2017 F1 driver rankings #5: Ricciardo

2017 F1 season review

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Daniel Ricciardo scored more points than team mate Max Verstappen this year despite having more race-ending technical failures. So how can it possibly be fair to rank Verstappen ahead of him?

Both Red Bull drivers suffered poor reliability during 2017, especially from their (TAG Heuer-branded) Renault power units. Verstappen endured an excruciating series of mid-season retirements while Ricciardo almost needn’t have bothered showing up for the final races. His third retirement in four races in Abu Dhabi cost him fourth in the championship to Kimi Raikkonen.

Better then than earlier in the season, however. In Baku it was Verstappen’s car who failed while he was running in front of Ricciardo, who went on to take his sole win of the year at the track.

Daniel Ricciardo

Beat team mate in qualifying7/20
Beat team mate in race2/7
Races finished14/20
Laps spent ahead of team mate156/527
Qualifying margin+0.31

The two Red Bulls were on track together for less than half of the 1,196 racing laps in 2017. As the pair scored most of their points when the other car didn’t reach the chequered flag the points difference is a poor basis for comparison.

Ricciardo had a difficult start to the year. He crashed in qualifying at his home race and next time out was beaten by Verstappen despite his team mate starting 11 places behind him. This was one of just seven occasions the pair saw the chequered flag in the same race. Ricciardo only came out on two of those occasions and in Monaco he was fortunate to jump ahead of Verstappen thanks to his strategy.

However Ricciardo was more than capable of holding his own against the rising star in the other half of the Red Bull garage. The qualifying margins between the pair were often razor-thin, and seven times Ricciardo came out on top.

And while Verstappen has deservedly been praised for his wheel-to-wheel racing, Ricciardo produced some of the season’s most memorable moves. His pass on Kimi Raikkonen at Monza was extraordinary, as were his late-braking moves as he carved through the pack at Interlagos.

He was also very consistent, often getting in among the Ferraris to grab podium finishes when his car held up. He took his ninth in Japan and surely would have hit double figures had his car ran better in the final four races. He still ended the year with more than Raikkonen.

Ricciardo is a top-class driver but he also has a top-class team mate. In 2017 Verstappen was a little bit too good for him and it appears the vagaries of Red Bull’s reliability meant that wasn’t reflected in the final points tally. With a more reliable and competitive car next year this rivalry will surely remain one of F1’s biggest talking points.

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Over to you

It can’t be easy being team-mates to Max Verstappen, what with the media frenzy and his performances on track, but Ricciardo has carried on regardless this year, racking up podiums and even a win. That he has more podiums and wins than Raikkonen’s Ferrari despite more retirements is a sign of his consistency, which is an interesting compliment to Verstappen’s “all or nothing” approach. Clever, but still stunningly fast, Ricciardo won’t let Verstappen have it all his own way just yet.

What’s your verdict on Daniel Ricciardo’s 2017 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than him? Have your say in the comments.

Add your views on the other drivers here:

2017 F1 season review

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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65 comments on “2017 F1 driver rankings #5: Ricciardo”

  1. It was difficult to rank the 2 RBR drivers but P5 is ok for Ricciardo.
    He had a bad season i reckon but the fact that he managed to score some extremely lucky results & his pure clean overtakes saved him

    I personally havent seen a driver as lucky as Ricciardo. He was getting podiums & race win just because others were DNFing.For instance in Canada,he was nowhere near Verstappen pace(P2 when he DNFed) & his pace was similar to F.I but he got the podium(sam efor Spain.
    In 2 races where both RBR had no issues & penalties(Suzuka & Malaysia), Verstappen beat him pretty easily.
    He must raise his game in 2018.

    1. Agree, but I don’t think he that he can raise his game. That’s just the difference between a world class driver like Verstappen, and a very good driver like Ricciardo.

      1. @jesperfey13 Ricciardo is pretty good as well,just this year he wasnt that impressive as well

    2. Ricciardo was better than VER in Abu Dhabi; but unfortunately he and the car finished the race before the race was finished.

