Heat on Ricciardo over Renault move: Webber
Ex-formula one star Mark Webber says the heat is on countryman Daniel Ricciardo to perform next year following his shock move to Renault for 2019.
But Webber adds sometimes you have to take a step back to go forwards – although he still thinks the Australian should've stayed with Red Bull.
Lewis Hamilton has all-but wrapped up the drivers championship with four races remaining, the next in Austin, Texas, on October 21.
Former F1 star Mark Webber says Daniel Ricciardo will struggle next season at Renault.Credit:Karleen Minney
Ricciardo's sixth on the standings, one spot behind his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen.
His decision to switch to Renault shocked the F1 world, given they're well down the pecking order from his current team.
Webber was also surprised and felt Ricciardo was still coming to terms with it himself.
"He's absolutely world class, we know that, he's top notch, he is one of the best on Sundays, there's no question about it," Webber told Fairfax Media.
"Let's see. I hope it's an inspired decision, we'll all have to sit back and watch, but the move is under a little bit of heat, it has to work for him.
"He knows in the short term it's going to be [a step back]. He'll be behind Red Bull next year. He's banking on the long term there. That's the concern."
Webber said Ricciardo's world championship prospects were looking good until Verstappen arrived at Red Bull mid-2016.
Queanbeyan product Mark Webber chats to some fans.Credit:Karleen Minney
Since then Verstappen has become the main man, although Ricciardo has won two races this year to Verstappen's one.
Webber hoped in the long term the move to Renault would pay off.
"That's what you've got to do sometimes, you've got to be one step back, two steps forward," he said.
"He has to be realistic about what's possible there and find out what he can realistically do with the time he's got left.
"He's got a lot of time left [as a 29-year-old] … but we all would like to see him in a more competitive situation than he's going to be in in the next two years."
Hamilton leads the drivers championship by 67 points with a maximum of 100 points on offer.
It would take a miracle, or a disaster if you're Hamilton, to beat him.
While he said next year was a new title race, Webber likened the Brit to Roger Federer – one of the best tennis players the world has ever seen.
"Next year is a total reset. We'll see, but it looks like he's got his motivation, got his mojo up and that's dangerous for the other guys," Webber said.
A few photos with the fans…Credit:Karleen Minney
"If Hamilton's hungry then he's Federer-esque. That's why he's paid $60 million a year to do the job he does. He's pretty handy."
Webber had not thoughts of returning to the track in any capacity.
He's happy travelling around the world for about 200 days of the year as a TV pundit and a consultant for several companies, like Red Bull and Porsche.
Webber's also launched his own clothing range called Aussie Grit Apparel and he was back for a rare visit to Canberra to promote his clothes at the Mont Adventure Equipment store in Fyshwick during the week.
His clothes are for your adventure sports like mountain biking and cross country running.
Webber used to have his own endurance event, the Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge, where he broke his leg after he was hit by a car.
He's still an endurance junky.
"I did a 170-kilometre mountain bike race this year in August in Colorado, so that was pretty cool," Webber said.
"I'm always dipping my toe in those sort of events. I'm not as young as I was, but I still keep myself [fit] and have a good crack. You won't see me in a gym, I'm not a gym guy."
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