Red Bull Proves Once Again Nice Guys Finish Last In Formula 1

Well, unless that nice guy is Daniel Ricciardo, that is.

Red Bull Proves Once Again Nice Guys Finish Last In Formula 1

Image: Getty

As the dust settles on a huge twist in an otherwise predictable Formula 1 season, which saw Australian Daniel Ricciardo return to the F1 team where he made his name, replacing rookie Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri, Red Bull proves once again that nice guys finish last in F1.

It wasn’t supposed to go like this for AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries. The Dutch driver entered the grid at the start of this season as the most experienced rookie in Formula 1 history, having won the F2 Championship and Formula E World Championship in 2021. Ahead of his Formula 1 debut, de Vries enjoyed FP1 outings for Mercedes, Aston Martin and Williams, consistently proving he could match the pace of the formidable Formula 1 cars. So where did it all go wrong?

At 28, de Vries is considered one of the older drivers on the grid (a bizarre state of affairs in of itself) and whilst his route to the top of the racing pyramid was less than orthodox – especially given the careers of drivers such as George Russell, Lando Norris and world champion Max Verstappen – it’s difficult to consider the Dutch driver a rookie.

After 10 races and zero points registered, AlphaTauri sits last in the Constructors’ Championship looking up at the increasing gap to the rest of the pack, and true to form, Red Bull wasn’t prepared to stand on ceremony.

“We had to do something,” Marko Helmut, head of Red Bull’s Driver Development Programme told De Telegraaf: “Why should we wait and what difference does it make if you don’t see any improvement after two races? Nyck is a nice guy, but the speed just wasn’t there.”

AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries lost his Formula 1 seat after 10 races. Image: Getty

RELATED: Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull Redemption Story Is A Formula 1 Fairytale

All things considered, this is brutally on-brand for the Austrian outfit. Red Bull is well-known for its ruthless approach to driver management – just ask Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly – and with mounting pressure to replace Sergio “Checo” Pérez with Daniel Ricciardo midseason amid his freefalling form, Marko Helmut and Christian Horner made the call.

During testing at the British Grand Prix last weekend, Danny Ric reminded F1 what it was missing out on, following half a season spent on the sidelines as Red Bull’s driver-in-waiting. Ricciardo was hungry for a seat at the top of the grid and he was making sure everybody knew it, registering a best time coming in at 1:27.415 in Red Bull’s relentless RB19 – only 0.7 seconds off Max Verstappen in first.

Ultimately, a strong second team is good for the overall health of the Red Bull Racing group, and had de Vries registered points or shown glimpses of the pace he showed in Formula E and F2, this might have been a different article. Ricciardo returns on a short-term loan to AlphaTauri with a point to prove; his eyes firmly set on a Red Bull seat as early as next season.

With the Honey Badger back in the fold, eager fans will be hoping he can replicate that same pace he showed in the RB19 with arguably, the slowest car on the grid to lift the underperforming AlphaTauri off the bottom – and as Red Bull has just shown, this nice guy’s future might just depend on it.