Since his Formula 1 debut in 2011, Daniel Ricciardo has endured the ups and downs of professional sport.
From the triumph of his maiden victory at the Canadian Grand Prix to his disastrous debut for Renault at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, the 30-year-old’s career has been an emotional rollercoaster.
Ricciardo has evidently been feeling nostalgic while in lockdown, and in the latest edition of “Dan’s Diary”, he reminisced about the races which have left a lasting emotional impact.
There are no prizes for guessing which F1 moment evoked the most anger for Ricciardo. After claiming pole position at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix, he slipped to second spot because of a shambolic a pit stop error, opening the door for Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton to win the event.
“Even four years on, I remember this day in so much detail. It’s like a video in my mind,” Ricciardo wrote.
“I can picture myself driving through the corner before the tunnel and that pit stop … I was so angry.
“I didn’t want to talk to anyone afterwards. I certainly didn’t want any sympathy. It was just pure rage.
Daniel Ricciardo was seething after the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix.Source:Getty Images
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“I remember standing on the podium with Lewis. He’d won a race that I had under control. I just didn’t want to be there.
“I had a moment of clarity in the media pen afterwards where I thought that if finishing second at Monaco is the worst day in my life, then I should probably wake up. So that was when the anger started to turn into disappointment.”
However, Ricciardo redeemed himself two years later by winning in Monaco in 2018, which remains his most recent F1 victory. The West Australian considers that win the most relieved he’s ever felt in F1.
“The main feeling was sheer relief that this time I didn’t have it taken from me,” Ricciardo said.
“That Sunday night, I was just burned out. It was more a massive exhale than anything else.”
The 2018 Monaco Grand Prix remains Daniel Ricciardo’s most recent Formula 1 victory.Source:Getty Images
A few years earlier, Ricciardo finished sixth at the 2014 German Grand Prix, narrowly trumped by Fernando Alonso for a spot in the top five. Although the result wasn’t necessarily remarkable, Ricciardo believed it signified the moment he gained the respect of his Spanish rival.
“I felt like I hadn’t earned Alonso’s respect until that day. I still had a point to prove with him,” Ricciardo wrote.
“He came out of the pits behind me on fresher tyres and cruised past me on the straight, but he left the door open, probably not expecting me to try to re-pass, so I went for it.
“We had this cat and mouse game after that for the next handful of laps, and it was big to show him that I was prepared to put up a fight on inferior tyres while keeping it clean.
“He said some nice things about me afterwards, so I think he looked at me differently after that.”
Daniel Ricciardo before the 2018 United States Grand Prix.Source:Getty Images
Ricciardo also revisited the infamous door-punch incident in Austin following the 2018 United States Grand Prix. After qualifying fifth, the Australian retired within the opening 10 laps due to a battery concern.
“I was dark after that one,” Ricciardo wrote. “I put my first through my drivers’ room door and didn’t hang around after the race.”
Six days later, Ricciardo bounced back and claimed pole position in Mexico City. However, tragedy struck the Red Bull star again, a hydraulics problem removing him from Sunday’s race with 10 laps remaining.
“Sunday was pretty miserable,” Ricciardo wrote.
“Before the lights went out, there were problems finding the engine revs for the start, so the start was terrible, but I’d turn it around with a long stint on the supersoft to get myself into a position to be second, and then the car stopped a few laps from the end.
“Those two weeks … Let’s say I didn’t enjoy my job.”
On Thursday, McLaren confirmed Ricciardo had signed with the team for the 2021 season, ending his two-year stint at Renault.
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