Daniel Ricciardo reveals ‘huge moment’ in his career involving Michael Schumacher

Daniel Ricciardo will return to Red Bull in 2023, taking part in simulator work and promotional activities while he waits for an opportunity to return to the grid.

In 2012 Daniel Ricciardo was finally given his chance in the Red Bull system as he was called up to race for Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso, partnering Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne.

The Australian finished the season six points behind his teammate in 18th place before doubling his points tally the next season and earning himself a move to Red Bull to partner four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

While Ricciardo was on the way up in Formula 1, the legendary Michael Schumacher was coming towards the end of his stellar racing career with Mercedes, who were struggling to compete with the top teams at the time.

When discussing the career of the seven-time world champion, Ricciardo has revealed an interaction with the German during his time at Toro Rosso that stuck with him and gave him the confidence that he could succeed in F1.

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“One left of field is Suzuka, 2012,” said the 33-year-old when discussing stories about Schumacher.

“I defended Schumacher in the last part of the race, and I won the last point in tenth. I was still intimidated by him at that time, obviously I was like, he’s God.

“When he caught me, if there was live betting, I wouldn’t have bet on myself that I was going to keep him behind me for the next ten laps or whatever. The fact that I did that, and the level of comfort that I felt defending him, I kind of surprised myself with my racecraft.

“From that I grew a lot in confidence. It was followed up by him congratulating me [at] the following race on the drivers’ parade, I remember he came up and said ‘good job last week defending’.

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“That for me, getting a bit of confirmation from someone like that, at that age, and that point in my career was huge.”

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Unfortunately for Ricciardo he was not able to replicate the title winning success of Michael Schumacher during his racing career, having made the bold decision to step away from Red Bull in favour of spells with Renault and McLaren.

The 33-year-old has eight race wins to his name as he enters his reserve driver role with Red Bull but will we left wondering what he could have achieved should have have stayed with the energy drink giants in the first place.

Ricciardo’s time with Red Bull was hampered by an unreliable Renault engine and a frosty relationship with a young Max Verstappen, making a move away from Milton Keynes the best option for the Australian.