August 30th, 2014 (F1Plus / Rosie Baillie) - Earlier this month we ran an opinion article about why Daniel Ricciardo won’t be the 2014 drivers’ world champion but I don’t think we should rule the Australian out just yet.
Following his third victory of the year in Belgium, Ricciardo is currently 64 points behind championship leader Nico Rosberg and 35 points behind second place Lewis Hamilton.
With 50 points on offer at the season finale in Abu Dhabi it is still mathematically possible for Ricciardo to win. Many people complained about the introduction of double points in Abu Dhabi but some fans are now beginning to see the positives of it: hope and excitement.
A title fight between two teammates is always interesting but everyone loves an underdog and the idea that Ricciardo could swoop in and steal the championship from the Mercedes duo while they’re busy bickering is exciting for fans.
All Ricciardo has to do is go to Abu Dhabi within 50 points of the title leader to stand a chance of taking the championship. Mercedes are dominant but as we’ve seen they aren’t immune from technical problems.
His three wins this year have come by way of issues for Mercedes. In Canada it was an MGU-K issue, in Hungary it was Rosberg getting stuck behind the safety car and in Belgium it was Rosberg and Hamilton’s clash.
When the Brackley based team haven’t had a problem, Ricciardo has been picking up points at each race bar two, due to his disqualification in Australian and retirement in Malaysia.
Personally my favourite title fights are when they go down to the wire and there are three or four potential winners. 2010 is perhaps one of the best examples in recent years. The title went down to the wire with Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton, all heading into the season finale as potential winners.
It was expected that Alonso would take his third drivers title but instead it was Vettel who won by just four points.
Just the same as everyone loves a villain and a good guy in Formula 1, everyone loves an underdog. This sport is a long game and it needs underdogs, villains and good guys to sustain excitement throughout the season.
Writing this before the Italian Grand Prix, it seems pretty clear that we’re going to witness an exciting title battle between Hamilton and Rosberg and it’s likely that one of them will win.
I don’t see why that means we should rule Ricciardo out yet. Yes, his chances are slim but he has a chance and by ruling him out now we’re only depriving ourselves of extra excitement and tension.