Ricciardo: ‘Carefree attitude’ allows me to drive better

Daniel Ricciardo finished eighth in the Drivers' Championship in 2021 following a tough debut season with McLaren.

Daniel Ricciardo at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.v1

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo has revealed that he does not care much for the technical side of Formula 1, and he instead prefers to solely focus on driving the car.

Ricciardo finished eighth in the championship last season in his first year with McLaren, taking his first win in papaya at the Italian Grand Prix.

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This, however, would be his only podium of the season, in a year that saw him score points 13 times in 22 races.

The Australian admits that he is not too familiar with the technical side of Formula 1, but maintains that this allows him to focus on what really matters.

“It’s funny because my mates will say ‘dude, you’re driving these multi-million dollar cars with the most technology, the most advanced machinery, pretty much, in the world and yet you might know how to change a spark plug, you might know how to take off your tyre… but I like that’,” he told the Gypsy Tales Podcast.

“I like not really knowing a whole lot. I like investing more of my energy into the driving and I like just being a little bit blasé about it all.”

READ: Ricciardo branded ‘clearly delusional’ after Hamilton, Verstappen comment

The 32-year-old believes that not involving himself in the set-up of the car and the nuances of running it from a mechanical perspective takes weight off his shoulders.

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“It makes me approach it with a bit more of a carefree attitude and I think that helps me drive better, perform better and take the pressure off it.”

However, he insists that he does see the importance of feeding information on the car back to the team so that they are aware of where performance is lacking and what needs to be worked on.

“Where I’m good with my driving? Feedback. I think I’m really good at feeling what the car does and relaying that back to the team. So that’s probably as technically sound as I get, but otherwise I’m not really one [for that].”

Ricciardo joined F1 at the age of 22 in 2011, debuting for HRT at the British Grand Prix that year.

Following half a season with them, the Red Bull junior driver headed to Toro Rosso for 2012, before being brought into the main fold in 2014 – the season in which he claimed the first three of his eight race wins.

He grew up in Perth and, given that F1 is a mostly European sport, he admitted that he previously thought the sport was potentially a bridge too far.

“It was hard coming from Australia, getting into F1 and that world. I’m sure there are many parts around the world which are pretty disconnected from it and Perth is certainly one of those,” Ricciardo explained.

READ: Ricciardo opens up on ‘tough love’ at Red Bull vs ‘family-style’ McLaren

“F1 was on a pedestal, I was in awe of it. And a few years later, I’m there. Michael Schumacher is on the grid and these guys I’ve literally idolised as a kid. I was like ‘how did I get here?’”

He also candidly revealed that he was not a standout talent growing up, but he was able to hone his craft and improve.

“Some people from six years old, they probably have this crazy talent and maybe they have an idea they will make it.

“I was obviously good but I wasn’t dominating, and there were no real signs or early signs to tell me I would make it.”

McLaren signed Ricciardo from Renault ahead of the 2021 season, and the Australian found himself being consistently outperformed by young team-mate Lando Norris last year.

The Briton beat the former Red Bull driver by 45 points in the standings as he ended the season sixth.

The pair took the battle for third in the Constructors’ Championship to the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi, but were ultimately defeated by Ferrari.

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