Daniel Ricciardo didn't want to be 'parked up' behind Verstappen at Red Bull

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1996 Formula 1 champion Damon Hill has backed Daniel Ricciardo's decision to leave Red Bull, suggesting he could have been "parked up" behind Max Verstappen.

The Australian's move to Renault will be one of the most closely followed in 2019, with Ricciardo essentially betting his future on the French manufacturer making progress having previously been with a race-winning team.

However, Hill believes the logic makes a great deal of sense based on the environment that was being created at Red Bull.

“He always has a massive grin on but deep down there is a burning desire to win and he knows that his clock is running," he told the Daily Express.

“He is 29 years old and might have felt the emphasis, the backing [at Red Bull], has all gone to the younger guy in Max Verstappen – and he is not having it.

“I think he is thinking: ‘I am not going to be parked up and I have one more chance at it.”

Indeed, with Ricciardo turning 30 in July, and new talent coming through, he knows opportunities will start reducing in the coming years.

“You have got to keep putting yourself forward and giving yourself the option of being No. 1," Hill continued. “You don’t want to be marginalised in this sport and be happy at No. 2 because that wouldn’t sit well with Ricciardo.

“He would hate himself forever if he accepted that.”

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Speaking ahead of his home race in Melbourne, Ricciardo has suggested a lack of commitment compared to Verstappen ultimately led to his exit.

"There was nothing physical, it's not like Max had a better or newer front wing than me," he told The Age newspaper.

"But he committed to the team for so long so early and signed such a big deal, and there was a feeling for me that the team was thinking, 'he's put more faith in us than you have, and you're taking so long to negotiate'.

"Perhaps Red Bull thought 'you're not going to go anywhere else', but I think that's the wrong mentality. I felt like I had to work too hard to justify what I wanted, and what the performances I've had say I should be worth.

"Perhaps the love just wasn't there," he concluded.

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