13-time F1 race winner David Coulthard says while Nyck de Vries understandably found out Formula 1 is a “stopwatch” game, he feels that applies even more to Logan Sargeant.
The Hungarian Grand Prix marked the first stop on the F1 2023 calendar where De Vries was not present, the Dutchman having been given the boot from Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri after an underwhelming 10-race stint in his rookie season.
Red Bull sent their reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo back to the Faenza-based team on loan for the remainder of the season in De Vries’ place.
Logan Sargeant underperformance trumps Nyck de Vries
That is the belief of former Red Bull driver Coulthard, who when using his “stopwatch” theory to assess how each driver is performing, highlighted that Williams’ American rookie Sargeant is half-a-second slower than his team-mate Alex Albon, the biggest discrepancy he sees on the current grid.
But, he says Sargeant is being “given space” for his slow start to F1 2023 because of his nationality and the income he is generating for Williams.
Formula 1 has experienced rapid popularity growth in the United States, which Coulthard says helps Sargeant since he hails from the nation, while he then in-turn claims that the Williams Academy graduate is bringing vital funds into the team.
“I actually don’t think it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of pace,” said Coulthard on Channel 4 when asked if 10 races was a fair amount of time for De Vries to prove himself.
“This is a stopwatch championship, so you either deliver the lap time or you don’t.
“He was on average within about two-and-a-half tenths of Yuki Tsunoda, which actually, the worst-performing person on average is Logan Sargeant in the Williams, he’s half-a-second away from Alex Albon.
“He’s bringing money to the team and given a bit of space, American, that fits I guess the overall growth of Formula 1 right now.
“So I think we should only ever look at the lap time rather than…this isn’t a personality competition.”
Daniel Ricciardo must deliver every race weekend
Ricciardo appears to very much be treating this AlphaTauri stint as an audition to return to the Red Bull line-up long-term, which he has described as his “fairytale” final chapter in Formula 1.
But, after his McLaren stint was cut short due to underwhelming performance against Lando Norris, Coulthard says Ricciardo now needs to be strong every race weekend to re-establish his reputation after that Norris drubbing.
“I have to declare me and Daniel share the same PA in Monaco, we’re buddies, but his performance the last couple of years was way short of Lando in the McLaren,” said Coulthard.
“So, this is a big opportunity for him now, in which he has to deliver, and he has to deliver not only this weekend, but in the coming races.”
Ricciardo felt a hit from Zhou Guanyu at the Hungarian GP start cost him the chance to score points on his return outing, though a recovery drive to the P13 position where he started was a solid effort.