      1. @Egonovi Well it was just a race!

        1. @miltosgreekfan, the thing is, it feels like a lot of people rather aggressively reiterate those races where Verstappen retired whilst ahead of Ricciardo. However, it feels that, when the reverse situation occurred (i.e. Ricciardo retiring whilst ahead of Verstappen, such as in Abu Dhabi), it feels as if people just dismiss those races in the manner that you have just done and do not give Ricciardo any credit for his performances in those races.

          1. @anon Well from the races he retired,the car couldnt do miracles & Ricciardo was heading for good results,but not impressive ones like in Verstappen cases.Thats why many (me too) have said that about Ricciardo vs Verstappen DNF.I really like Daniel & his character,but this year he was overshadowed by Verstappen

    3. I personally havent seen a driver as lucky as Ricciardo. He was getting podiums & race win just because others were DNFing.

      Spain 2016? Adelaide 1992? Adelaide 1994? Spa 1998? Spain 2001? Basically any race Jim Clark retired from? There are literally hundreds of races that the favourite retried from which meant that the win was handed to another driver, so it is incredibly disingenuous to hold that against Ricciardo.

      1. @geemac Luck is a big factor & that comes from a Massa fan.There are always lucky situations throughout a season,but somehow(in my eyes),Ricciardo is the one that always gets the good luck.For instance this year he took 3 podiums & a race win by pure luck,as his pace wasnt that good. I obviously dont want to underestimate Daniel’s ability,he was takinh the chances he got(for instance in Spa),just i believe this season his luck did the work rather than his pure pace

        1. Was it Gary Player who said: “The more I practice, the luckier I get,”?

        2. Guybrush Threepwood
          16th December 2017, 19:56

          Everyone is lucky or unluckily. Look at Verstappen’s wins which wouldn’t have happened without issues with the Ferrari’s / Mercedes. Even Hamilton’s win in Singapore.

          I also can’t see how you can say someone is lucky when they had so many technical issues both in race and qual.

    4. – I personally havent seen a driver as lucky as Ricciardo – what a crap to say Ricciardo was lucky in Baku !! – that’s others did silly things, Daniel had to work for this win, and he did – three cars in one corner – that’s not luck, that’s a bravery and brilliant driving !!!

    5. “I personally havent seen a driver as lucky as Ricciardo”
      Then you haven’t seen the driver who won his 4th championship this year.

  2. Bahrain, Spain, Canada, Baku, Belgium and Singapore.. Every time, exept for Austria, Verstappen was in front of Ricciardo when he retired. This is why Daniel grabbed so many podiums, including his faultless driving.
    When Daniel Retired, he was only ahead of Max in *Hungary (we all know what happened) and Abu Dhabi.
    Taking this in consideration, + the qualifying results it is fail to say that Max had the better of Daniel this season.

    1. Thanks for checking this. I knew Max was ahead most of the time, but the difference is bigger then I though.

  3. To be fair, as a driver as a whole, I would have ranked RIC above ALO this season. ALO might have been over-driving his machinery to some degree, but on the other hand, I consider him a less complete driver by the way he’s been slamming his team/engine etc. I think to the public, in my eyes ALO loses a bit in professionalism, which I still think should be a part of a complete driver’s package.

    1. I would rank Alonso behind Ricciardo and Versappen. It is a close call, but we’ve seen the Red Bull drivers in tight fights with top drivers all year. Alonso has had less chance to prove himself.

    2. “In my eyes ALO loses a bit in professionalism I think to the public, which I still think should be a part of a complete driver’s package.

      Senna, Schuey, Vettel and Hamilton – not exactly angels

    3. I’d put Alonso in 5th behind Danny Ric.

  4. It might seems harsh for Ricciardo to come in behind Verstappen; but it’s fair IMO.

    And I also agree with the remaining drivers to be the top 4 this year.
    I’d say ALO, VES, VET, HAM.

