Daniel Ricciardo just finished fifth in 2017 Formula 1 season, and he’s expected to contend for the championship next season.
Ricciardo will likely be chasing four-time champion Lewis Hamilton, and he said he believes that the car matters more than actual driving skill.
“Lewis [Hamilton] has won three of the last four championships, but if he was in a midfield team, he wouldn’t have three of the last four championships,” Ricciardo said via ESPN. “The car is a big part of it, but you need to be a good driver to get the equipment to the top. You need both. It’s still a bit more dominant with the car than the driver — I’d say maybe 75 percent to 25 percent.”
Ricciardo’s solution is to take some of the equipment out to level the playing field, and he wants it to be close to 50/50 as far as skill versus equipment is concerned.
Hamilton is with Mercedes, while Ricciardo is with Red Bull. Ricciardo said he wants to battle Hamilton in similar equipment.
“Lewis, even if with the best material, he still had pressure and expectation, and he’s had that since he started F1 ten years ago,” Ricciardo said. “I think he’s always been on a very high level, and he’s also got a lot of other distractions in his life, and can still perform when it counts. I respect him and take my hat off to him — as a driver, he is very competitive.”
There are rumors Ricciardo could move to Mercedes after the 2018 season, and he and Hamilton would be teammates.
Equipment and machinery certainly does matter in racing, but not many would argue against Hamilton being one of the elite drivers in the sport. Ricciardo has two third place finishes for the season in F1, and the 28-year-old believes he has a chance to contend for a title in the coming years.