‘Mature’ Ricciardo can live without being world champ
DANIEL Ricciardo is now “at peace” with the thought of not being a Formula One world champion after feeling “bitter” about it earlier in his career.
But the Australian has not given up on fulfilling his dream, declaring his drought-breaking win at Monza this year had shown him McLaren was a “group of winners” and was ready as a team to start challenging for a world championship.
Now an eight-time Grand Prix winner, Ricciardo finished third in the F1 championship in 2014 and 2016 when he was racing for Red Bull but has not finished higher than fifth since.
Ricciardo felt he was driving well enough in those two years to have been in a title fight had he been in “equal equipment”.
The 32-year-old believed his talent as a driver was deserving of a world title but he told F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast his mindset had changed and he was comfortable with the notion that it might not ever happen.
“There was a time where I was a little bit bitter, like ‘I should have had a title by now, this sucks and why don’t I, wrong place, wrong time’ or this or that,” Ricciardo said.
“Maybe that’s the growth in me or the maturity where I don’t think that any more. I am still here because I believe I can win a title and I want to win a title.
“But I am at peace with whatever happens as long as I just go out and leave it all on the track then I will get fulfilment.”
In his first season with McLaren after two years at Renault following his departure from Red Bull at the end of 2018, Ricciardo sits eighth in the championship standing.
He struggled to make an impact early in the year before his breakthrough win at the Italian Grand Prix in September reminded everyone of his ability to mix it at the front of the grid.
While the goal remains to win a world title, Ricciardo said he would not view his time at McLaren as a failure if it did not eventuate.