Daniel Ricciardo is having a great time in Formula 1, despite a somewhat disappointing season at Renault. The Australian also sees enough perspective with the French team.
Thirty-year-old Ricciardo is no longer competing for the podium places, as he was used to during his time with Red Bull Racing. Nevertheless, the seven-time Grand Prix winner emphasizes to the BBC on Tuesday that he does not regret his switch. "It still feels good."
"Of course there have been times when we are performing less than I had hoped," Ricciardo admits. During the race in Austria, he was disappointed by the disappointing performance.
"All kinds of thoughts went through my mind during the race. I was driving around there, but I thought: I don't want to be here at all," says Ricciardo, who finished twelfth in that race.
"It was one of the worst weekends, but I felt just then my passion and love for the sport and how much I would like to return with Renault at the front."
Renault hoped this year to join the three top teams Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, but the gap has only widened. Ricciardo, who is eighth in the World Cup ranking with 34 points, nevertheless speaks of an instructive year. "Due to some of these setbacks, this year has been very positive for me and it has really encouraged me to achieve more."
Daniel Ricciardo didn't finish on the podium this year. (Photo: Getty Images)
Ricciardo not going to leave Renault
Ricciardo announced last August that he was leaving Red Bull Racing for Renault after five years. He is still stuck with the French racing team in 2020 and is not planning to leave. Next season is not Nico Hülkenberg but Esteban Ocon his new teammate.
"Whether I want to stay? Yes, because in the ideal picture we are going to take steps", Ricciardo explains. "I chose Renault with all my might. I didn't intend to make a two-year stopover somewhere. I know people still think so, but I really want it to work."
Ricciardo set his best performance of the season two weeks ago with fourth place in the Grand Prix of Italy. The Australian knew from the start that it would be a difficult year. "Even if we were to finish sixth every weekend, I know that there is a greater goal and that we are not yet where we want to be. I was prepared for that."
Ricciardo can also enjoy racing at Renault. "The qualifications are a lot more exciting than last year", he points out as a positive point. "The fight then mainly went between me and Max Verstappen, but this year it goes between the entire midfield. That is certainly something that keeps my blood flowing fast."
Ricciardo and the other Formula One drivers are currently preparing for the Singapore Grand Prix. The fifteenth race of the season starts on Sunday at 2.10 p.m. (Dutch time). The first free practice is Friday at 10.30 a.m.
See also: Which Formula 1 driver will drive where in 2020?