A rare glimpse of the ‘real’ Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh in Mexico following a series of stellar overtakes.

Daniel Ricciardo has not had the career at McLaren that he would have wanted, generally struggling to match his teammate for pace and finding himself nearer the back of the grid than the front in the majority of races.

The Australian spent the United States Grand Prix keeping backmarker Nicholas Latifi company, saying after the race that he does not know how he is even continuing, with the bad results taking a toll on the 33-year-old.

McLaren have been equally frustrated with performances and have decided to terminate Ricciardo’s contract a year early, replacing him with rookie Oscar Piastri for 2023, leaving him without a seat for 2023.

We managed to see the Ricciardo of old in Mexico however, reminding fans of what he can do with a charge through the midfield on the soft compound tyres, finishing seventh and pulling enough of a gap to make a ten second penalty, for a collision with Yuki Tsunoda, irrelevant.

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After a challenging year the 8-time race winner has said that it came as a relief to be able to have a successful attacking race, rather than struggling once more.

“I guess better late than never,” he said.

“I’m going to take today for what it is, I’m going to enjoy it and appreciate that we did our pace and it was awesome.”

McLaren have improved over the year, with a horror start in Bahrain slowly turning into a series of point scoring finishes, mainly by Lando Norris, who has even picked up a podium in Imola, leading Ricciardo to hope that the pace he found in Mexico is not a one off.

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“I hope it means that it’ll be like that for the next two races. Not to be negative. I don’t even want to look ahead, I just want to take today for what it is, and hopefully we’ve learned something from it.

“Even the points finishes, even probably last year, I feel we were normally defending rather than attacking. So just to have an attacking race, and especially for me with this car to feel like I can attack a little bit more with it, it’s just a nice feeling,” he explained.

Ricciardo looks set to take up a reserve driver role for 2023, with the aim of returning at a top team in 2024, after rejecting the chance to drive for Haas due to his desire to win races once again.