‘No hidden agenda’: Daniel Ricciardo apologises to Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo returned to Red Bull this season to become their development driver, after McLaren axed him.

Eight-time race winner Daniel Ricciardo has interestingly admitted to having been too selfish during his first stint racing for Red Bull, with the Australian having since recognised that when he left the team in 2018 “it was just all about me”.

Ricciardo made the step from Toro Rosso (known now as AlphaTauri) to Red Bull in 2014, after fellow Aussie Mark Webber retired from Formula 1.

The 33-year-old settled into the Milton Keynes-based team unbelievably well, with him having beaten Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel in the 2014 Drivers’ Championship.

With Vettel having then switched to Ferrari for the start of the 2015 season, Ricciardo suddenly found himself as arguably Red Bull’s lead driver, with Daniil Kvyat having been inconsistent after the Russian replaced Vettel.

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Things started to change, though, when Max Verstappen was promoted to the Austrians just a handful of rounds into the 2016 season, with the Dutchman having been instantly viewed as a phenomenal talent.

Verstappen proved that he was destined for greatness after winning his maiden race for Red Bull, at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

Ricciardo and Verstappen initially got along well and are still friends today; however, it was clear that tension was brewing amongst the team.

As the duo entered 2018, it was evident that Ricciardo wasn’t happy, with many having questioned whether the team were starting to show preferential treatment in Verstappen’s favour.

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Ricciardo ultimately decided to leave the frontrunning team at the end of 2018, in order to move to midfield outfit Renault.

Whilst Ricciardo did perform well for the Enstone-based team, he never replicated his Red Bull success, resulting in a switch to McLaren for 2021.

Apart from his win at Monza in 2021, it’s well documented how badly his two-year stint with the Woking-based team went, with it arguably having marked the bottom of his downward spiral following his Red Bull departure.

Having since returned to Red Bull as their development driver, though, Ricciardo has started to see things differently, with the Aussie now recognising exactly what he was like when he decided to leave the leading side.

As a result, he isn’t “too proud” with how he was at times when he raced for the Austrians, with his aim now being to “build myself back up”.

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“I come at it from a different point of view now,” Ricciardo told The Athletic.

“Even looking back at 2018…it was just all about me, me, me. In all these young drivers, I see it. That’s just how we are.

“At times, I reacted a little too selfishly to a bad weekend. Now, I’m back with the team, but I’d say it’s a very selfless role. I’ve got no hidden agenda. There’s no ego. I’m not too proud. I’m trying to build myself back up.”