Daniel Ricciardo ‘felt sorry’ for F1 rival after completing fairytale return

Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that he ‘felt sorry’ for Nyck de Vries after replacing him at AlphaTauri during the 2023 season. The Dutch driver was afforded just ten races with the Italian team before Helmut Marko wielded his axe and cut his F1 career short.

De Vries came into his rookie F1 season with plenty of hype and expectations after scoring points on his debut during a stand-in display for Williams at Monza in 2022. The Dutchman replaced Alex Albon at short notice after he was diagnosed with appendicitis, finishing P9 and picking up the fans’ ‘Driver of the Day’ award.

However, there was to be no fairytale ending for the 28-year-old. De Vries failed to finish higher than 12th place during the first ten races of the season and was regularly outperformed by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda. After a P17 finish at Silverstone, Marko pulled the trigger and dropped him in favour of bringing Ricciardo back into the fold.

On his latest Beyond The Grid podcast appearance, Ricciardo was asked whether or not he felt sorry for De Vries, replying: “Yes because I’d been throughout it less than a year earlier. I understood it, but it’s all very, I guess subjective, you know, your understanding.

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“Okay, did he have enough time? Maybe not. Was his results good enough? Maybe not. So it can go both sides, right? But I did [feel sorry for him] because it’s… maybe it’s just what I’ve been through and maybe… I’m in my mid-thirties now. We’ve all put so much into this.

“I know Nyck has put so much into his career and obviously he finally got a chance and okay, it didn’t work out. So six months earlier, he’s probably the most excited he’s ever been to start a race season, and six months later he doesn’t have a race season.

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“So I feel like… I feel like I feel for him and I think anyone in that position obviously because it’s like your dream can start and ultimately sort of finish… or certainly be derailed in a short amount of time.”

Bringing Ricciardo back into the fold proved to be an inspired decision from AlphaTauri. The Faenza-based team were rooted to the bottom of the standings at the halfway point in the season but scored points in four of the last five rounds as they climbed to eighth in the order.

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