. look at Gasly and Max and even Merc struggling against Ferrari this weekend, so all have improvement work to do. Williams too!

Dan has been weak in practice/qualifying, particularly Australia. He was more fortunate in Bahrain, but Nico would have right up there in quali if he didn't have an engine mapping issue.

Dan's start in Melbourne was unlucky, but exacerbated by his poor quali. Nico's start in Bahrain was electric and he did well to avoid the carnage in front of him. Dan's strategy sucked, but Nico would have been hot on his heels with his additional pace even if Dan had stuck to a one-stopper.

Renault reliability is woeful and even Cyril is starting to show his annoyance. Sounds like the engine performance has improved (as shown by McLaren), so hopefully they can fix their balance issues enough to convert that into raw pace and fix their reliability to last the race distance.

I still think this was a good move for Dan. It's a bit like a child moving out of the safety of their parent's home or an employee leaving a safe job for a start-up company. He was always going to play second fiddle to Max at RBR and sometimes you need to take risks to get ahead and increase your enjoyment with new challenges. He bet that Merc/Ferrari would still be ahead in 2019 and 2020, so he sacrificed a few chance wins with RBR over the next two years for the opportunity to build up a second-tier team into a potential challenger in 2021. Provided he can stay ahead of Nico in that time he will open up other opportunities in 2021 - either stay with a championship-winning Renault team which he helped to build up or take up any available offers with other top teams.

In the meantime he's on a handy pay-packet, to build himself a comfortable living and retirement. At the end of the day, money is a big part of the motivation of all drivers, not just WDC's.

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