Daniel Ricciardo has labelled his premature departure from McLaren as a ‘blessing in disguise’ that allowed him to reignite his passion for F1.
The 34-year-old returned to the sport in place of Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri 10 races into the 2023 season and looked to be back to his old self after putting in some respectable performances.
But his career looked to be all but over in 2022 when it was announced that he would be leaving McLaren at the end of the season to make way for fellow Aussie Oscar Piastri.
But Ricciardo used this as a chance to self-reflect and try to find his passion for the sport again, turning his negative situation into something positive.
Ricciardo: McLaren exit was a blessing in disguise'
Speaking with motorsport.com about his McLaren exit, he said: “Look, as uncomfortable at times the McLaren situation was, it was a blessing in disguise.
“Let's say they cancelled my contract because I needed to step away to kind of re-find myself, re-find my love and get the hunger back as well.
“I think there were a lot of elements that had just been a little bit hurt or bruised from it all, like my drive and my motivation. So, I just needed to find that again and that time away gave that to me.”
Ricciardo also revealed that his break from F1 helped him pursue his other interests to avoid any ‘fear of retiring’.
"I wanted to make sure that I was still able to have other hobbies and interests in life because coming back into the sport it kind of makes it feel as serious as I want to take it,” he explained.
“It just made it feel like it's not the be-all and, end-all. So yeah, I did choose to do things and pursue other avenues of life. And also make sure that I've got other passions and interests and not have a fear of retiring one day ultimately.”
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