    1. Oops VES = VER, since old VER = FE.

      1. In what universe would Verstappen or Vettel come before Hamilton? Has either of them driven better than him this season?

        The only person who could come close is Alonso – but he didn’t as much superlative drives like Lewis did in Spain (race), Spa (race), Malaysia (pole), Monza (pole) and even Singapore where Mercedes were not expecting to beat Red Bull (even with the first taking themselves out).

        1. I wouldn’t get so upset; especially against somebody who presents you a count down ;)
          @kbdavies, @jerejj

          PS – and it’s just my review/opinion
          PPS – Alonso comes close to all three ahead (!) of them. But I saw Alonso as having very impressive highs, but also a few mediocre meh’s

          1. I got it. Admittedly after a pause to recalibrate :)

        2. Does he not mean Alonso 4th, Hamilton 1st? @kbdavies

          1. Does he not mean Alonso 4th, Hamilton 1st?

            I do not know. But it does not seem like that the way it is written. It looks like ALO 1st and HAM 4th.

        3. ehm… 4, 3, 2, 1 probably ;-)

          As long as Mercedes is dominant (15 poles) Hamilton will lead all poles… things are just like that.
          Verstappen however is a solid #2, he can and has beaten Vettel quite often in a lesser car… add the fact Verstappen really gets on Vettels nerves whenever he’s close (Singapore ao) makes Vettel act like a first class rookie.

          To my opinion Vettel is good, very good, but not on Verstappens level… Ferrari took poles cause of their quali-power-boost which RBR lacks. Singapore was the best example… RBR (Verstappen) dominant all weekend except for Q3.

          1. 4, 3, 2, 1 probably


            And I in general agree with your VER/VET comparison. However, VET was very strong until the summer break (until Baku at least), and that will be reflected in the full year rating.

  5. The line in the comment from @ben-n about Verstappen being all or nothing is why I still would rather have Riccardo in my car than Verstappen.

    His racecraft is fantastic, he rarely makes mistakes and his overtaking moves are always clean and often memorable. He’s the real deal.

    1. @geemac maybe Ric was the one winning the negotiation at RBR. While many see Ver as having the upper hand because he has a 2 years contact, it should be noticed that having the possibility to choose your team for 2019 might prove to be a better situation. We also know that RBR likes to lock their drivers behind contract to dissuade the concurrence…

      Regarding the ranking, I would have placed Alonso in 5th since he is difficult to judge properly and hasn’t been fighting at the front, having to shine under pressure.
      Ric and Ver is a good exemple of how to rank drivers. Do you prefer someone all our nothing with more victories or a more solid ‘all around’ driver on which you can count every day as a known value? In RBR case it is good to have both and maximize the car potential. If you have to choose one, probably Ric, he would be easier to build a car around. For the sparks, the freshness and the fans he brings, Ver is a must have.

    2. I would say the all or nothing approach is overblown, personally. Verstappen does still try a bit too hard, but for instance, people love comparing Ricciardo on Kimi in Monza vs Verstappen on Massa in Monza, as evidence of one being more capable than the other. The reality being Kimi allowed Ricciardo to make that move, and if he had turned in he would have collided just as much as Verstappen did. Same with Ricciardo on Bottas in Austin, everyone loved that, but it was a ludicrously wild lunge. He gets away with those, but they could easily be all or nothing. So yeah, I think that difference between the two is not as big as some state.

      1. I couldn’t agree more, When Ricciardo make such a move it’s the move of the season, but when Max does it it’s a divebomb?!?!?!? If it were Massa instead of Raikonnenat Monza they would have crashed. Massa just can’t accept being beaten, and then Always goes to blame they other guy.

    3. Fantastic racecraft and nearly no mistakes people say about Ricciardo… Ricciardo does have a lot of fans who fail to see what actually happens on track.

