Vettel: McLaren 'failed' with 'one of the best drivers' in Ricciardo

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Sebastian Vettel believes it was McLaren who "failed" to make their partnership work with "one of the best drivers" in Daniel Ricciardo.

The Australian struggled for most of his two-year stint at the Woking-based team, trailing teammate Lando Norris and simply failing to gel with the handling characteristics of the McLaren cars.

As a result, Ricciardo and McLaren decided to part ways one year early at the end of 2022, with the eight-time Grand Prix winner returning to Red Bull as a reserve driver for this year.

But his former teammate has no doubts about the 33-year-old's ability, putting the blame on McLaren for not making the most of it.

“Maybe I have too much empathy for a Formula 1 driver but I was very saddened about what happened to Daniel,” Vettel said.

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“I think it’s a very, very difficult situation to be in. I think he’s still one of the best drivers.

“I raced against him, I had the pleasure to race against him, and the not-so-pleasurable side of getting beaten by him years ago, and I still think he has very, very much to offer.

“I think, in this regard and I don’t know the details, but I guess McLaren failed to extract the potential that he has. It’s sad to see that he’s been put in a difficult position, but I wish him all the best.

“I’m sure that, ultimately, the talent he has and the qualities he has will shine through.”

With 85 points between Ricciardo and Norris and only 14 separating McLaren and Alpine, it could be argued that the Australian's woes cost them fourth place in the Constructors' Championship.

Ricciardo Norris MexGP

However, now former team boss Andreas Seidl refused to do so.

"I'm far away from just blaming the situation with Daniel for not scoring P4 this year," he stated.

"In the end, I'm aware as well about my responsibility, the team's responsibility not to get it to work together with Daniel in the way we were hoping for, despite the great commitment that was done on Daniel's side and on ours.

"That's part of not scoring the points as a team that you wanted to score or could have scored. It's part of the sport and that's something that we'll try to address or improve for next year."