Daniel Ricciardo names his five most underrated opponents in F1

Image: TeamTalk
Image: TeamTalk

Several Formula 1 teams will suffer big losses as the start of the world most expensive motorsport reels in the wake of canceled and postponed races. 

Drivers are competing in virtual grand prix, while one driver in particular has started writing a lockdown diary. Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo posted on Twitter on April 15 that he's "gonna do something a little different for 2020 and share a diary. Some inner thoughts on racing, a few on life outside of F1, some lists, a bit of music & other sports". 

His first entry is rather interesting, the Australian reveals five of his most underrated opponents in the sport. In no particular order, they're former Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson, the late Jules Bianchi, Ricciardo's first F1 team mate Tonio Liuzzi, Roberto Mehri and 2009 world champion Jenson Button.  

Starting off with the Swedish driver, Ricciardo said: "As a junior, Marcus was very highly rated and I felt like that reputation didn't last when he was in Formula 1. The speed though, that was definitely there". 

Ericsson was demoted to Sauber's third driver during the 2018 season, in October 2018 he joined Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to race in the 2019 IndyCar series. 

"As a junior through karting, Jules was the guy. We met training at Formula Medicine in Viareggio in Italy, and everyone, even at that age when we were all 17, everyone treated him like an F1 driver already", Ricciardo says about the late Jules Bianchi. 

The French driver died on July 17, 2015 after losing control of his Marussia and crashing into a recovery vehicle at the 2014 Japanese GP. He had been placed in an induced coma before his passing. 

Next on the list is Ricciardo's first F1 team mate Tonio Liuzzi at HRT: "For me growing up in go-karting, even in Australian karting magazines, Liuzzi was the guy in the adverts and all of that... he was like the Schumacher of karting for that time".   

Another Marussia driver on Ricciardo's list is Roberto Mehri: "He was a bit like Max (Verstappen) in that he could just rag the car and had fantastic car control - he had the speed and the lack of fear where he'd just take the risks, and I felt that he'd be someone that I'd come up through the ranks with if we both made it". 

Sadly, the Spanish driver only lasted one season at Marussia in 2015. 

Last on the list is 2009 world champion Jenson Button, which is a surprise, because Button won a world championship: "Hear me out...Jenson had some big years in F1, but I think 20111 when he was teammates with Lewis at McLaren and beat Lewis fair and square - that's no easy feat as we all know - was what gets him onto m list", Ricciardo says. 

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