Ricciardo: Bianchi would have achieved the same as Leclerc

Daniel Ricciardo believes Charles Leclerc is currently achieving the success Jules Bianchi would have enjoyed at Ferrari, naming the late Frenchman as one of his most underrated Formula 1 rivals.

Ricciardo: Bianchi would have achieved the same as Leclerc

Bianchi looked on course to land a future seat with Ferrari after impressing as part of its young driver academy and while racing for the backmarker Marussia team in F1.

Bianchi scored the first points in Marussia's four-year history at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix, finishing ninth in what is widely regarded as one of the great underdog displays in recent F1 history.

But Bianchi's career was tragically cut short after sustaining severe head injuries in an accident at Suzuka later that year. He died nine months later as a result of the injuries at the age of 25.

In a post on Twitter entitled 'Dan's Diary', current Renault F1 driver Ricciardo picked his five most underrated opponents from his time on the grid, naming Bianchi as one of them.

"It wasn't like Jules was underrated, but we never got to see him in a top car, so maybe people didn't appreciate how good he was going to be," Ricciardo said.

"You think of his drive in that Marussia in Monaco in 2014, the team's first points. Monaco is like Macau in that there's no way to fluke a result there. It was absolutely on merit."

Read Also:

Ricciardo said he feels the success Leclerc is now enjoying at Ferrari - winning two races during his debut season with the Scuderia in 2019 and beating four-time world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel - is what Bianchi would have achieved with the team.

Leclerc and Bianchi were close friends. Bianchi was Leclerc's godfather and served as his racing mentor, with Leclerc's first visit to Ferrari's Maranello base coming upon Bianchi's appointment to its young driver academy.

"It's another part of what makes his story so sad, because [Bianchi] would have been in a top team and a race winner by now for sure," Ricciardo wrote.

"In some ways, I feel Charles is doing now what Jules would have been doing.

"It's like Charles is the delayed version of what Jules would have done with the success he's having."

Ricciardo first met Bianchi when the pair were in junior categories, but immediately felt he was set apart from other drivers.

"As a junior through karting, Jules was the guy," Ricciardo said.

"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 he was an F1 driver already.

"I got to know him and we became friends, and I quickly got to know who he was and what he'd done before I arrived in Europe."

Besides Bianchi, Ricciardo also named Marcus Ericsson, Robert Merhi, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Jenson Button as his other underrated opponents.

shares
comments
Why F1 must hope Todt is wrong on post-pandemic sports interest

Previous article

Why F1 must hope Todt is wrong on post-pandemic sports interest

Next article

Mosley: F1 should cancel 2020 season

Mosley: F1 should cancel 2020 season
Load comments
The "heart-breaking" call that led to Ocon's Hungarian GP triumph Prime

The "heart-breaking" call that led to Ocon's Hungarian GP triumph

Set to restart the red-flagged Hungarian Grand Prix in second, Esteban Ocon had some doubts when he peeled into the pits to swap his intermediate tyres for slicks. But this "heart-breaking" call was vindicated in spectacular fashion as the Alpine driver staved off race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel for a memorable maiden Formula 1 victory

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Prime

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall...

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Prime

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Prime

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed.

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Prime

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't Prime

How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says Oleg Karpov, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021