Daniel Ricciardo has already faced a challenging 2022; the Australian has struggled getting to grips with the new regulations, resulting in his future with the McLaren F1 Team appearing uncertain.
Apart from his victory at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, Ricciardo hasn’t delivered the results that the team were anticipating when he joined them at the start of last season.
The Honey Badger is constantly behind team-mate Lando Norris, and currently has only 11 points to his name this season.
After seven rounds, Ricciardo has finished in the points once, whilst team-mate Lando Norris soars ahead on 48 points.
The experienced Australian is usually known for his bubbly personality, and ability to be smiling 24/7.
Over recent rounds his appearance has become more negative, almost signalling that he knows he’s a driver under immense pressure.
Despite it all, Ricciardo explained in a recent interview that he hasn’t “lost his competitive edge”.
“It kind of ebbs and flows where sometimes I’ll get down on myself,” admitted Ricciardo.
“But then other times, I’m fired up and motivated to prove a lot of people wrong and prove myself right.
“More times than not I’ll kind of chuckle at the doubt because even last year, for sure there were times when I was trying to figure it out.
“Already in April and May [last year] there were articles like ‘he’s lost it’, but six months earlier in 2020 I was regarded as one of the stand-out drivers of that season.
“The reality is I’ve not forgotten how to drive in six months, I haven’t lost my competitive edge, it’s just kind of a moment in time I knew I could come out of.”
The Australian certainly hasn’t been helped by McLaren CEO Zak Brown, who has made his attitude towards Ricciardo known to the media.
Brown told reporters that there were “mechanisms” in place to end the 32-year-old’s contract, however, it has been reported since that only Ricciardo can end his contract with the team early.
The Australian is contracted with McLaren until the end of 2023.
Brown has also admitted to the media that Ricciardo “had not met his or our expectations”, further adding fuel to the fire for the Australian driver.
Ricciardo revealed that he knows what he’s got to do, and that he’s “excited to remind people” of the talent he has.
“Nobody will get into me more than myself as well, so someone telling me I need to pull my finger out won’t change me because if they are telling me to pull my finger out, I’m telling myself much more,” continued Ricciardo.
“It’s more about me proving myself right. Even like Monza, now people are like ‘oh, it was just a one-off’. You don’t just win for free in F1, it doesn’t just happen. You have to be a very certain individual to execute a perfect weekend in F1.
“I think long story short, I know I can still do it and I believe 100% in myself. Even if that wavered a bit last year, it’s definitely back. It’s easy to look on paper and be like ‘it’s no different’ but I’ll keep at it.
“I think people forget, so right now I’m excited to remind people,” concluded the 32-year-old.