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Ricciardo: “Happy” and “relieved” season ended with a clean race

Considering Daniel Ricciardo has significantly underperformed as compared to Lando Norris, it was important for him to end the season on a good note with McLaren.

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Daniel Ricciardo is happy to finish his F1 season with McLaren with a clean race. 

Daniel Ricciardo was able to put his McLaren in P9 in Abu Dhabi (Image Credit: F1 website)

With the Aussie driver’s Brazil GP ending with a DNF, it was even more important to have Abu Dhabi end well. Ricciardo expressed his relief when the race ended clean, and within the points.

“I’m happy, I’m relieved also that the season finished like this and not like the race in Brazil,

“I think to see the chequered flag, to finish in the points, it just makes me a little more at peace with how this year has ended.”

 

Last race for Ricciardo

The 33-year-old has stated that he wanted to sit out the 2023 season and work towards a return in 2024. That remains partially true, but Ricciardo secured a third driver seat for next year at Red Bull. Though it is a place for him next year, he won’t be racing and so he said, it was fun to have battled like he did in the final race, but tough to stay unemotional. Ricciardo stated:

“And, of course, I don’t know what the future holds. So if this was to be my final ever race, at least I can say I had a nice little battle with Vettel at the end, and I feel a bit more content with my performance. So for that, I’m relieved.

“I tried not to get too emotional, honestly. Because it’s not a sure thing. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I didn’t want to be overwritten with emotions, nostalgia, and all these things.

“I was just trying to stay focused, and certainly trying to absorb everything and appreciate it. But ultimately, still stay focused and try to focus on obviously the 58-lap race.”

Still not content with how much he got out of the McLaren

Ricciardo said that he had still not achieved his full potential with the MCL36, even with P9.

“I think like on pace, it was still tricky to really get everything out of it,” 

“But I felt like with what I had, I felt like I attacked well and defended well.

“And I was quite sure Vettel was going to get me with the rate he was closing so to hold him off that made me proud, and Lewis’ misfortune meant that Seb got the last ever point of his career. So that made me a little happier for him as well.”

Motivation for 2024

Ricciardo said the feeling of not being on the grid next year is one he hopes makes him more hungry.

“That’s honestly a feeling which, in a way, I hope makes me a little bit agitated, makes me hungry and makes me a little bit edgy.

“So I’ll truly know then if my place is back on the grid. If I’m watching as a fan and not really caring too much, then I also have my answer that okay, then my future looks different. So I hope to get these feelings of course, I’m sure I will.

“But it also allows me some time off and some time to let’s say rebuild myself and just to get a year of not so many highs and lows, just something a bit more balanced.

“Also, just for me, personally, I think it will make me a little more consistent and a little happier.”

Headline Image Credit: Official F1 Website

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