Daniel Ricciardo reveals ‘darkest’ day of his F1 career

Daniel Ricciardo has opened up on the toughest moments in his Formula 1 career and how they’ve shaped him.

Daniel Ricciardo has delved into the emotional rollercoaster he experienced throughout his Formula 1 journey, recounting the aftermath of the infamous 2016 Monaco race, describing it as “the darkest I’ve ever been after a race.”

Speaking with journalist Lissie Mackintosh during this year’s Monaco Grand Prix weekend, the Australian driver reflected on the highs and lows that have shaped his career.

During the 2016 season, Ricciardo and Verstappen were teammates at Red Bull, their fierce rivalry sometimes overshadowing their collaboration. 

Ricciardo missed out on victory in Monaco that year due to Red Bull blundering a pit stop. However, two years later, in 2018, Ricciardo remarkably emerged triumphant in Monte-Carlo, securing a victory that provided a measure of redemption.

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When asked about the challenges he has faced in his career, Ricciardo acknowledged the moments of difficulty, stating: “There are days or moments all the time where you’re like, ‘Sure, it hurts,’ but that’s temporary. 

“But I think that’s where you learn the most about yourself.” 

He went on to express his peculiar appreciation for such experiences, explaining: “In a way, it’s nearly a good pain if you can learn from it. 

“I do enjoy those experiences in kind of a sick way. Like 2016… that was the darkest I’ve probably ever been after a race. 

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“I looked back on it and I was like, ‘This means so much to me, and that’s why I feel that way.’ So that’s a good thing, you know, it’s like my priorities are there.”

Reflecting on the recent past, Ricciardo revealed the need for a break from racing after his final season with McLaren in 2022. 

He confessed to feeling down and frustrated during that season, as his teammate Lando Norris surpassed him in the championship standings and his relationship with the McLaren team deteriorated. 

Ricciardo explained: “The last few years, I think, also made me appreciate when things are going well. 

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“You have to enjoy the moment, and in this world, it’s so easy to be like, ‘OK, next race, next race, next race,’ and you don’t always enjoy the little wins.”

Despite the challenges he faced, Ricciardo’s love for the sport remained evident. 

He recognised that his mixed emotions stemmed from his passion for racing, stating: “I think as well, even though I was pretty down last year and a bit fed up with it at times, as much as I wanted this break, I also was like, ‘OK, I feel this way because I still love it, and I wanted this time to really understand how much I do.'”