Ricciardo happy to return to Australia following 20-month absence

Daniel Ricciardo will be fighting back the tears when he returns to Australia to see his family for Christmas.

Daniel Ricciardo is looking forward to returning to Australia for Christmas, saying that he will be “a bit emotional”.

The McLaren driver currently lives in Monaco to facilitate his Formula 1 career, and is excited by the prospect of returning to his homeland.

With Formula 1 being a mostly European sport, Ricciardo had to leave Australia at a young age, but was still able to return for both Christmas and his home race when he made it to Formula 1.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, Ricciardo was able to remain in Australia for an extended period, which his performance coach Michael Italiano saw as a “silver lining.”

“Daniel told me he hasn’t stayed in the same place for three months in 13 years because he’s always flying,” Italiano said.

READ: Ricciardo reflects on ‘bad year’ with McLaren

Ricciardo himself has done the maths, and is amazed by how long he has been away from Australia.

“I counted. By the time I get home, it’s close to 20 months. Close to 20 months! It’s like 19 and a half or something”, said Ricciardo.

“That’s made this year more difficult as well. The lows are lower because you don’t have that… I’ve got family support in McLaren, but I don’t have my family family.”

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Ricciardo said it has been difficult not to have his familiar support bubble around him for so long:

“Even if it’s not like to put an arm around me, it’s like, ‘Let’s get away for the weekend. Let’s just go and do something and let’s switch off for a bit’. Even a family can provide a really nice escape. That’s been tough, for sure.”

The 32-year-old explained that his mum will not be the only one fighting back the tears when he returns.

“It’s normally my mum doing the crying when I get home for Christmas, but I think I’ll be a bit emotional as well. Everyone can relate. We’re not kids anymore, we’re adults, and you get older and naturally, your family gets older.”

The Australian added that with age has come a greater appreciation for his loved ones.

“Every year that passes is one more year that you kind of miss out. Even with nieces and nephews, it’s a year that I’ve missed them growing up. So I do hold that stuff close to me, for sure. This job is tough as it is being away from loved ones.”

Though there will be plenty of emotion, Ricciardo is thoroughly looking forward to going back and seeing everyone back home.

“So I think it will be quite emotional, but it will obviously be really nice.”

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