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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 25: Race winner Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing celebrates his win on the podium during the Azerbaijan Formula One Grand Prix at Baku City Circuit on June 25, 2017 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // P-20170625-01051 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //

Herbert: Villeneuve is correct, I also don’t see the Ricciardo of old

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 25: Race winner Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing celebrates his win on the podium during the Azerbaijan Formula One Grand Prix at Baku City Circuit on June 25, 2017 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // P-20170625-01051 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //

Johnny Herbert staunchly backed Jacques Villeneuve’s statements that Daniel Ricciardo is past his best, agreeing that criticising the Formula 1 fan favourite has dire consequences on social media.

Ahead of his home Canadian Grand Prix, Villeneuve pulled no punches when asked for thoughts and analysis as F1 flew into Montreal, as well as during the weekend as Sky F1 pundit. Of course, Ricciardo was on his hit-list.

Notably, Villeneuve’s comments that Ricciardo did not deserve a place on the F1 grid triggered a good performance by the VCARB driver who qualified for P5 in Canada. Prompting Red Bull boss Christian Horner to hail them as a wake-up call for the driver.

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After his Saturday performance, the kind you expected from him every race weekend, Ricciardo then proceeded to mock the 1997 F1 World Champion, hitting back disrespectfully “I think he’s hit his head a few too many times, I don’t know if he plays ice hockey or something.

And of course, in the wake of his unpleasant truths about Ricciardo, Villeneuve was subject to a torrent of social media abuse from ‘fans’ of a driver. Increasingly his place on the grid is due to ‘likes’ and ‘hits’ that he generates for his team’s platforms. But he has simply not enough pace, consistency and results when it matters: on track.

Formula 1 winner turned pundit, Herbert shared his thoughts on the spat between JV and DR: “I saw what Jacques said and the way he said it. It was the truth. Some people don’t like the truth sometimes. Jacques was spot on.”

Herbert: It isn’t happening for Daniel now

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Herbert continued: So, it is time for him to hang his helmet up. I genuinely do. Many people might not like that. But it is true. Performances have to be there and as soon as they go, then there is a question mark.

“I think he still believes. When someone is negative like Jacques, Daniel almost says: ‘On yer bike. You don’t know what you are talking about.’ He still has what I can only think is a metal block that he can still do it.”

“I don’t see the Daniel of old. That Daniel has flown the roost. For me, it started for Daniel at McLaren and Lando. Lando was quicker than him. He had one offs such as at Monza, but one offs aren’t enough. It has to be every time. That is what Lando, Oscar, Max, Charlie and Carlos are all doing. The good ones can do it all the time.

“Daniel used to be able to. There’s no doubt he’s skillful. He used to be very on it all the time. ‘Mr Overtake’ they called him. He used to make some fantastic overtakes. But since McLaren, it hasn’t happened. And it isn’t suddenly going to change for the better. It doesn’t work like that. His performances aren’t there. The one we are talking about is Yuki.

“Yuki is one of the standouts this year. He has got some really good results out of a car that is not the fastest on the grid. That’s why they’ve taken up the option on him for next year. His qualifying has always been strong, and his race situations have gotten stronger,” reckoned Herbert.

When is it time to say enough is enough for Ricciardo?

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 27: Race winner Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing celebrates with his team on the Red Bull Energy Station during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 27, 2018 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Regarding the right time to call it quits as an F1 driver, Herbert explained: “As a driver, I think there is a certain point in your career where you have to step back and ask yourself:  Have I got what it takes to be competitive? I haven’t seen that for many a year from Daniel. He keeps saying he still believes.

“He has the odd good result, the brilliant job he did in Mexico last year for instance, which you’d have hoped would have given him positive energy for the next races and improved performances. That hasn’t happened. This year he had one strong race, then nothing.

“Daniel hasn’t been able to take control of the situation. We are all in a sport where expectations are very high and he hasn’t lived up to them. I know from my personal experience there are other forms of motorsport out there. F1 isn’t the be-all and end-all. There’s Indycar, Le Mans, Touring Cars, all sorts,” ventured Herbert.

The 59-year-old Englishman, contested 161 Grand Prix races, finishing on the podium seven times, three of those occasions as a winner. Herbert also won Le Mans with Mazda in 1991, during a spell in endurance sportscar racing. (Quotes supplied by Lord Ping)

Big Question: Are Johnny Herbert & Jacques Villeneuve being too harsh on Daniel Ricciardo?