      At the starts Ricciardo lost many positions, which I consider not good (enough) racecraft, ironicaly he got overtaken by Verstappen a lot….in China, Sochi, Bahrain and Japan.
      Another thing is Ricciardo overtook Raikkonen twoce and Bottas once…he failed to overtaken Verstappen (ever), Vettel and Hamilton things Verstappen pulled of… the only driver to overtake Hamilton…. twice

      Rarely mistakes…? Australia and Baku crash in quali, Monaco hitting the wall, Silverstone going off track quite wildly, first lap incident at Monza….. the incident in Hungary and Abu Dhabi where out of his fault ofcourse.
      In fact Verstappen was involved is less incidents and caused one, Ric two.

      People love Ricciardo for his smile and he has a good history as a clean driver… flawless he isn;t though and although people may suggest otherwise he is not a cleaner driver than Verstappen is, his overtaking is very good, but he often fails to overtake the ‘better’ drivers.

      P5 for Ricciardo… P4 maybe…?, considering how he got beaten in quali this bad (only Stroll and Palmer where off more), P5 seems correct.

      1. @hahostolze @Matn You have both summed up well what I too think of DR and DR vs MV. I really don’t have much issue with DR but nor have I been able to warm up to him. Max on the other hand is, I think, special. Generally Max has been playing with the bigger boys while DR has been further back and ‘impressing’ with cars he should have been ahead of off the grid to begin with. Max’s impressive placings above DR in Keith’s chart above, or rather DR’s unimpressive numbers vs Max, are telling.

        One of the things I like about Max is how early on in his career, so long ago now such as it is, lol, is how he has made the other drivers wary of him, with his take no prisoners driving. He got raked over the coals for some of his behaviour, sometimes fairly so, but not always.

        But note, for example…was there even one time this season that Max had to be warned of jumping in front of another car while they had already committed to braking into a corner? Ie. the reiteration of the ‘Verstappen rule’ like last year? Btw I always thought that was silly to call it that because it was already a thing well before Max. MS was not unfamiliar with jamming guys up this way.

        So in other words I see Max as still learning and growing all the while having already stamped his authority on the game, and making other drivers well aware that they have a relentless pit bull around them. I probably should be posting this when Max’s placing is revealed, but I think it is relevant here too in that DR is no Max, imho. And Max has only just begun.

        1. Max is special. Not as special as Lewis, but still special.

      2. Ever?
        Hungary overtake = T bone steak

  6. Really Alonso top 4 after the seasin he had is a jokd. The slurping is nauseating and knows no bounds. Clearly F1 fanatic is an Alonso fanatic.

  7. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    15th December 2017, 14:35

    Top 4 for Alonso? Hahaha what a stretch.
    5 Alonso
    4 Ricciardo
    3 Vettel
    2 Verstappen
    1 Hamilton

    1. @omarr-pepper Spot on. Alonso was great but not top 4 great. Hamilton was on form. Verstappen had an unreliable car but won more than Ricciardo. Seb was stellar in the first half. Ricciardo was very good and could have beaten Kimi in the standings if not for Abu Dhabi. Nando was fantastic but P5 is the perfect place for him.

  8. Team mate, beer mate, brother in law. All Danny Rick as number 1, easy. Totally irrelevant of course but the best overtaker in the business and the strength he has shown when faced with RoboMax is reason enough for Ferrari or Mercedes to chases him till he bites.

  9. The same top five I’d have chosen, and probably the same guy in at #5.

    From here I’d expect… Alonso/Vettel will be three and four but could be either way. Verstappen more likely to be #2, with Hamilton in first.

  10. I’m looking forward to seeing the argument for Alonso and Vettel being made. Vettel drove in to other cars on multiple occasions (not even for position, just out of frustration or complacency) and the former I’m just not seeing, nothing to compare him to within his team. Ric would be 3rd in my book. I’m happy to have a different opinion though, I am a fan after all. I’ll probably have my opinion swayed by the knowledge/insight in the following articles :P

    1. Vettel drove into LH once out of ‘track rage’ and everything else he did was just racing…just to give you a preview of my stance lol…

      1. Baku on Hamilton was track rage
        Canada on Verstappen was not looking in the right direction… lost his frontwing twice (??)
        Singapore on Verstappen was pure panic
        Mexico on Verstappen and Hamilton was desperate
        Malaysia on Stroll was just plain stupid

        Just racing…?

