In 2018 Daniel Ricciardo headed to Monte Carlo targeting victory. He achieved it. And in some style. He took the pole and drove a fine defensive race after suffering the loss of his MGU-K early on, costing him 160 brake horsepower.
“He could have been in Apollo 13 the way he was dealing with problems today,” said appreciative Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
But, two short months later, Horner was dismayed to find Ricciardo leaving for Renault.
Daniel was accused of running from an intra-team fight with Max Verstappen. Others said he was merely protecting his market value.
The man himself pointed out that when he joined Red Bull the team had won four consecutive world titles. But, without one in the next five seasons - in F1’s hybrid era - it was time for a change.
Regardless, Ricciardo’s Monaco record is stellar. The win apart, in 2017 he was third behind a Ferrari 1-2. In 2016 he took pole but lost the race to Lewis Hamilton when his tyres were not ready at his pit stop. In 2014, his first season at Red Bull, he out-qualified four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and finished third behind a Mercedes 1-2.
With Renault this time, the goals must surely be different.
SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO
F1 DRIVER, RENAULT:
“I guess I haven’t really set personal targets yet. I’m not the guy to kind of write a list on my fridge. Like, you know, this is what I need to do this year. I guess I know in my mind what I want to do and I guess the main thing I’ve always said from when I was young was to leave each Sunday without any regret. To leave a track knowing I put it all on the table and and didn’t leave anything behind.”
Realistically, Ricciardo will be hoping to leave Renault teammate Nico Hulkenberg behind. With just one points finish in 2019, more points have to be the Monaco target. A top six finish would be a bonus.