In Brief

F1: Daniel Ricciardo talks retirement and reveals rivalry with Valtteri Bottas

The Australian could have a key role to play in the 2021 driver merry-go-round

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo admits that once his time comes to retire from Formula 1 he will step away from the sport altogether.

This year will be the Australian’s tenth season in F1 and it’s also the final year of his contract with French team Renault. 

While there’s no suggestion he is planning to retire soon, the 30-year-old has discussed his future plans in an interview with The Checkered Flag

He said: “Once I’ve burnt myself out from racing, I think I’ll want to step away. Another thing is, I’ve always had other interests growing up. I love racing, but I grew up playing other sports too. 

“It’d be nice to step away from racing, after putting everything into it because then I could end that chapter and think, ‘awesome, that part of my life is done’. So we’ll see what happens. 

“But, more than anything, I definitely have an interest to do something different, whether that’s in fashion or music, I don’t know.

“I don’t see myself being tied down to this sport all my life. It’s certainly been my passion my whole life, but I’d love to do something else successful other than racing cars.”

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Bottas rivalry

Ricciardo has also revealed who his biggest rival is in F1. As GPBlog says, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel are two drivers who spring to mind, but in fact it’s Mercedes star Valtteri Bottas. 

“I would say Bottas,” Ricciardo told Top Gear. “We raced a lot together in the junior categories. I didn’t go karting in Europe, so I don’t really have a driver that I would have started racing with from the age of 10. But Bottas was there when I started racing in Europe, we were in the same championship.

“We competed, we grew up together and somewhere along the way we always had, I suppose, a form of rivalry.”

Renault F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo

2021 driver market: Ricciardo a key player

Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton could have a major role to play in the 2021 driver merry-go-round, Formula1.com writer Lawrence Barretto reports. 

Next year’s grid is already taking shape with Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen agreeing new long-term deals with Ferrari and Red Bull respectively. 

Mercedes are yet to announce any plans and both drivers - Hamilton and Bottas - are out of contract at the end of this season. 

Six-time world champion Hamilton has been linked with a move to Ferrari in 2021. However, Leclerc signing a five-year deal suggests he is Ferrari’s focus. Barretto said: “A Hamilton arrival could disrupt the Monegasque.”

Verstappen confirming his future at Red Bull also ends speculation of a move to Mercedes - either as Hamilton’s team-mate or replacement. 

Barretto says Ricciardo “becomes a key player” and the attention will switch to him once the “Hamilton-Mercedes domino falls”.     

Out of contract with Renault at the end of 2020, Ricciardo will “have his eye” on the potential vacancies at both Mercedes and Ferrari.   

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