Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Ricciardo pleased Hamilton’s Covid-19 diagnosis didn’t decide title fight

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In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo is pleased Lewis Hamilton’s positive Covid-19 test didn’t swing the championship outcome.

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What they say

Ricciardo pointed out Hamilton’s absence due to his diagnosis ultimately handed Jack Aitken his F1 debut.

Fortunately for him, the championship’s tied up. Obviously it would be the worst way in the world to lose a championship because of this. I think 2020 has been been weird enough. So I think that’s kind of the glass half-full approach or at least mindset is that he has it wrapped up.

As long as he hopefully just has mild symptoms and it’s nothing obviously serious, then I think he can he can be relatively OK with this one and missing this one out.

For the others, you’ve seen the whole grid now is really shaken up. George [Russell] has an opportunity to obviously have that seat and to have a go and that’s then moved Jack into his seat. So obviously when one door closes another opens for some.

The important thing is Lewis has mild symptoms, he’s OK and recovers quick and I think it’s the best of of a bad situation.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

David BR says the Mercedes garage – relatively mindgame free recently, compared to the Hamilton-Rosberg years, is perhaps back to being a hotbed of diplomacy as Russell enters the frame…

Revealing comments from Wolff and Bottas beneath the smokescreen.

First, Mercedes seem all prepared for Hamilton to miss both races. Second, Bottas spells out the reality: “it wouldn’t look so good on me if I have a normal race and if he beats me fair and square”. So he knows pressure is on him. And that means he’s not buying into Wolff downplaying the significance.

On the other hand, Wolff can afford to be a bit ingenious with this debate as, theoretically, Bottas and Russell could be team mates as early as 2021 if Hamilton doesn’t sign again, or in 2022 if he extends the contract for one year only. That fact allows him to sidestep the issue of Russell directly competing for Bottas’s place.
David BR

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...
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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  • 17 comments on “Ricciardo pleased Hamilton’s Covid-19 diagnosis didn’t decide title fight”

    1. Considering HAAS were on the brink of collapse without the pay drivers that seems like a rather incendiary article from the Telegraph. For sure every team would love to develop diversity inclusive talent, but who can afford to?

      And err, CotD, revealing? Wolff literally said in that article that Lewis and Valterri will be the drivers for 2021 and then the comment goes on to hypothesise that they won’t…

      1. I don’t know what some F1 fans expect teams to do.
        Without adequate funding, you can’t compete.

      2. @skipgamer The point I made was that Hamilton hasn’t yet signed for 2021 and Bottas isn’t assured a place for 2022. The expectation is for Russell to arrive in 2022, but who for? If Hamilton signs for another 3 years, Bottas obviously. But Wolff can downplay the idea that Russell this weekend (and next) is a test for Bottas because Russell could, in theory, be a replacement for the Hamilton if they fail to agree a new contract. Wolff basically has three drivers for 2 places and seems to have made promises to them all. Understandable given he can’t guarantee Hamilton won’t walk away either this year or next. But it does mean he has to tell each of them a convincing story.

        1. Wolff basically has three drivers for 2 places and seems to have made promises to them all.

          Ocon rings a bell here! does this mean George will drive for Renault ?

    2. Mercedes could sign George to replace Lewis as of next year and save $30 or $40 million… it would garner huge publicity and interest for next year to see if the car is really the most important factor in this era. If George gets pole and a podium, in a car that he doesn’t even fit in properly, it certainly won’t help LH’s contract negotiations.
      Then Mercedes could spend the money saved on more meaningful things to help end racism.

      1. Basically, you are saying Mercedes would gamble on someone who has never won a race in Formula 1, just so they could save money on someone who has won almost 100 races and given them 6 championships?

        There is a reason the vast majority of F1 fans are not in a boardroom making multimillion dollar business decisions.

        1. @kbdavies It wouldn’t just be about the money… Russell is a genuine long-term prospect, whereas even the most optimistic predictions only see Hamilton racing for another three years.

          As I’ve said before, Mercedes will have one eye on the new regulations in 2022 and will ideally want an established driver to lead them through that. If Hamilton isn’t willing to commit for another 2-3 seasons then it makes sense to swap the drivers now and give Russell a year to bed in.

          1. @red-andy Russell is a genuine long-term prospect.
            Hamilton is the best driver of the grid and can still easily perform at the highest level for 2-3 more years.

            Why would Mercedes have to choose for 1 seat between the 2 of them when they can have both of them and just drop Bottas who seems the least capable to win a WDC…?

