Hamilton Won’t Win in a Williams: Daniel Ricciardo on the Most Polarizing F1 Debate

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As Lewis Hamilton continues to rack up win after win and break record after record, there are a good amount of people who tend to undermine his success. People tend to attribute his incredible success to the car rather than his talent and skill. But what does an F1 driver himself have to say about it? Daniel Ricciardo weighs in on the debate.

When asked what percentage of performance depends on the car and the driver, the Australian said, “That’s a good question. I’ll say it is probably 70-30. 70 car, 30 driver.”

The man from down under then went on to elaborate what he meant. “I’ll use Lewis (Hamilton) as the example because he has won the last few championships. He is obviously a contestant for being the best driver on the grid.

“(But) as good as his credentials are, he is not going to win this weekend if he’s driving a Williams. So the cars do have a big enough difference to have that effect. That’s a fact.”

Lewis Hamilton crosses the checkered flag in P1
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit. Portimao, Portugal – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton crosses the line to win the race FIA/Handout via REUTERS

It’ll certainly take something out of the blue to get the current iteration of the Williams even into the top 10 for that matter. So Ricciardo’s point obviously makes sense.

But perhaps a better way to compare two drivers and determine an individual’s race craft and talent comes down to examining what two drivers achieve in the very same machinery.

And this is something the Renault man went on to touch upon as well.

Daniel Ricciardo on using his teammate as a reference point

When one is driving for a team that isn’t capable of competing for the championship, or is even a backmarker for that matter, it must take some serious motivation to hit the track knowing that a win or podium is not something you’ll get.

Daniel Ricciardo at a press conference at Imola
Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. Imola, Italy – Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo during a press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERSS

Ricciardo’s answer to that was, “You’ve always got your own battle. And so your best reference is your teammate. 

“Even if you’re qualifying tenth, (and) your teammate’s qualifying 18th, then you like like a superstar, you look like a hero. Because everyone is like, ok, you’re doing something special with that car.

“I know it is kind of weird and everyone wants to win. But sometimes you’ve got your own internal battle that can move you up the ladder.”

As things stand, Ricciardo is definitely acing his battle with teammate Esteban Ocon. The man from down under sits in 4th place on the Drivers’ championship table with 95 points. His teammate only has 40.

In Turkey, Ricciardo will have a chance to further increase that gap and take another step to end the season as the unofficial ‘best of the rest.’

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