Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018

Ricciardo: Hamilton deserves “full credit” for title

2018 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton deserves “full credit” for winning the Formula 1 world championship again without compromising his lifestyle away from the track, says Daniel Ricciardo.

The newly-crowned five-times champion has attracted attention for his pursuits away from the track this year, including a musical collaboration with Christina Aguilera and the launch of his first fashion collection.

Ricciardo has no doubt he could match Hamilton’s achievements in the same car. “My competitive side will always believe I’m the best and in that car I could do the same things, ‘yadda ya’,” he said.

“But I definitely give him all the respect and it’s definitely not a go at Lewis: I think he’s been pretty awesome at being able to do what he’s done continuously on track for the best part of a decade, but also done his own thing away from the track. For him to live the life he’s living and still keep up such a performance, full credit to him.”

Hamilton has consistently had the better of Sebastian Vettel, Ricciardo added.

“Also this year people realise that, OK, you can have a fast car but you’ve got to be able to perform week in and week out. Seb’s for the most part had a fast car all year but when you’re fighting for the title it’s those little ‘one-percenters’ that Lewis’s has got on top of more often than him and that’s what really dictated the pace of this championship.

“I give Lewis full respect. I think the talent’s always been there, the speed’s always been there, everyone knows that but for him to maintain this level of intensity, this level of speed and commitment is pretty strong. I’ve certainly got no problem with applauding him on that.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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46 comments on “Ricciardo: Hamilton deserves “full credit” for title”

  1. You cannot deny that Ricciardo is a thoroughbred racing driver. YEah, he might have as much talent, and certainly would be in the thick of the championship fight if his car had been as good as the Mercedes or the Ferrari this year.

    But I seriously doubt that he would come close to matching how Hamilton drove this year. Not even Hamilton himself of last year, let alone the year before that could match himself. I beliefe that losing out to Rosberg in 2016 made him look at himself, at his approach. We could see him take another step in 2017 but this year he really has risen to an even higher level. I don’t think there was any driver able to match what Hamilton achieved this year, even if he had been in the same car as Lewis.

  2. Ric in the Merc on a level playing field would take it to Lewis , and this is pretty much why Toto didn’t say sign him ..

    1. @nosehair I seriously don’t know where you get that nonsense from but Mercedes didn’t choose for Ricciardo because he asked too much money. If there is a driver that doesn’t fear competition than it’s Hamilton who had more better teammates than any driver on the grid.

      1. @noname:

        he asked too much money

        Source?

    2. +bogaaaa
      Hamilton put lumps on Fernando Alonso’s head and psyche, and that was when Hamilton was a rookie, driving purely on talent with no F1 experience whatsoever. I don’t think Lewis would find Ricciardo anywhere near as tough as that challenge of a freshly minted two time F1 champion Alonso, at the top of his game, expecting more titles immediately.

      Lewis has as much pure driving talent and now, in his mature driving years, his racecraft is unparalleled among the current crop of drivers. Everyone else has made numerous mistakes this year….Lewis is the only driver who has pretty much had a faultless 2018. Top of his game. Top of F1. Indisputable.

  3. Unfortunately for ric his battle with ver was negated by all of his retirements. Altho it does seem that ver has had the upper hand. Its not just about the talent but about whether a driver can handle the pressure. Something ham has been handling quite good. Even ver he races luke theres no tomorow where as ham was racing always 2 or 3 races ahead. Ver raced for position and personal. ham raced for championships.totally different mind sets

  4. That or the dissapointment named Bottas is making him look better.
    I bet there are a handfull of drivers on the grid that can challenge him in the same car.

    1. Consistently over the year…? I’m not sure there’s that many – VET; RIC; VER; ALO (maybe)… and two or three others in the wings waiting for their cue…

      1. Vettel couldn’t beat him in an equal car why would he in the same?

      2. Consistently over the year…? I’m not sure there’s that many – VET?

        Vettel? Did you watch this year?

      3. Shame we seem only able to receive fan-boy responses here… ;-(

        1. Because most dont agree with you?

          1. No, Gabriel… it’s simply because, sadly, one cannot have any kind of discussion with fan-boy responses.
            I don’t care whether people agree with me – it’s not obligatory – but a snappy, six-word, fan-boy reply is just a retort – not a starting point for a conversation… And a site like RaceFans, which has such good original media from Keith and Dieter, surely deserves more intelligent interaction – agreement or disagreement is irrelevant.
            That’s all, really – sorry to disappoint you… ;-)

    2. Bit harsh. I’d doubt there’d be many (if any) that could beat Hamilton at his best and he has been at his best since he was beaten to the WDC by Rosberg.

