Daniel Ricciardo interview: Bathurst 1000 on Aussies ace’s wishlist

Todd BalymNews Corp Australia Sports Newsroom
MONZA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 12: Race winner Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and McLaren F1 celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 12, 2021 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Camera IconMONZA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 12: Race winner Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and McLaren F1 celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 12, 2021 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images) Credit: Supplied

Daniel Ricciardo has revealed the emotional toll his difficult Formula 1 season at McLaren has had on him as he looks to carry confidence, not arrogance, into the rest of the season starting with this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

The Aussie F1 star has struggled in his first year behind the wheel at McLaren but finally broke a three-year race victory drought at Monza that has wiped months of heartache and pain away to set him up for a strong finish to the year.

Ricciardo said his battle trying to adapt to a new car combined with having not seen family for 16 months due to the Covid pandemic had made this season particularly difficult but he could now feel a “weightlessness” after shaking the victory monkey from his back.

“I think going through everything this year, more lows than highs, not being able to see family, let’s say it’s been a year of probably frustration and a year of sacrifices,” Ricciardo told Fox Sports in an exclusive interview to be aired on Friday.

Watch Daniel Ricciardo’s full exclusive interview with Jessica Yates from 4pm (AEDT) Friday 24 September on Kayo Sports

“I definitely think the days of suckier Daniel are behind me. I joke about it, but I look back now on those days earlier this year and also appreciate them for what they were and it made Monza so much more special and bigger than what it was.”

But Ricciardo warned one Grand Prix victory doesn’t suddenly mean he should be fighting for podiums every weekend.

“Is it going to be smooth sailing from now on? No. The reality of sport is you have bad days. but there is a weightlessness feeling and that’s good,” he said.

“It’s good to prove I’m still here and as hungry as I’ve ever been, I knew it but everyone knows it now if they did forget.

“I’m still going to put a lot of pressure on myself to keep getting better with this car, Monza was the perfect result but it’s not done yet. The high we felt we want to feel that again.

“Now we have a bit of air about us, as long as we portray that as confidence not arrogance we will go well.

“The win shouldn’t steer us away from the path we’re on and yes the win is huge but we’ve still got places to improve and I don’t expect Russia to be walk in the park for us, we will have our challenges here.

“We need to use the confidence but don’t get caught up in the confidence. It’s back to business, long story short, it’s back to business.”

With seven rounds still to go in the F1 season Ricciardo hopes to possibly return to Australia at some point in the summer with a long-term view to maybe race in Australia’s greatest motorsport event, the Bathurst 1000, after he’s retired from F1 racing.

“There are definitely some things I would love to do and Bathurst is one of them, once the chaos of my F1 career slows down it is certainly something id like to entertain one day,” he said.

“Speaking of home, I’m hanging to get home, family is the main thing, but home in general. I do love Australia, especially in the summer and it’s been too long, take me back to some Aussie summer soon.”

Originally published as Daniel Ricciardo interview: Bathurst 1000 on Aussies ace’s wishlist

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