[F1 2019 VIDEO FEATURE] DANIEL RICCIARDO: BAD RENAULT START

Last year, Daniel Ricciardo left Red Bull Racing after 150 races with the energy drinks brand’s backing, 100 at its top squad.

And it had been a successful run not just in making it to F1, but in being competitive at the top level with seven wins, two alone in 2018 from the first six races, China an overtaking masterclass… 

… and Monaco, where he nursed home a broken car for 50 laps, for the Principality win he should have had in 2016, if not for a pit stop debacle… 

SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“It was a stressful race. At the time, it didn’t feel particularly sweet. But crossing the line felt amazing. And [it’s] redemption, that’s what I really feel it is. Two years in the making.”

Looking for a change and a new path to the world title after frustrations at Red Bull, a new bright future at Renault beckoned, along with a huge, top-driver annual pay packet, said to be $20 million British pounds.

SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
F1 DRIVER, RENAULT:
“I guess the change, but to really kind of push the team. I mean, they’ve been on a really good trajectory the last few years, and to try and be a part of that and help it move forward. Yeah, I’m just, I feel like revitalised.”

But, so far, it’s been a rough ride for the Australian with three DNFs from the first four races, with Azerbaijan an embarrassment. The new Renault racer making a meal of his overtake on Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat… 

… going straight on at Turn 2, blocking the Russian from turn-in before mindlessly reversing into Kvyat to get out of the escape road.

Both drivers retired, and while Ricciardo apologised to Kvyat, he was handed a 3-place grid penalty for the next race in Spain.

… with the Russian also providing a few choice words.

“He just needs to be a bit more patient I think," Kvyat said. "I'll buy him a rear-view mirror for the next race."

It’s yet another setback in what has been a difficult start to the season for Renault, but the return to Europe could see a change in fortunes with the French team working furiously to reduce reliability issues like that which saw the pair both stop on track in Bahrain.

And with Ricciardo’s competitive past now well in the rearview mirror, it’s motivation enough to move forward from a dire opening four races.