MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 09: 8th placed Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB poses for a photo with fans after the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 09, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Villeneuve: ‘Hot potato’ Ricciardo always risky to criticise him

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 09: 8th placed Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB poses for a photo with fans after the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 09, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

A war of words between 1997 Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve and VCARB driver Daniel Ricciardo has erupted into a proverbial ‘gunfight’ between the two.

Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, refreshingly Villeneuve was added to the Sky F1 pundit roster for his home race in Montreal and did not disappoint as he called it as many see it. Even in the build-up to the race, Canada’s only F1 World Champ was not pulling any punches.

His criticism of Ricciardo before the race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve last weekend, we published and garnered many headlines and went viral across social media.

Villeneuve shocked his fellow Sky F1 pundits when asked about Ricciardo with raw and honest response:  “Why is he still in F1? We’re hearing the same thing now for the last four or five years, we have to make the car better for him. Sorry, it’s been five years of that.” The roasting did not end there

On Saturday in Montreal, fate had it that Ricciardo delivered a stonking Qualifying lap. A well-timed-two-fingered salute to his doubters (this author included) with P5 on the grid.

After that impressive performance, one of his best this year, Ricciardo fired back at Villeneuve: “ I heard he’s been talking but he always does. I think he’s hit his head a few too many times, I don’t know if he plays ice hockey or something.”

That statement came back to bite back at Ricciardo on race day in Canada

F1 Canadian Grand Prix 2024: Daniel Ricciardo first points finish, false start; Max Verstappen wins; Carlos Sainz, Alex Albon crash video

In a nutshell, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Ricciardo’s first F1 victory for Red Bull in Montreal, he messed up lining up on the grid (and got a penalty for that rookie error) then lost a host of places during a frantic first lap in trying conditions. However, in the end, he did survive a hectic race of two safety cars and high attrition to finish P8.

After nine rounds now, the 2024 F1 World Championship points tally by VCARB teammates is:
Ricciardo on 9, with Yuki Tsunoda on 19.

The Japanese driver finished P14 in Canada and was ahead of Dan after a third distance for much of the 70-lap race. But a late spin cost Tsunoda a possible P7 or P8, and beating Ricciardo again.

Reflecting on the Australian’s performance in Canada, of course, Villeneuve remained unconvinced and wary of ‘roasting’ him any more: “Daniel Ricciardo is a hot potato. It’s always risky to criticise him because he’s extremely protected by his team and the media and by fans on social media.

“It’s a burnt subject, even if you say something constructive, you’ll get burnt one way or another and you’ll have a lot of people who get angry,” pointed out Villeneuve, referencing the woke keyboard warriors slamming the Canadian for calling it as real F1 fans see it, without fear or his own interests.

53-year-old Villeneuve, by virtue of his illustrious achievements, is hired to call it as he sees it without rose-tinted glasses, and unlike most of his peers he has no fears and repeated what he has said all along: “Ultimately, the results have not been there. He was really good at Red Bull and since he left them, it’s been very difficult.

“His return hasn’t been flamboyant. He had a good qualifying session and then an ok race yesterday marred by the false start where he got a penalty and in the end, he scored points because drivers in front of him messed up.”

Villeneuve: Even Christian Horner said I gave Daniel a bit of a boost

r/formula1 - Horner discussing Daniel Ricciardo next to Jacques Villeneuve on Sky...

As for Ricciardo’s stronger showing in Canada this past weekend, Villeneuve said: “He kept his nose clean, he brought home some points but that means very little in the context of the season and he needs to do more than that. It’s that simple.

“The scoreboard doesn’t lie and it’s like that for every driver. Obviously I got under his skin because it made him go faster and even Christian Horner thought that it gave him a bit of a boost and maybe he needed that. At least he got a lot of media mileage out of this!” added JV cheekily.

Pushed to comment on Ricciardo’s “hit his head” rebuke, Villeneuve responded: “What I find incredible is the reaction that some of these drivers have nowadays in the media. It’s completely unprofessional and has nothing to do with the business and it can be personally insulting which is amazing.

“I can’t imagine Daniel saying that so that’s weird. If he says that someone hit his head playing Ice Hockey, how constructive and how professional is that? It’s very childish and people like Daniel are role models and they think that’s the right way to act.

“You have to be careful with that. I found that really strange when someone says I don’t care what people say. You need to have tough skin, in F1 you will be criticised and you have to take it. Don’t say something childish and insulting.

“I have no idea why Daniel Ricciardo is so protected but he has a huge aura around him. Good for him but imagine if he could back that up with results?

He’s not lived up to expectations and he’s not consistent so he knows he’s not up to speed and he hasn’t had results that have been good enough. It’s that simple. There’s nothing wrong with saying that. Saying it might hurt but you’re in F1, just take it and move on. The truth hurts,” declared Villeneuve. (Quotes provided by

[Editor’s Note: For us media fed constant PR and politically correct F1 narrative when things are not as great as they are written or said to be. Teams and their drivers spewing copy-paste ‘quotes’ ahead of every GP. Learning them off by heart and then rattle the same BS every time a mic is in front of them. Villeneuve offers the much-needed alternative view, no-strings-attached callouts that he made this past week. We relish them and applaud him for seeing what real F1 fans see. While F1 drivers, teams and their minders resent the truth when it is not rosy or favourable. They are lucky this is not football, where for every Villeneuve they have dozens of footballing legends calling out the rot in their sport.]