Ricciardo “at peace” with lack of Formula 1 title
McLaren F1 driver Ricciardo finished third in the championship for Red Bull in both 2014 and 2016, but has not ended a season any higher than fifth since then.
The Australian is widely regarded as being one of the top talents in F1, but has failed in recent years to regularly feature at the front of the field with Renault and McLaren.
Ricciardo sent a reminder of his talent by taking a dominant win for McLaren at Monza – his first since Monaco 2018 – and end the team’s own victory drought that dated back to 2012.
Speaking on the latest episode of F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, Ricciardo said that, while he felt his talent was deserving of a world title, he had got his head around not yet winning one.
“There was a time where I was a little bit bitter, like, ‘I should have had a title by now, this sucks, why don’t I, wrong place, wrong time’, or this or that,” Ricciardo said.
“But maybe that’s the growth in me or the maturity where I don’t think that any more.
“I’m still here because I believe I can win a title, and I want to win a title.
“But I’m at peace with whatever happens, as long as I go out and leave it all on the track, I’ll get fulfilment.”
Ricciardo left Red Bull at the end of the 2018 season to join Renault, and spent two seasons with the French manufacturer before singing for McLaren on a three-year deal.
The 2021 season started slowly for Ricciardo as he struggled to match teammate Lando Norris’s form before turning things around in style with his Monza win.
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, and the rest of the field at the start
Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
Ricciardo said that he would not view his spell at McLaren as a failure if he did not manage to win a championship, placing his focus on enjoying his time with the team.
“Say I’m at McLaren for five years, and we don’t get a title, I don’t want to look back on the five years as a failure,” Ricciardo said.
“Because then it’s like, ‘OK, that’s five years of my life that I’m just flushing down the toilet’. Five years of your life is a lot of time.
“That’s maybe the mindset switch that I’ve made. Don’t get me wrong, it has not made me any softer or less driven or less motivated. But I want to enjoy my time here in the sport.
“The goal is to be world champion, and I think that is why I will wake up every morning with the desire to do this. But I don’t want that to dictate my whole happiness.
“I’ve been doing this 10 years. I’m not world champion yet, so there’s no guarantee it will happen.
“I just don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket and then be miserable for the rest of my life because I haven’t done it.
“Winning in Monza was probably all I needed to give me all the happiness in 2021. That also proved that you can get so much from not just the world title.”