Daniel Ricciardo is definitely one of the biggest winners in F1, as far as the 2020 season is concerned. Having gained consistent points finishes at the start, he now has two podiums in the last three races.
However, it was not quite rosy prior to him joining the Renault team. The Australian has now opened up on a difficult 2018 season that marked his last at Red Bull Racing.
He believes that that year was an emotional rollercoaster, considering he had a shot at the title. Eventually, the momentum slipped away, and he had to be content with a 6th placed-finish in the Drivers’ standings.
Speaking to Sky F1, Ricciardo is quoted as saying, “I think the last year at Red Bull was probably emotionally the most tough I think because at the start of the year it looked like I was maybe competing for a Championship. And then mid-year realised I wanted to move on.”
Naturally, Ricciardo did not accept the contract extension Red Bull had offered him. Instead, he elected to move to French manufacturer team, Renault.
“Then towards the end of the year it was just DNF after DNF, there were a lot of emotions that year, so I think that was still to this day probably the most tough year for me emotionally and how it played with me a little bit.”
Ricciardo endured four retirements in his last 10 races with Red Bull back in 2018. As a result, he gradually slid down the rankings and finished sixth that season with 170 points.
2019 did not prove to be an easy season either, being his first with Renault. Marred by mechanical failures at times, it was a tough time for the driver, who often competed in the lower midfield.
However, Renault’s fortunes have significantly improved, especially in the latter half of 2020. The fact that Ricciardo was on hand to capitalize on the opportunities shows just how much progress they have made.
Ricciardo is moving to McLaren next season. Thus, it remains to be seen if Fernando Alonso can replicate the same form for them. At the moment, though, all is well with the Australian, who is high on confidence and morale.