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Ricciardo Qualifies Fifth After Villeneuve’s Criticism

  • SPORT
  • 2 min read

Daniel Ricciardo answered criticism from retired Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve by qualifying fifth for the Canadian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Villeneuve, the 1997 champion now working as a television pundit, had questioned on Sky Sports why the 34-year-old Australian was still in Formula One.

“We’re hearing the same thing for the last five years. ‘We have to make the car better for him, poor him’. No. You’re in F1. If you can’t cut it, go home. There’ll be someone else to take your place,” the Canadian previously said.

“I think his image has kept him in F1 more than his actual results.”

Ricciardo qualified a strong fifth for RB at the Circuit named after Villeneuve’s late father Gilles, but said he had become aware of the criticism only after the session and did not mention Villeneuve directly.

“I just been told. I don’t listen or read but there’s definitely some people out there who … yeah, whatever. I won’t give them the time of day,” he said.

Ricciardo’s time was less than two-tenths from pole. Japanese team mate Yuki Tsunoda qualified eighth.

The weekend also marks a 10th anniversary since Ricciardo won for the first time in Formula One at the same circuit, with Red Bull in 2014, and he recognised a ‘feel-good factor’ about the track.

“I think this year hasn’t really been always a question of if I’ve still got the speed to do it. It’s just been the consistency which I haven’t been able to show week in week out,” said the Perth-born driver.

“It’s definitely been more of a struggle, more than I thought, but I know the speed’s there and it’s just tapping into it,” he continued.

“Maybe when you’re a kid you just jump in and drive and the older you get the more things that are around your life can maybe interfere.”

Villeneuve made light of his criticism afterwards when asked for a follow-up.

“He needed a bit of a push under pressure and it worked, it paid off,” he smiled.

“The car suits him this weekend and when you have a car that suits you, you drive at your best. That was one good qualifying. If he can carry on this weekend like this and do four, five, six more races like this then he’ll be fine.”

Reuters