Has Daniel Ricciardo’s Chances of a World Championship Faded Away?

Has Daniel Ricciardo’s Chances of a World Championship Faded Away?

Back in June 2011, Daniel Ricciardo drove his first race in Formula One for HRT. Throughout the following nine years, the Australian developed a reputation for being one of the most exciting drivers on the grip. However, despite his action-packed, late-braking style, the 31-year-old has yet to become a World Champion. Like many open-wheel racers, Ricciardo has become a victim of the Mercedes era, which has ultimately been a stumbling block in his pursuit of realizing his dream. So, let’s take a look at whether Ricciardo’s hunt for ultimate glory is now out of reach.

Hindered by the Dominance of Mercedes 

First and foremost, F1 is arguably one of the globe’s most unpredictable sports. There are a number of variables that can impact results, including crashes, mechanical issues, and safety cars. However, even from this standpoint, Mercedes have been clear of their competitors in getting its drivers to the finishing line. This is evident by the fact that Lewis Hamilton recently set the record for consecutive points finishes, according to F1.com.

Regarding Ricciardo, the 31-year-old has twice finished third in the Drivers’ World Championship standings behind both Mercedes racers. In 2014, the Australian registered 238 points, while Nico Rosberg and Hamilton recorded 317 and 384, respectively. Unfortunately for Ricciardo, the same happened again in 2016, finishing over 130 points behind the eventual championship winner, Rosberg. 

However, this record doesn’t point towards a lack of talent on Ricciardo’s part. Instead, it merely showcases Mercedes’ domination of the sport throughout the 2010s. Between 2010 and 2019, only Mercedes and Red Bull took its drivers to the world title, with Hamilton, Rosberg, and Sebastian Vettel being the only racers to secure championship wins.

A New Era Awaits Ricciardo at McLaren

The 31-year-old still believes that he has what it takes to become the 33rd Drivers’ World Champion in the sport’s history. Prior to the start of the 2020 season, Ricciardo stated that his desire was to “leave a World Champion”, according to PlanetF1. Although that won’t happen at Renault, there’s a sense of optimism that Ricciardo could spearhead McLaren’s return to the front of the grid.

For the 2021 season, McLaren has agreed on a deal to switch to Mercedes power units, a move that revives a historic partnership. Interestingly, this mechanical alteration aligns with the introduction of new regulations, which will supposedly place more of an emphasis on creating closer racing through rewarding driver skill.

McLaren CEO, Zak Brown has previously commented that Ricciardo has the ability to immediately win a championship with the right car. However, he later added that 2021 McLaren is unlikely to be capable of challenging for the sport’s ultimate prize. As a result, Ricciardo is, at the time of writing, 7/2 with F1 betting to achieve a podium finish at the Eifel Grand Prix. Meanwhile, the seven-time race winner will of course be excited for what’s come in the near future but will likely have his sights set firmly on what he can achieve in 2020.

Anything Is Possible with Talent 

Ultimately, for as long as Hamilton is driving for Mercedes, it’s unlikely that any other driver will be the favorite for the Drivers’ World Championship. That said, with the regulation changes and McLaren’s mechanical alterations coming into force from 2021, the revamped era of F1 may present Ricciardo with his best chance of writing his name into the record books.