Former World Champion, Damon Hill, has said that McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo still has his talent to show, but that the magic involved in the craft may sooner or later disappear. Hill feels Ricciardo can still rediscover his very best form.
Hill cautioned about what age does to an F1 driver and that Ricciardo is in a race against time to achieve his career-best form or face the consequences, as many older drivers have, such as Kimi Raikkonen.
“The young guys have the magic bit, which they don’t even know they’ve got, you know, they just have a gut instinct. And then you get this blend of experience and knowledge and that instinct,” Hill explained.
“It’s going to go eventually, you can’t keep going on forever.”
Hill also explained how beyond a certain age, which he feels is 33, fitness and genetics come into play, making it incredibly difficult to continue racing in F1, where racing gets more and more physically intensive. Ricciardo is only 32, giving him in theory, some time before he is forced to retire for the sake of health.
“I mean, you can’t make any firm rules about it. Because obviously fitness has an impact. And I’m sure that’s there might be a doctor, maybe we can get to speak to someone on this show about you know, what happens to your physiology,” Hill added.
“He’s still quite young Danny [Ricciardo], so it’s not like the talent disappeared. But definitely, we mentioned Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis [Hamilton] will be 38 by the time he stops.”
Hill even evoked a comparison to his own career, where Hill was something of a late bloomer. He added that toward the end, things went south in his racing career.
“There were times in my racing career, mostly toward the end, it has to be said, where the magic suddenly disappears,” Hill admitted. “That was the age that Alan Prost retired, but I think after 33 the magic starts to disappear.”
“Actually, when you lose your faculties, you lose the things that you need to be a racing driver. I don’t know what they are, but I can tell you that there are no two ways about it,” he concluded.