Daniel Ricciardo claims he had his back 'up against the wall' at McLaren

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Final Practice
Daniel Ricciardo did not have the best of seasons in 2022

Daniel Ricciardo feels that he had his back "up against the wall" during his two-year stint with McLaren. The Australian joined McLaren as one of the elite drivers on the grid in 2021 but parted ways with the team before the completion of the 3-year contract.

In 2020, he had beaten both drivers (Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz) from the Woking-based outfit while driving a Renault and was expected to lead the team.

Things did not go to plan for the Australian, however, as he ended up not only losing out badly to his teammate Lando Norris, but also saw his contract unceremoniously cut short by McLaren. Daniel Ricciardo has been replaced by Oscar Piastri for the 2023 F1 season as he will now take a sabbatical next year.

Speaking on "The Fast Lane" podcast, the Australian talked about his time at McLaren and revealed that at times he felt as if he had his back against the wall. Daniel Ricciardo said:

"I think fortunately I was still able to find some kind of hunger through it all in terms of like okay this is done but I still want to prove myself, I still want to go out and try make something happen. It’s kind of a thing when your back’s up against the wall, you can just stay leaned up against it or push back off it and that was at least the approach that I wanted to try."
"To find that character in myself to really dig deep. I felt like I had to dig deep the last 18 months and I was alright I have to dig a little deeper now," added the 33-year-old.
He's back! Welcome home, @DanielRicciardo 🇦🇺 #DR3ack

Daniel Ricciardo admitted that those circumstances weren't ideal, but he tried to find the hunger to continue. He said:

"Obviously it was not the ideal circumstance. I don’t want to sit here and say it’s easy to just show up and do your job, I just tried to find all these little things that give me the fuel or hunger."

The last 18 months have been a struggle: Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo candidly discussed what he went through on a personal level during his difficult stint with McLaren. Opening up about his mindset, the Aussie said:

"But I also was under no illusion. This has obviously happened for a reason and it’s because the last 18 months have been a struggle. The likelihood of the last six months being a walk in the park is unrealistic so there will be more struggles. So I was realistic with what lay ahead but I was doing my best to embrace it and also know if this is the last six months for me in the sport, make the most of it. That kind of mindset kept me with a bit of a fighting spirit."
Looking forward to returning home 😊…

Daniel Ricciardo will join Red Bull as the team's reserve driver for 2023. It will be interesting to see what's next for the Australian as he spends the year away from the sport.

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Edited by Arshit Garg
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