In a recent appearance on the Beyond The Grid podcast, the current AlphaTauri star expressed his unequivocal intention to stage a sensational comeback to the seat he previously occupied from 2014 to 2018.
Ricciardo dreams of Red Bull return
While the 'Honey Badger' hasn't put an expiry date on his F1 career, Ricciardo explained his strong desire to secure Sergio Perez's seat - which remains precariously held - and rekindle his Red Bull career alongside his ex team-mate Max Verstappen before he retires for good.
“I am not going to put a day or date on it, but coming back into the Red Bull family, that [a Red Bull drive] is the dream,” Ricciardo told Tom Clarkson, the podcast's host.
“Ending my career with a Red Bull drive will be the perfect way to finish. Not that I am looking at the end, but if I get back there, I will certainly make sure I will finish there.”
Test day changed it all
Interestingly, Ricciardo also noted that his return to the Red Bull fold through AlphaTauri was due to his impressive testing performance at Silverstone - where he was keeping pace with the astonishingly quick Verstappen.
“I was excited and by July I really had my confidence back and believed I could do a great test,” Ricciardo remembered. "I knew if this test went well, things could change quickly and felt my future hangs on it, so it was good to feel that pressure again.
“In the first run I actually had a spin at turn 4, very low-speed hairpin, just a little eager on the throttle! And again at turn 7, another low-speed corner I did a tiny little loop but I was okay with it.
“The first time I went through turn 1 at high speed I thought my helmet was going to fly off! You forget how fast and intense these cars are on your body which is really cool.
“I did 8-10 laps then came in, put some new tyres on and FP2 fuel in the car and I am not going to sugarcoat it, the first timed lap was on the money.
“If you take the fuel out to quali fuel, it was a few hundredths off Max’s pole time. Crossing the line I did not expect to go that quick and thought ‘that was wild.’ It gave me a big smile.”
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