Daniel Ricciardo admits McLaren sacking ‘humbled’ him

Daniel Ricciardo is spending this season on the side lines of Formula 1 after he was dropped by McLaren in favour of rookie Oscar Piastri.

Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo is on a journey of self-reflection this year, as he looks to use his time away from the Formula 1 grid to reflect on his career and identify how he can improve in the future.

Ricciardo suffered an embarrassing exit from McLaren after the team decided to severe ties with him early, having only raced at the team for two seasons.

During both years at McLaren, Ricciardo underperformed, finding himself finishing behind the younger Lando Norris in the Drivers’ Standings on both occasions.

Despite securing one Grand Prix victory for McLaren, the team felt that he failed to bring the experience they had hoped for to the team, reviving their championship hopes.

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McLaren’s disappointment in Ricciardo culminated in a decision to replace him with fellow Australian and Formula 1 rookie Oscar Piastri for the 2023 season.

“I don’t want to say I got humbled, because that’s probably too dramatic,” Ricciardo told The Athletic. 

“I didn’t have my head up my a***. But in a way, I got humbled, and I did realise that OK, I’m not perfect.”

“If I was to get back on the grid, of course, the hunger would be filled to the top but it wouldn’t be coming from a place where my ego or pride is getting in the way. 

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“It’s accepting that it’s not always going to be perfect. It’s just a reality of life.”

Although Ricciardo was left without a spot on the grid, he has found a home back at his old team of Red Bull, taking on the role of reserve driver, aiding the team with testing and development.

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has put his faith in Ricciardo’s ability to step into the driver’s seat at a moment’s notice should either Max Verstappen or Sergio Perez be unable to compete.

Despite Ricciardo’s exit, McLaren has failed to find a return to form, suffering with poor performance from their car that leaves them fighting for the final point scoring positions on race weekends.

Leaving Azerbaijan, McLaren is stuck in fifth place in the Constructors’ Standings on 14 points, just 6 points ahead of rivals Alpine and far behind title-leaders Red Bull, who are on 180 points.