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Is George Russell the new Daniel Ricciardo?

Although the pair seem to be great friends, is Russell set to follow in Ricciardo's footsteps?

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George Russell has started to outperform his experienced, world champion teammate… just like Daniel Ricciardo did.

Daniel Ricciardo and George Russell have been friends for a long time. Could Russell be the new Ricciardo? Credit: George Russell on Twitter

Daniel Ricciardo, at this current moment, has no guaranteed seat in Formula 1 for the 2023 season. Despite this unfortunate turn, Ricciardo was once the hottest property in Formula 1. The Aussie was once an incredibly promising and made a great impression at Red Bull. He’s now searching for a seat and even considering a year out. Could George Russell be set to end up this way?

Why are they similar?

George Russell spent three years at Williams before getting the promotion to Mercedes this season. Mercedes being the reigning constructors champion when Russell joined is a fact you should remember. This is because when Ricciardo was promoted to Red Bull in 2014, Red Bull was the reigning constructors’ champions as well. Ricciardo had also started his career three years earlier with HRT.

When Russell joined Mercedes, he was teaming up with Lewis Hamilton. Lewis Hamilton is highly regarded and many believed Russell would not compare to his seven-time world champion teammate. They were highly mistaken.

This rings a bell as all those years ago, Ricciardo was teaming up with the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. Again, many thought Ricciardo would not match up to the dominant force that was Vettel during the early 2010s.

So, both drivers made a similar impact on their world champion teammates and thrived at their reigning world champion teams. This sounds about right but let’s look at the statistics.

The Nitty Gritty Numbers

Statistically, Russell and Ricciardo in their debut year with their team are quite similar in many aspects.

When it comes to qualifying and average starting position, Ricciardo’s average grid position was 6.26. George Russel’s, so far in the season, is 6.19. This is spookily similar but when compared to their respective teammates, it is also more spooky. Vettel’s average starting position in 2014 was 7.79 whereas Hamilton’s is currently 7.56.

In qualifying head to heads, Ricciardo outperformed Vettel 12-7. However, in Mercedes’s head-to-head for 2022, Hamilton beats Russell 9-7. So, the two aren’t that similar when it comes to qualifying. However, Russell has achieved a pole position this season so clearly has the potential for out-qualifying Hamilton before the season ends.

In Ricciardo’s debut Red Bull season, he always made Q3. Similarly, Russell has made Q3 14 times (out of 16).

Away from qualifying, the pair have performed similarly (especially compared to their respective teammate) in terms of race results.

Ricciardo and Russell’s Race Results

In terms of race results, both Ricciardo and Russell outperformed Vettel and Hamilton (respectively) as well. In the race result head to head, Russell has outperformed Hamilton 9-5 so far.ย  Ricciardo outperformed Vettel 13-6 in 2014.

Although neither Russell nor Hamilton has had a victory this season, they have both finished second. Hamilton has finished second twice while Russell has only finished second once in 2022. Ricciardo finished on the podium 8 times in 2014 and Vettel finished on the podium 4 times.

Ricciardo also had three victories in 2014, whilst Vettel didn’t have one.

So, both Ricciardo and Russell outperformed their teammates in race position head to heads.

Finishing in the Points

When it comes to finishing in the points, both Ricciardo and Russell did well. In his 2014 season, Ricciardo had only three pointless finishes (all not his fault). He had two DNFs and one second place stripped and subsequently disqualified. George Russell, this season, has got the reputation of being “Mr Consitency”.

Russell has only had one DNF so far this season, whereas all other finishes have been in the points.

So, both of them (so far) have had all points finishes except for instances to do with the car, rather that]n their driving.

Drivers Championship

Daniel Ricciardo in 2014 really was the best of the rest. Despite his car not being up to scratch, Ricciardo finished third in the drivers’ championship with 238 points.

Similarly, George Russell is currently in fourth in the championship on 203 points. However, he is close to Perez in third place (only seven points behind). Could a comparable P3 finish be on the cards for Russell?

Similar teams and teammates

Despite both drivers joining their teams on the back of a multi-constuctor championship winning campaign, both teams couldn’t provide “THE CAR’ for their new drivers.

Back in 2014, Mercedes became incredibly dominant and Red Bull couldn’t keep up. Despite this Ricciardo did the best he could. He won, he got podiums and he finished in the points everytime he finished a race. Similarly, George Russell was expecting to drive the best car on the grid. Mercedes had won 8 back-to-back construction championships. However, Russell did not get that amazing car.


Just like Ricciardo, Russell has gotten podiums and has finished in the points every time he finished, so far this season.

Both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel suffered reliability issues during the years with their exceptional new teammates. Hamilton has had issues with porpoising that have physically damaged his body whereas Vettel was plagued with electrical failures.

All in All

Despite the similarities and the ever-similar performances, it must be remembered that Russell is not Ricciardo and his career is bound to be vastly different. However, for a youngster coming in to a championship-winning team with high hopes of winning a championship for themselves, Ricciardo’s career must be seen as a warning.

Although it was Ricciardo himself that made the career choices that have ultimately led him to this point, it could happen to Russell… Nothing is guaranteed in Formula 1.

Will Russell end up the same? Fighting for a seat over the next few years?

Feature Image: Williams Racing

 

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