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"It's obviously not the nicest feeling"- Daniel Ricciardo on leaving McLaren at end of 2022 F1 season

F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Previews
Daniel Ricciardo will not be driving for McLaren next season.

Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that he doesn't have 'nice' feelings about leaving McLaren at the end of the season. On Wednesday, the team announced that it would part ways with the Australian driver.

Ahead of the Belgian GP this week, Ricciardo said at a press conference that he would go out without regrets and with his head held high. He's proud that he put in the hard yards, but things didn't work out the way he would have wanted to.

"Well, it's obviously not the nicest feeling, but I can hold my head high in terms of applying myself and trying to make it work, like trying to put everything in," said the Australian.

He added:

"Sometimes you just have to accept that, 'okay, I try it and it didn't necessarily work out.' But, from that point of view, I don't look back in terms of ‘man, I was slacking off, and that's why, like, I earned this’, or whatever."
"After the news, my full focus is now on the rest of the season and to make sure I leave on a high. Let’s get back racing." 👊Daniel, Lando and the team are ready to give it everything for the rest of the season, starting with the #BelgianGP! 🇧🇪

The Australian added that he's proud of the way he tried to make things happen.

"It’s just one of those things," said Ricciardo. "I'm proud of the way we tried to make it happen and persist through it, but some things maybe you just say that they're not meant to be."

Ricciardo said that throughout the adversity, he has not lost his confidence and hopes to continue competing competitively, as he loves the sport.

"I still love the sport, and I think through all of this – I guess call it adversity – I haven't lost that confidence in myself," said Ricciardo. "For sure, we've had some tough weekends, and you can't help but show emotion sometimes, but I still love it, and I still want to do it competitively."

However, he added that he wouldn't be there to just 'make up the numbers', without revealing much else about his future plans.

"I want to do it in the right place," said Ricciardo. "I never said I want to just be a driver to make up the numbers. You know, if I'm here, I want to be here for a purpose. So, I don't know what that means yet for the future. But of course, if it's the right opportunity, then this is where I want to be."

"It's just go out, have fun, and try and get another Monza moment" - Daniel Ricciardo

Talking about his goals for the rest of the season, Daniel Ricciardo said that there's a massive weight off his shoulders now, and he wants to have fun in the last few races of the season. The Australian said:

"Honestly, it's one of those ones where, after all this, there's kind of a bit of a weight off the shoulders, and it's just to go out there and just race, go have fun. I always feel like I've got a point to prove. But there's also, you know, although the team has made this decision, there is still … the team is behind me to make me get the most out of the last nine races and to finish on a high."

He added that he would love to relive a Monza-like moment again. The Australian's triumph at the Italian track last year was the first by a McLaren driver in ten years.

" So there's a lot of people that support me and want me to do well," said Ricciardo. "And I'm not one to just drive around and enjoy it. Like I want to drive around as competitively, as fast as possible. So there's no slacking off. There's none of that. It's just go out, have fun, and try and get another Monza moment."

The Australian led a McLaren 1-2 with Lando Norris at Monza last year. With 19 points, he's 12th in the standings this season, with his best finish of sixth coming at the Australian GP.

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Edited by Bhargav
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