      He really didn’t have to try that hard (or didn’t think he had to) to beat Rosberg, because he’d consistently beaten him right throughout his junior days and frankly Rosberg wasn’t all that good. He was pretty much nowhere against previous teammates until gifted the Mercedes, and he was lucky enough that Hamilton wasn’t all the focussed.

      Since 2016, there’s been a completely different Hamilton driving. Bottas has done pretty well to push him for the past 2 seasons.

  5. Daniel Ricciardo has obviously been a class act ever since he tested for Red Bull in Abu Dhabi 2010

    https://www.racefans.net/2010/11/17/ricciardo-sets-fastest-lap-of-abu-dhabi-in-test/

    It’s just timing and possibly Vettel that kept him from being a WDC during the Red Bull golden years.

    Vettel has been lucky by contrast. A very fast ‘Newey’ Toro Rosso in 2008 enabled him to take pole and the win at Monza, where the other Seb, Bourdais was 4th on the grid but retired. Then he had the luxury of a journeymen team mate in Mark Webber who made him look good for 5 years.

    Paired with Ricciardo in 2014, Vettel didn’t fare well at all, and he won’t next year against Leclerc either.

    It’s a shame Daniel will be in a relatively uncompetitive Renault next year. But then we all said that about Hamilton and Mercedes in late 2012, didn’t we?

    1. “But then we all said that about Hamilton and Mercedes in late 2012, didn’t we?”
      There have been three changes in recent years which have not surprised me…
      HAM to MB…
      RB to Honda…
      RIC to Renault…
      Kimi to Sauber…
      They might not have seemed too promising at first, and these later ones might turn out to disasters, but all four were ‘made offers they couldn’t refuse’…

      About the only thing that has surprised me is Toto being too ‘nice‘ to BOT… I would have liked to see OCO or RUS in that seat, getting ready to take over from HAM – as Ferrari have done with LEC…

      1. My poor math has never surprised me… ;-(

      2. I’m not sure those moves are down to money. Hamilton wanted to win a championship again and (rightly) saw no future in McLaren. Kimi to Sauber I think is a very smart and elegant move, away from the turmoil at Ferrari and deciding his own fate. And Ricciardo? Can’t help thinking that was a solution to a problem called MV that he should have tried to resolve at Red Bull.

        1. That scream from riccirado when taking pole from max (brilliant lap) was the first time ricciardo was honest about his motives for leaving redbull. The scream was not about pole, it was about beating max to pole. That’s what that scream told me – a mixture of surprise and deep satisfaction. It is a tough sport and i do wonder he is capable of being ruthless enough. And he seems to have problems with staying consistently focussed during weekends and races, unlike hamilton , verstappen and a few others. In that sense, renault might be a wise choice – driving the incidental quality race in a lesser car may be the most likeky route to ‘succes’.

          1. Maybe so. I was surprised when he said that Verstappen was the Formula 1 nerd and he (Ricciardo) doesn’t like practice, he just wants to turn up and race. Not the example of someone who stays focused over a race weekend. Formula 1 is surely too competitive now to have a vaguely amateur attitude.

      3. Why would Toto need anything other than a second driver that can help bring in the constructors championship? If Merc fail to bring in the constructors championship this year a large part of that failure might be attributed to Bottas.

    2. Too true Frasier

  6. So ‘full credit’ but Ricciardo making sure we know he thinks it was nothing more than he would have managed in the same car. Really? He can’t even compete with Verstappen over a season.

    1. @david-br Every driver has this exact same mentality. You have to back yourself to beat any challenge that throws itself onto you. I’m sure if you asked Lance Stroll, he would back himself to beat Lewis in the same machinery.

      1. This.

        If a driver isn’t backing himself, he shouldn’t be in Formula 1.

    2. Tell me the season he was beaten by Verstappen.

    3. @david-br surely you’re not referring to this season where RIC has had the most mechanical failure DNFs of any other driver on the grid?

      1. @justrhysism I’m going by on track performance not statistics. Obviously in the latter case you have to take in all Ricciardo’s mechanical issues. In terms of performance though, Verstappen has been stronger, as in Mexico.

  7. “But I definitely give him all the respect and it’s definitely not a go at Lewis……”

    The old “i’m not racist, but….”

    Frankly all these ridiculous back-handed compliments Hamilton is getting this year is nothing short of insulting: “hes made the least mistakes” – translate: “yeah, hes done his job, but Seb didn’t do his”. Which is to completely misrepresent what actually happened this year. Hamilton didn’t just trundle along while the Ferrari’s tripped up, he actually took the fight to them, he stole pole positions where the Ferrari was quicker, he took wins where the Ferrari was quicker.

