Friday, 23 november 2018, 04:11 , by Matthew Scott
Daniel Ricciardo has been "100 percent broken" by Max Verstappen at Red Bull in 2018, prompting him to escape to Renault, according to Dutch racing driver turned Formula 1 pundit Tom Coronel. Ricciardo enters the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP with a 76-point deficit to his teammate, having been outqualified by Verstappen 14 times in 20 races.
Ricciardo's season has mixed two particular highs – victories in China and Monaco – with several lows, including a season-high eight DNFs, four of which have come in the eight races since he announced his 2019 switch to Renault.
Verstappen has ended the season in fine form, securing six podiums in the same stretch of grands prix – only champion Lewis Hamilton has outscored him in that timeframe.
And Coronel says Ricciardo will have been impacted mentally by seeing Verstappen enjoy such greater success in 2018.
"Ricciardo is 100 percent broken by Max", Coronel told De Telegraaf.
"It's just going to gnaw at you when your teammate is constantly faster, while you have the same equipment, you can see in the data where it is, and you cannot [beat them].
"Then when you know there is someone on this planet that is faster than you, look, you're no longer a sportsman."
Coronel was similarly scathing when assessing Ricciardo's decision to join Renault in 2019, not expecting to see the Australian in a fight for honours with the French team.
"Renault, let's be very honest, is just a step back," he added. "They have the same engine as Red Bull, but Red Bull can score and Renault does not, so that means only one thing, and that is that you only go for the money because you know that you only have three to five years to go in Formula 1."