        1. Yeah of course…racing. In Canada Max just brilliantly went by Seb and ran over his front wing in the process. Seb didn’t complain, it was an amazing move by Max. Singapore was a normal move that had Kimi sandwiching Max toward Seb that Seb couldn’t have known existed as an issue. Seb squeezed normally but left Max plenty of room to squeeze left too, but for Kimi being there. Seb couldn’t have known he wasn’t leaving Max room after all. Mexico desperation? Sure. He had to win it to stay in it, but again that plan was thwarted by Max’s brilliant move inside him, altering his line and allowing LH an opening that LH didn’t need to put himself into for the Championship win, but as a racer did anyway. Seb get’s on it as it’s all he can do, or see any slim Championship hope disappear into the sunset, but had been off a normal line due to Max’s move and had a little control issue under throttle and rubbed LH’s tire. With Stroll I can’t recall. Racing. Racing includes those he is racing with and their influence on his actions. Positions he was put in that weren’t always ideal that he had to react to. Without the luxury of hindsight. What wasn’t racing was the intentional sideswipe into LH.

        2. Ahah, all your points actually make sense.

          As for the top teams’ drivers, I agree with raikkonen 11th, not sure about bottas 6th, thought he could be behind at least one of the good midfield drivers (force india + renault current drivers), maybe 2, then ricciardo 5th seems ok, I would put vettel next, cause imo he was closer to ricciardo’s level this season than the others, and then alonso, hamilton and verstappen would all be in contention for 1st place imo, they had the 1-2 bad weekends (hamilton russia, monaco, austria, verstappen abu dhabi, alonso malaysia), it could be I’m forgetting some for alonso especially, but in general their driving was great and most of their retirements weren’t their fault, only notable verstappen mistake was hungary’s ricciardo crash and I don’t even know what proper mistake hamilton and alonso made.

          1. My answer btw was @Matn, I hadn’t seen the next comment till after I posted mine.

        3. Matn, in the case of the Canadian GP, Verstappen was generally held as being the one who drove over Vettel’s front wing – Vettel wasn’t able to move out of the way because Bottas was on the left hand side of him.

          1. Anon,
            Please check the post race interviews from Vettel…. Vettel admitted he was battling Bottas for the first corner and actually didn’t notice Verstappen… at all. Vettel says in his own words he could not blame Verstappen for going for the gap he left open.

            It was in fact Vettel who went right steering into Verstappens rear wheel… a bit like Mexico

  11. This year, I got the feeling that Dan lost motivation pretty early when after the first few races it was apparent that their car wasn’t in the ball park.

    He just didn’t seem to have that hunger and seemed to be just going through the motions until the latter part when RBR finally got some performance out of it.

    I’ll be greatly interested to see how 2018 shapes up and what his attitude looks like after the first 3 races. If the cars “there” I think we’ll see a different driver. If it’s not, I suspect we’ll see more of the same and his management looking hard at getting a move to another team.

    1. Let’s hope the Renault pu is much improved in power and reliability for the sake of RBR and McLaren. And themselves of course. That would be fantastic for F1. And us.

  12. Frankly, Verstappen retired at least two times due to contact with other cars by being over agressive. That’s not reliability, it’s him.
    The same attitude that made him overtake Vettel in Canada and Mexico, so, there’s two sides to this.

    He had to take a lot of grid penalties too, more than Verstappen and he didn’t thron anything by the window like Verstappen did more than once.

