Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough few years in F1 and he’s revealed his feelings took a dark turn when success was eluding him.
Daniel Ricciardo says he no longer feels “bitter” about not having won an F1 world title in his career so far.
The Australian is enjoying somewhat of a resurgence in the back end of the season but overall, he has struggled in his first campaign with McLaren, particularly in the opening half of the year.
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He is currently eighth in the drivers standings on 95 points, 50 points behind his teammate Lando Norris, who is his junior by 10 years.
Ricciardo burst onto the F1 scene with Red Bull in 2014 and enjoyed several successful seasons, winning seven Grands Prixs before deciding to switch teams to Renault in a shock move.
The 32-year-old had recurring issues with his car during two lean seasons at the French outfit and only managed two podium finishes in a slightly improved 2020.
A move to McLaren on a three-year deal was interpreted by F1 pundits as a sign Ricciardo was desperate to rediscover some of the success he tasted earlier in his career.
He’s now revealed he previously felt “bitter” about not winning a world title but has since adopted a new-found perspective and managed to achieve fulfilment is not always associated with winning.
“There was a time where I was a little bit bitter, like, ‘I should have had a title by now, this sucks. Why don’t I? Wrong place, wrong time’, or this or that,” Ricciardo told the Beyond the Grid podcast this week.
“But maybe that’s the growth in me or the maturity where I don’t think that anymore.
“I’m still here because I believe I can win a title, and I want to win a title.
“But I’m at peace with whatever happens.
“As long as I go out and leave it all on the track, I’ll get fulfilment.”
Ricciardo explained he remains determined to win a world championship before his F1 career ends but he won’t view his time at McLaren as a “failure” if it doesn’t eventuate.
“Say I’m at McLaren for five years, and we don’t get a title, I don’t want to look back on the five years as a failure,” he said.
“Because then it’s like, ‘OK, that’s five years of my life that I’m just flushing down the toilet’. Five years of your life is a lot of time.
“That’s maybe the mindset switch that I’ve made.
“Don’t get me wrong, it has not made me any softer or less driven or less motivated. But I want to enjoy my time here in the sport.
“The goal is to be world champion, and I think that is why I will wake up every morning with the desire to do this, but I don’t want that to dictate my whole happiness.
“I’ve been doing this 10 years. I’m not world champion yet, so there’s no guarantee it will happen.
“I just don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket and then be miserable for the rest of my life because I haven’t done it.
Ricciardo broke through for an unexpected victory at the Italian Grand Prix last month, finishing on top of the podium for the first time since Monaco in 2018 — more than three years earlier.
While he tries not to let his performance on the track dictate his emotions, Ricciardo said the win at Monza was a huge boost and gave him immense joy and satisfaction.
“Winning in Monza was probably all I needed to give me all the happiness in 2021,” he said.
“That also proved that you can get so much from not just the world title.”
There are six races remaining on the 2021 F1 calendar, starting with the United States Grand Prix, which will take place on Monday 25 October at 6am (AEDT).