            Hamilton makes just as much money for Mercedes as he earns from them. At the moment he is a ‘global icon’, more people are aware of Hamilton as a brand, than Mercedes F1 team. If he signs another 2-3 contract for them (because I don’t all this fuss is for just a 1-year extension, Hamilton indicated he has enough desire to race some years) then he will not only continue to brand the Mercedes+Hamilton brand for these 2-3 years, but for the next 5-10 after he retires.
            Also, unless something dramatic happens, he will most likely win his record 8th WDC next year and become the most successfull driver by far. Why wouldn’t Mercedes want to be associated with this legendary achivement?

            Russell might be good, might become even better than Hamilton in the future, but he’s not as marketable as Hamilton and most important, he’s not as good as Hamilton at the moment. If Mercedes picked a Russell-Bottas line up for 2021, then they might find it much harder to win the WDC than if they had Hamilton fighting.
            The best thing for Russell would have been to land the 2021 seat alongside Hamilton. Since they chose Bottas over him and after he nearly lost his Williams seat for next year, I don’t thing he would mind if he spends one more year in Williams and signes a contract for Mercedes in 2022.

            Bottas on the other hand looks OKish at the moment because Mercedes didn’t had to fight for hard for the championships in 2019-20. But judging from his (lack of) form in 2017-18 when Mercedes did have competition, then they better get rid of him before 2022.

        2. RP was willing to sacrifice Sergio Perez for 4x WDC what more do Mercedes with a7x WDC? All and sundry want to be associated with multiple-time champion plus records holder. That association bring money and prestige to the team. If RP can pay out Perez’ contract to get Vettel on board so does any other money-able teams if Hamilton suddenly becomes available. Hamilton helps to develop the car but the same can not be said about Russel or Bottas just as yet. In all honesty they both need each other Hamilton and Mercedes to thrive forward although it can not be expected to go on forever even Wolff himself has said his own shelf life as the team principal may come to an end soon.

      2. So remind us how much sponsorship Hamilton brings to the team? (I’ll start you off with $50 million from Hilfiger contract alone.)
        And the media reach that Hamilton brings (in the tens of millions) to the team. To put that into monetary terms the average driver F1 driver is ‘worth’ $3,000 per insta post. Ham’s are worth just shy of $50,000 each. Ham is a money making and publicity machine and like Moss etc, will be a lifetime brand ambassador for Mercedes.
        And that’s before we look at what he achieves on track for the team.
        But maybe I’m missing something. I relish the thought of a Ham/Russell combination from 22, and hope George does well enough this week and next to earn that spot. Which I assumed most in F1 would as well. But there seems to be a group on here that thinks a Bottas/Russell future for Mercedes is a more mouth watering prospect for them and the team. Funny enough most from the posters who have had little time for Bottas in the past.

      3. @x1znet

        Basically you’re hoping Hamilton doesn’t renew his contract which is fine- but I highly doubt Mercedes will make their decision based on petty anti Hamilton bias. At the end of the day he has been a team player, been a part of the success story and marketing wise, George is nowhere near the same level of exposure as Lewis. It’s okay to dream though.

    3. That telegraph article, apart from HAAS just needing the money, seems to forget the reality that you do need to have enough of the FIA points to get a license for F1, which means that the field is rather limited. Illot would be a better candidate than Mazepin on racecraft/speed, yes (but not money); Tsunoda? Japanese male likely already taking the AT seat Kvyat is in; … there are no women available, so how diverse can you get in one season. That’s why it needs a broader effort to get drivers from more diverse backgrounds and genders etc

      I guess one could call it good that even the Telegraph is on the case?

      1. A point on Telegraph we can agree is that F1 agenda can be read as not sincere if F1 is not clearer on the prospects of a female or a non-western european-male driver in the next decade, I mean, keeping a multi year contract on a midlevel team.
        It is not that I disagree to more diversity into F1, but the fact that I think that trying to get into F1, even for “privileged white male”, is not a sensible/reasonable project. One spends years and millions of dollars depending on an almost aleatory combination of talent and opportunity (the right time at the right car).
        And it is not that F1 had been failing into bring talent from diverse background. FIA junior series are failing to discover white male talent. If we discount the Mercedes’ lucky strike with Hamilton, Redbull system is the sole responsible to promote really amazing drivers.
        Other than vettel and verstappen, the last additions to F1 roster are mediocre (I mean unable, for many reasons, to win races). We had good drivers (HUL. RIC), but none of them were able to push a team for victories, championships.

    4. What a strange thing to say by Daniel Ricciardo.

      1. Why strange? I reread it in case I missed something. Ric is saying that it must suck for Hammy to miss out 1 or 2 races due to an illness, but it would have sucked more if he had lost the championship due to it. Also although not a nice situation for Hammy – at least it has opened a door for other people to show what they can do. So yes, I would say that is a ‘glass half full’ point of view.

    5. I bet that Telegraph article was written by a white middle aged middle class able bodied straight male…..

      Although he does have a point, but the reality is that some teams have no option but to select money over greater talent… or go bust.

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