Following Mark’s retirement from Formula One in 2013, his Red Bull seat was taken up by then Torro Rosso driver, Daniel Ricciardo. Webber had an impressive career amassing nine wins, 42 podiums and 1047.5 total career points. Ricciardo’s career numbers are very similar to his Australian predecessor, with eight wins, 32 podiums and 1274 career points… so far.
Both faced the tough task of being the number two driver to 4-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel. Whilst Ricciardo left Christian Horner’s outfit due to feeling he did not have equal treatment to reigning F1 World Driver’s Championship winner Max Verstappen.
Ricciardo’s inaugural season as an F1 driver was impressive. Often outscoring his Toro Rosso teammate and senior driver Jean-Éric Vergne. By the end of his second season in F1 he had out-qualified his teammate in over 75% of the races that year and finished seven points clear of him.
Ricciardo’s early career at Red Bull impressed many, with him often outperforming the existing world champion, Vettel, during the first half of the season, something Webber failed to do throughout his Red Bull tenure.
Many feel that Ricciardo was unlucky in his timing when joining and eventually leaving Red Bull, two years earlier and he would be fighting for titles, two years later and he would be doing the same. While he still had a successful career as a part of Horner’s team, many fans utter “what could have been” for Ricciardo had he been given the fortunes of a more competitive car.
Fast forward to 2018 and Ricciardo, much to the surprise of fans, announces he will be leaving Red Bull and has signed for Renault in the forthcoming season, with hopes he was to be the veteran driver to bring glory back to Renault following their return to Formula One.
However, a disappointing debut season followed, with the Honey Badger finishing ninth in the championship standings. While his second season saw improvement, with a fifth-place finish overall, to Ricciardo at least, the car he was driving was not the one he was promised would allow him to challenge for titles once again, and he subsequently joined Lando Norris in a controversial switch to McLaren for the 2021 season, where he still competes today.
Ricciardo gained his first race win since leaving Red Bull in Monza last year where he and Norris finished 1-2 after championship favourites Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton both retired.