Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2018: Daniel Ricciardo ‘belongs’ with Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen

Daniel Ricciardo “belongs” in the same bracket as five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and four-time winner Sebastian Vettel, according to David Coulthard.The Aussie, who is leaving Red Bull for Renault at the end of the year, is set to finish sixth in the world standings after suffering eight DNFs this season, 225 points behind Hamilton and 144 back from Vettel.
Daniel Ricciardo can prove he belongs among the best in the sport. ​

However, Coulthard, who finished as runner-up in 2001, believes Ricciardo will benefit from the improvements Renault are making to their car, despite it being their engine which has let the 29-year-old down so often this year.

Mad Max Verstappen

Mad Max Verstappen

“When you produce a film, a key to success is choosing the right actor for the right role,” Coulthard told in Brazil. “Here you have Lewis Hamilton as superstar, Max with his offensive driving style and Sebastian Vettel with his German winning mentality. Ricciardo belongs in that list.

“The fact that someone like Fernando Alonso could not play a leading role in a non-competitive car in recent years was bad for the sport, but it will undoubtedly be better for Daniel at Renault.”

Ricciardo has set a personal target to win the world title in his second season with the team but most onlookers are not so confident.

However, Coulthard believes the investment in the team at the moment coupled with the new rule changes mean that Renault and Ricciardo could pull a few surprises.

David Coulthard is predicting big things for Daniel Ricciardo at Renault.David Coulthard is predicting big things for Daniel Ricciardo at Renault.Source: AFP

“It is a real factory team and is investing heavily,” he said. “That they have captured Daniel is proof of that. That was not a bargain and a declaration of intent of what Renault wants.

“What the millions for Ricciardo and the team for Renault will yield will become clear in 2019, a year with new changes to the rules.

“People dismiss them as small but something can really happen.”

Source: Fox Sports