In case you haven’t heard, Mercedes recently filled a top-level position on its Formula 1 team. Thanks a shock retirement from Nico Rosberg Mercedes found themselves in the unenviable position of trying to find a driver after the vast majority of good drivers had been signed. What followed was one of the more interesting off seasons in recent F1 history. Weeks led to months where just about every decent driver’ was linked to the vacant Mercedes seat. Eventually Mercedes decided to give Valtteri Bottas the drive.
One of the drivers linked was Daniel Ricciardo. Ricciardo could have had a very compelling case to join Mercedes. Young wonderkin Max Verstappen’s stock is rising fast. It wouldn’t take long for him to recieve at least consideration for number one driver status among Red Bull. While Ricciardo would be the clear number two behind Lewis Hamilton Mercedes does have a history of letting their boys race. As long as they don’t crash or risk the constructor’s championship Mercedes doesn’t care which one of its drivers finishes first and who finishes second. The team 1 -2 is all that matters. So seeing the writing on the wall Ricciardo could have found the prospect of driving for the dominant team with a chance of winning a title very appealing.
“I’m sure every driver called, or thought about calling Toto [Wolff] and Niki [Lauda].” Ricciardo told the official Formula 1 website. “Tempting for sure.”
Ricciardo would also state in the same interview that Red Bull is the best place for him and that with the new season he believes their car can be very competitive. That isn’t the interesting bit here. The fact that he acknowledged the very tempting prospect of driving for Mercedes speaks volumes. This is Formula 1 here, you simply do not speak about other teams in this way. Let alone the potential of driving for a rival. Nobody else went there. For someone to come out in a public interview and say this points to how close we came to seeing Daniel Ricciardo driving a silver Arrow.