Daniel Ricciardo: ‘I am the best in the world’

Daniel Ricciardo's appearance at the Australian Grand Prix was the first event he's attended this season.

Eight-time race winner Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that he doesn’t look back on his time at McLaren “with regret”, with the Australian instead taking some “responsibility” for the partnership having failed.

Excluding his shock win at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, Ricciardo’s two-year spell at McLaren was miserable, with the 33-year-old having been very much in Lando Norris’ shadow.

Ricciardo struggled for speed and consistency at the Woking-based team, which ultimately resulted in his contract for 2023 being terminated.

“I’ll always take some responsibility or accountability,” he admitted to selected media, including Speedcafe.

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“For many years, I truly believed I was the best, and I am the best in the world, so whatever the situation, I’ll be able to overcome it.

“And obviously with McLaren it was tough for me to do that.

“So yeah, I was aware that I’m not the perfect driver, I do have weaknesses, so I’ll always hold something on to myself.”

Ricciardo opted for a year away from the F1 grid to reassess his future and whether he still wants to be an F1 driver, something which has seen him return to Red Bull for the year as their development driver.

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Whilst this role involves little driving, it does give him an opportunity to reflect on his time at McLaren, and where things went wrong.

As a result of his poor performances the last two years, Ricciardo was “timid” when getting into Red Bull’s simulator for the first time, before suddenly feeling “like I was kind of back home”.

“Having a bit of a chance to remove myself from it and now looking back on the last two years, I would have done things differently if I had that time again, or maybe ask more questions or been a little bit more demanding,” Ricciardo admitted.

“But you also live and you learn, so I don’t look back with regret.

“That was a situation and I got through it.

“And now, getting back into Red Bull, I felt as well I was certainly a little bit… my confidence was probably not what it used to be as well.

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“Even I was a little bit probably timid getting into the simulator, trying to downplay how it was going to go.

“But as the day went on, the more comfortable I felt, and the more it just felt like I was kind of back home in a car that I honestly felt comfortable with.

“So yeah, let’s say everything felt like it was pretty recharged after that first day.”