    1. Why is Verstappen to blame when others crash into him…?
      Spain > clearly Bottas fault, who was kind enough to admit he misjudged the first corner, bumping into Raikkonen who bumped into Verstappen. Both Bottas and Rai kind of where in a fight, Verstappen left enough distance on the outside.
      Austria > clutch failure made him not leave the grid very well, Kvyat torpedo’d Alonso who ran into Verstappen, entirely Kvyat to blame
      Singapore > 2 Ferrari’s going towards each other with Verstappen caught in between…

      Verstappen cause the Hungary incident, could have been more carefull at Monza…although his own opinion was he should have been more aggressive on Massa. It was Massa though who forced him off track.
      So francly in one incident Verstappen was to blame, one was doubtfull.

      Ricciardo’s record this season
      Hungary > ambitious move on Verstappen, but legit, Verstappen at fault
      Abu Dhabi > first lap incident
      2 x crash in quali (Aus and Baku)
      1 hitting the wall in Monaco…close call
      Going off track at Silverstone losing 4-5 positions
      Monza first lap collision with Grosjean

      Verstappen often gets the ‘overly aggressive card’, but in reality he’s quite clean on track, other drivers like Vettel and Ricciardo where involved in as many, or even more incidents.

  13. Some of you people have clearly lost your tiny minds with regard to Alonso. His only “off” week-end was Malaysia where he got outqualified by Vandoorne (who’s btw WAY more talented than some think) for the first and only time this year, before finishing the race in 11th having been stuck behind more powerful engines. Ricciardo, Vettel and Hamilton have all either made mistakes here and there and/or have had off week-ends. Alonso meanwhile has been as much of a “deliverer” as always. As Smedley once said, he simply jumps in the car and pushes the wheels off it, race after race, session after session. Now I’m not saying he necessarily needs to win the ranking, but he’s been as good as any other driver this year.

    1. Yes pretty right I think, Alonsa is really one of the best of this era. I’m a bit of a Ricciardo fan but he needs to get it together for next year, his starts in particular.

  14. Aaahahahaha! Alonso could not race for a whole season and still be in top 5. Such a bs. Seriously, what did he actually do to be higher than Ric? Most overrared driver of the past two decades

    1. What a surprise. the Alonso trolls spoiling an (almost) reasonable driver comparison discussion.

      As a fan of Riccairdo I’d want him to do better. As a fan of Alonso, I’d ask what more can he do?

    2. “Most overrated driver of the past two decades”

      You don’t even believe that:)

  15. This shouldn’t be viewed as Max is higher ranked than Daniel but rather, Daniel is amongst top 5 this year.

    First one is debatable, second one I find much more agreable.

    Daniel was good, but not best he has ever been.

  16. I must admit I was surprised at RIC’s performance this year.
    The year he raced against Vettel he dominated him. Because of that, I thought him to be one of, if not the best in the paddock. So did Alonso.
    But this year, if not for a lot of bad luck (and some stupid driving errors), VES made RIC look vulnerable.
    I still think he is better than VET because proved he could drive a loose car while VET failed badly and proved the car has to be to his liking much like Kimi.
    In any case, I think he is caught between a rock and a hard place in the future.
    Chances of him getting a ride with Ferrari or Mercedes as long as HAM and VET are around.
    He should sign with Red Bull soon as they are losing patience.

    1. He slaughtered Vettel because Vettel was never very good to begin with.
      Average quali pace and hopeless racer – which in hindsight gives even more credit to Newey’s genius.

      Ricciardo was pretty well equaled by JEV, and is now finding VER a handful too, which says a more about a driver that people (Keith very much included) admire purely because ‘oh look at all these stats, don’t they sound impressive.’ Putting Vettel ahead of the likes of Hulk, Ricciardo, Max, Sainz etc simply shows Keith can’t look past his Vettel fanboyism, and the machinery that the drivers happen to be sitting in.

    2. I think Ricciardo staying with Red Bull would be a mistake. Merc / Ferrari will get the drivers they want, I don’t think Hamilton and especially Vettel would have a genuine veto. Only rumours but if they prove to be more, then both Merc and Ferrari are interested in Ricciardo.
      As far a Red Bull losing patience, more for public consumption than actual negotiating I think.

      1. This – at the very least he’d be a points machine. He’s surely had enough of Marko’s BS.

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