    1. I agree that’s often the case with the media, especially when they start mentioning ‘lifestyle,’ ‘tattoos’ and the like (‘ethnic code’). In the case of drivers, it’s more that, as Ricciardo admits, they nearly always think they’re the best out there. However Ricciardo first has to prove he’s better than he’s team mate before making begrudging evaluations of Hamilton. Could Ricciardo have achieved that Singapore pole? Or any of those Hamilton managed in the wet? No. There’s no evidence he could. What most irritates me is that he’s clearly an exceptional driver, but he’s running away from reality instead of working to improve his own racing. All the signals are that he’s down because he now regrets a decision to leave made in haste – as everyone is reminding him. I feel for him but he now needs to concentrate on his future with Renault.

      1. What is wrong with you guys????
        It was a compliment and not a small one either. He rates Hamilton and thinks he was the best driver this year. And unlike most other drivers on the grid he was prepared to go on the record and say it.

        OK. so he said he thinks he has a chance at being better than Hamilton in the same machinery. If there is another driver on the grid who doesn’t feel exactly the same way, the I say sack them and find one who does feel that way.

        Every driver must feel like they are the best out there if they had the best equipment. Otherwise why even try getting to F1? Why race anything at all? Go be a banker instead. I bet even the F1 mechanics would love a shot to prove they are better than Hamilton.

        1. @mickharrold

          I bet even the F1 mechanics would love a shot to prove they are better than Hamilton.

          Now that would add some interest! A second race featuring mechanics, engineers, team managers, caterers or anyone else other than a driver that a team feels like nominating! :)

          1. How about web warriors against F1 drivers? I 100% know I am better than Hamilton.

            If only I wasn’t too heavy and had rich parents. Oh man. Time to go to bed to dream. I can hear the crowd cheering me now.

            But seriously though. I do feel like if I had gotten into carting at an early age and had really tried, I might have made F1. Maybe I really am better than Hamilton. Whenever I go social karting I smash everyone else. OK, I am probably misguided here, but who knows.

            My point is simple. If you want to get to the top, you have to believe that you can get there. If you don’t believe it, then you will 100% fail. The people slating Ricciardo for saying what he said are just plain misguided souls with no idea of what it takes to succeed.

          2. “The people slating Ricciardo for saying what he said are just plain misguided souls with no idea of what it takes to succeed.”

            *Sigh*

            Or maybe just annoyed at some people’s urge to always add a qualifier to their compliments about someone, instead of just simply complimenting them.

          3. @mickharrold

            Whenever I go social karting I smash everyone else. OK, I am probably misguided here, but who knows.

            Hahaha – I don’t often win as I’m too inconsistent, and at 6’3″/100kgs often a good 20-30kgs heavier than the competition; but I do somehow usually come away with the fastest lap which shows glimpses of pace.

            If only, if only…

    2. Far out you HAM nuts are precious!

  8. I entirely agree with him.

  9. Meanwhile I can’t disagree more. This is F1… There’s nothing even close to a level playing field where two drivers can be compared. No driver in F1 history deserves full credit for their titles. It’s a team game first and foremost.

    Yes he did his job, and performed at the level of a championship winning driver. But so did everyone else in the team to perform at the level of a championship winning team.

    1. Bottas didnt

  10. I’m tired of hearing about Hamilton’s “lifestyle.” I follow F1 intently, I see Hamilton on Instagram modeling his weird sneakers sitting on fancy cars, but I feel like I know more about the “lifestyles” of NFL back-up quarterbacks and random footballers. Hamilton’s lifestyle seems pretty boring, TBH, for a rich, single, childless young man who runs in celebrity circles. I couldn’t tell you who he is dating or dated in the past few years, he has no “twitter beefs,” there is no whiff of drugs or booze about him. He’s a god-bothering vegan, for crying out loud. Boring.

    1. First comment in a long time about Lewis’ often debated lifestyle that I agree wholeheartedly with. He’s painted as this party animal who is always off doing any & everything else, but all I’ve ever seen is him attending a few events outside of corporate obligations (fashion, sports, entertainment) & having his picture taken with a few high profile “celebrities” while at said events, most of whom seek him out & not the other way around (and he’s actual friends with quite a few of them). He’s got some nice cars & a plane: not exactly otherworldly among people who earn the kind of scratch he does… but yeah, he’s pretty boring otherwise. The only thing I find remotely exciting about Lewis Hamilton is his incredible prowess behind the wheel of a race car.

    2. I agree.

      Except on the young part.

      The guy is in his mid 30’s!

      Bit of Peter Pan about him.

      1. …you’re obviously much younger than Hamilton.

        30s isn’t old.

  11. @noname Oh rubbish!!, they didn’t want a rosberg/ Hami situation again, nothing to do with the money which is nothing to a team like Merc..seriously you need a better understanding of F1..bot works well as a back up driver and he does what he is told.

  12. So he had to talk himself up first before he could compliment Hamilton?

  13. Well, he got that.

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