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Formula 1

Ricciardo's perfect on-track response to Villeneuve 'talking s**t'

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
4 min read

Daniel Ricciardo dismissed Jacques Villeneuve’s biting criticism during Formula 1’s Canadian Grand Prix as the 1997 world champion “talking s**t”, and said “all those people can suck it” after qualifying fifth in Montreal.

Ricciardo has had a disappointing season in Red Bull’s second team and been comprehensively beaten so far by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, whose place at the team for 2025 was confirmed ahead of qualifying in Canada.

Ricciardo’s future is less certain, as he is fighting reserve Liam Lawson for the RB seat he only got into in the middle of last year.

Early in the Montreal weekend, Sky Sports F1 pundit Villeneuve strongly criticised Ricciardo in multiple ways – accusing him of making “excuses”, claiming he should leave F1 if he “can’t cut it”, and then belittling Ricciardo’s achievements at Red Bull and most of his career since he became Max Verstappen’s team-mate in mid-2016.

After Ricciardo earned his best result of the season in a main qualifying session, the eight-time grand prix winner held back from responding too much to Villeneuve – but while he admitted “I still don’t know what he said”, Ricciardo said he had “heard he’s been talking s**t”.

“But he always does,” Ricciardo said. “I think he’s hit his head too many times. I don’t know if he plays ice hockey or something.

“I won’t give him the time of day. But…all those people can suck it.

“I want to say more but it’s alright. We’ll leave them behind.”

It is not the first time Ricciardo has hit back at criticism around his struggling form, but he has had little opportunity to do so in an underwhelming 2024 campaign.

Daniel Ricciardo Yuki Tsunoda

Tsunoda’s contract news just before qualifying, with no mention of Ricciardo’s future, was symbolic of how their years have gone and accurately reflects their standing in Red Bull’s eyes at the moment.

But when asked if he had “double motivation” to get a result given that announcement before qualifying, Ricciardo said he has been “highly motivated to do more than I have been this year” and came to this race – where he earned his first F1 win 10 years ago on Saturday, pictured below – feeling he was “ready to do some good s**t.”

Ricciardo revealed part of that was down to a process he went through after a disappointing previous race in Monaco, which he described as some “self-therapy”.

He said he had questioned “the things I'm doing wrong away from the track, or maybe giving too much of my time to people, and by the time I get to race day or something I'm a little bit more flat”.

One interpretation is Ricciardo, who is such a major commercial asset to Red Bull, the RB team and its partners, may be feeling stretched from too many marketing activities – a sentiment he has expressed in the past.

He invited his team and close contacts to give him “constructive criticism” after Monaco and asked “what do you think is going wrong?”, which he said led to a “very open chat”.

“I just got into this weekend feeling certainly a bit lighter, and just hungry and happy and ready to say ‘f**k you’ to a few people,” Ricciardo said.

MORE MISERY FOR PEREZ

Sergio Perez Red Bull Canadian Grand Prix 2024

While Ricciardo felt revitalised in Canada, the driver whose seat he had coveted at the start of the year – Sergio Perez – had a miserable first qualifying session since earning a surprise new two-year contract at Red Bull.

Perez was eliminated in Q1 for the second race in a row, while team-mate Verstappen qualified second having set an identical laptime to poleman George Russell.

Canada was part of a major mid-season dip in form last season for Perez as well, and this continues a poor run of late – which he had no explanation for here.

“It’s a massive frustration,” he said. “Everything reset with the weather and we just couldn’t get everything to work, especially the rear axle.

“There were some things we could’ve done better but fundamentally we were lacking some pace today.”

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