Daniel Ricciardo reveals message from ex-Red Bull teammate amid McLaren struggles

Daniel Ricciardo partnered Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull in 2014, in what was the German driver's last year at the Austrian side.

2022 has been arguably the most challenging year of Daniel Ricciardo’s Formula 1 career, with the Aussie having struggled all season to compete against team-mate Lando Norris, let alone finish in the top 10.

The experienced 33-year-old has claimed just six top 10 finishes in 2022, compared to Norris’ 16 points finishes.

It’s meant the 23-year-old has been fighting Alpine on his own somewhat, making it unsurprising that the French side have all but sealed fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.

Ricciardo’s axe from McLaren is, in all honesty, not a surprise, especially given the fact that the Woking-based side have managed to get hold of someone like Oscar Piastri for 2023.

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A sabbatical from full-time racing is how Ricciardo will be spending his campaign next season; however, he’s set to be in Red Bull colours.

The Honey Badger is set to sign a deal with Red Bull to become somewhat of a third driver, with the Aussie set to take part in demo runs and simulator work.

His target is to return in 2024 but there is no guarantee that’ll happen, meaning this weekend’s race at the Yas Marina Circuit might be his last in F1.

It is, of course, definitely Sebastian Vettel’s last race in F1, with the four-time World Champion retiring at the end of the year.

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Many drivers this weekend have been sharing their special stories and memories of the 35-year-old, with Ricciardo being none the wiser.

Ricciardo revealed to the media that Vettel has called him “multiple times” this season to check-up on the Aussie, with the driver hailing Vettel as a “true friend”.

“I won’t go into detail in terms of what was said, but as a general comment, he’s picked up the phone multiple times this year and has just been a friend, shown care, checking in, as a true friend would do,” said Ricciardo.

“To have friends like that is so important but it’s also not that common.

“In terms of on the grid, we get on with drivers and you do build friendships, but to have that deeper level of friendship…some gestures he’s made this year and some of the kindness he’s shown towards me was in a way kind of unexpected.

“It’s just super nice of him.”

Going into 2023, Ricciardo is targeting to do “all I can” to achieve a full-time return in 2024, something he has the “desire” to do.

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“I can’t sign a contract today to guarantee me a seat in ’24,” he added.

“No one will do that. It’s not possible.

“But I’ll just try to do all I can next year to try to show that I still have the desire and the skill to do it.”