Jacques Villeneuve takes aim at ‘smiling’ Daniel Ricciardo as F1 return nears

Jacques Villeneuve has criticised Daniel Ricciardo for “smiling in commercials” while also saying drivers are “too protected.”

Ricciardo is known as one of the most positive members of the grid and can often be seen smiling from ear to ear, most recently during a Red Bull show run in Nashville.

But one man who is not a fan of that is 1997 champion Villeneuve, who would question any young driver who wants to follow in Ricciardo’s footsteps.

Daniel Ricciardo criticised for ‘smiling in commercials’

While Ricciardo has suffered some difficult years in Formula 1 of late, his smile has never really disappeared.

It was around this time last year when Ricciardo found out he had lost his McLaren seat to Oscar Piastri but rather than dwell on the negative, Ricciardo turned up to the United States Grand Prix on horseback.

But Villeneuve has adopted his best Roy Keane impression and said Ricciardo is all about “smiling in commercials.”

“I would ask kids who want to be drivers today – do you want it out of passion or because you want to be like Daniel Ricciardo, smiling in commercials?” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

As for other drivers, Carlos Sainz impressed him, as did Max Verstappen.

“Ferrari’s current moment is not positive but this is part of its history – there are better moments and other cycles without victories.

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“I like what Sainz is doing, because he always improves and has always helped the teams he raced for. But drivers today are too protected, they should be left more free – even to make mistakes.

“It’s wrong to say Red Bull is unbeatable. The unbeatable one is Verstappen.

“His strength is that he was never a child – he was mature even when he was little. He was created to be a champion by a father who was very hard on him.

“The truth is that, today, Max does not have a single weakness.”

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